Welcome back to the second part of our study on belief. In part one, we began looking at some of the challenges that we often face when it comes to believing, and the prophetic report of Isaiah, outlining the sacrifice of Jesus, and the redemption that He brought.
Today we will continue this discussion by seeing more of what Jesus Christ has accomplished for us, and how to allow Him to increase our faith and belief as we look directly at Him.
What is Belief?
Belief is a fascinating thing; and it can also be quite confusing and frustrating if there are specific areas of your life that you are struggling with. What exactly is belief anyway? Most Christians use the words faith and belief interchangeably as if they were the same thing, but scripturally-speaking, they are different words, with different meanings and applications.
Most people just assume the meaning of belief without stopping to think. Yet if someone asked you to explain what belief actually is, would you be able to?
Oddly enough, our modern dictionary wouldn’t help much, because it defines belief as a noun; while in the scriptures belief is used as a verb.
To help us understand this, take a look at Romans 10:9-10:
“ 9 That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved.
10 For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”
Notice that in both of these verses, it mentions that a person believes with their heart. And as we have studied before, remember that the “heart” being spoken of here is not the physical muscle in your body that pumps blood, (even though the Greek work is καρδία, from which we do derive the word cardiac) but-in-fact the Greek word καρδία, refers to primarily your soul, which is your mind and your emotions. This is proved repeatedly in scriptures, such as Luke 5:22, when Jesus perceived the thoughts of the Pharisees, and asked why they were reasoning such things in their hearts; (which is the same Greek word, καρδία).
So what we see from the scriptures, is that the heart is not referring to the physical muscle in the body that pumps blood, but it is actually the place of reason, thoughts and emotions – or what we call the soul. And furthermore, what we see from our text here in Romans 10:9-10, is that the heart is also where belief happens.
How to Believe, Biblically
So how exactly does this happen? After all, belief in the scripture is a verb. How do you take action with your soul? How do your thoughts and feelings really “believe” something in a verb sense?
Well, look at the second-half of verse 10: with the mouth confession is made to salvation.
This is something that we have touched on before… but it is worth repeating that these two things are not entirely separate, but they are in-fact connected: we speak what we truly believe. Again, this is proved in many scriptures, most notably by Jesus Himself in Luke 6:45 where He says that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.
A good example of this, is when something really good and exciting happens to you – let’s say you win the super-jackpot lottery; as much money as you could ever hope for – would you tell your friends about it?
Of course you would!
So why aren’t you telling them about it now? Well, because it hasn’t happened. You didn’t win the super-jackpot lottery.
You see, we judge a thing as done or not done based on our current experiences and what we tend to see and feel… and we do not really think it to be, until it meets the criteria of our experiences or senses.
In-fact there are many people who think that the miracles that they are waiting for will not happen until Jesus returns. However, go a few verses up from our text here, to Romans 10:6-8, and you will read this:
“ 6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in your heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what said it? The word is near you, even in your mouth, and in your heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;”
You see, the righteousness of faith speaks differently than the others. The righteousness of faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ has an entirely different perspective.
It doesn’t say we will have it when we ascend into heaven (or when Christ comes down). Which is what many are waiting for.
And it also doesn’t say we will have it if Jesus is brought up again from the dead. Which is what some others are trying to accomplish. Yes, there are people trying to “Bring Christ back again from the dead” by cloning DNA from the shroud of Turin, for example.
People are looking to all kinds of different places for answers and deliverance; but look at what verse 8 says: the word is near you, the ῥη̑μα word of God is very close to you, even in your mouth! That is the word of faith; the information about Jesus, His finished work, and your new identity in Him. The word of faith which we preach.
Speak the Truth in Christ
Psalms 107:2 says it this way: Let the redeemed of the Lord, say so. Yet many are not saying so, because they do not really see themselves as redeemed. They see themselves as somehow waiting to be redeemed – waiting for some future event, when Christ has already finished the work and redeemed us.
What we speak ultimately demonstrates what we believe. This isn’t just my conjecture, it is stated plainly in 2nd Corinthians 4:13:
“ 13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”
It’s very easy to get caught in “autopilot mode” and react to the current situation or circumstance, speaking death and lies into our lives rather than the truth of Christ. For many of us, this is actually our default mode still. Yet notice what verse 13 is saying:
We having the same spirit of faith…
This spirit of faith, is the very Spirit of Christ indwelling us. We know that Jesus is both the author and finisher of our faith. He began it, and He completes it. Any faith that we have must begin and end with Him.
As we have studied in the past, faith is a noun and belief is a verb in scripture. And we have the Spirit of Faith in Jesus Christ. His finished work gives us the solid foundation upon which to stand and build. (Matthew 7:24, 1st Corinthians 3:11).
Once we are on that solid foundation of Christ, notice the result:
We believe and therefore speak
Speaking is the natural and intrinsic action of belief. So many people are looking for something that they must do in order to properly demonstrate their belief; yet they ignore the very thing which the scriptures describe: speaking.
Join Me Next Week for the Conclusion
So far, we’ve seen the foundation for our faith in part one, which is the sacrifice of Christ. And today, we’ve seen how to belief properly using our words.
Next week in part three, we will put it all together, as we unlock the scriptural key to powerful belief by looking directly at Jesus. I look forward to thriving with you again.