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Why we need to get beyond asking, ‘Do you believe in Jesus?’

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Jordan Standridge wrote a thought-provoking blog at the Cripplegate discussing the dangers of simply asking people if they believe in Jesus.

He noted there are a number of people who profess a belief in Christ, but muddy those thoughts with false declarations independent of a truly soul-saving belief.

Is it enough to simply believe in God or Jesus?

James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in James 2:19, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder.”

It’s a pretty good assumption that demons aren’t going to wind up in heaven.

So, if we are going to have discussions with people about their faith, Jordan suggests asking these questions instead:

  • Do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?
  • Do you believe you deserve hell?
  • If you were to die today and God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?” What would you say?
  • How does someone get to Heaven?

“Many say that it is judgmental and wicked to question people’s faith, but there is nothing more loving that you can do for someone than be interested in the state of their soul,” Jordan explained.

“There is nothing more unloving than simply accepting a surface level answer to religious beliefs, if that person is actually not a Christian,” he added.

“We must, for the sake of actually loving the people God sovereignly places in our lives, get beyond basic questions and truly get to the bottom of what our loved ones (and strangers!) are trusting in for their salvation,” Jordan wrote. “Eternity is at stake, and that is something worth losing a relationship over.”

The full blog can be found at the Cripplegate.

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Greg Gerber

A native of Wisconsin who moved to Arizona in 2009, Greg Gerber is a DODO -- Dad of Daughters Only -- to three grown daughters. He worked as a journalist for many years before pursuing a career as a faith-based writer, author, coach and speaker. Greg is the author of Pornocide: How Lust is Killing Your Faith, Stealing Your Joy and Destroying Your Life.

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  1. I won’t debate the issue of whether or not Jesus Christ is “the only way” to heaven. Of course He is. Any other answer is disqualifying.
    That said, there are examples in Scripture of apparently saving faith that I’ll just call “instructive.” Here’s three:

    The thief on the cross. This is a classic example of a man who didn’t know any theology, wasn’t baptized, didn’t have time to “pray the sinner’s prayer”, or anything that we, as evangelicals, cite as basics of showing saving faith. All he did was plead “remember me” to Jesus in his dying hour(s). That’s it? And he was saved? Well, apparently.

    Second and third examples: the only two people Jesus cited as having a right relationship to God when He was in the temple reading Isaiah were 1) the widow of Zarephath, and 2) Namaan the Syrian–two pagans who were not considered part of the family of God in Jewish thought. Yet He commended them both as apparently redeemed people.

    Perhaps salvation is applicable to more than just those who acknowledge their sin, pray a prayer of repentance, invite Jesus into their hearts to be their “personal Lord and Savior”, and read their Bibles–all of which are indicators of a changed heart, but not all of which must be in evidence before God can save them.

    1. Good point, Jack. When I was 34 years old, if you had asked me whether I was a Christian, I would have responded yes. Why? Because I was baptized as an infant, attended church a few times a year, got married in a Christian church and even sent my kids to a Christian school. But, my heart was as far from Jesus as I could be. I knew of him, but I certainly did not know him.

      One year later, I encountered the real Jesus and entered into a much closer relationship with him. It is a relationship in that it requires time and intimacy. I came to realize there was far more to a relationship with Jesus than just acting out my faith superficially.


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