What is True Belief?
If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.
Text: John 8:29-34
The world is full of fast starters. But true belief perseveres in loving obedience to Jesus.
True belief contains three elements: knowledge, assent, and trust.
- We must know the fundamental truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- We must assent (agree) with the truth.
- True belief carries the idea of trust and commitment. We must trust Jesus as our Savior and Lord and commit to discipleship (Matthew 28:20).
As I said in the sermon, "A genuine believer remains (abides) in Jesus, remains in his teaching, obeys His teaching, seeks to understand it better, responds in joy as he learns more and more, and finds it more precious and more controlling, even in the face of opposition and persecution."
For the Jews in John 8 who "believed" in Jesus, He told them, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples." You see, true belief perseveres. Jesus knew the cross was coming. He knew many would fall away. Jesus warned His twelve disciples they too would scatter when the authorities came to arrest Him. But eleven disciples would return, displaying their true belief.
True belief produces good fruit. When warning His disciples of pretenders and fakes, Jesus stated, "You will recognize them by their fruits" (Matthew 7:15-20).
Galatians 5 tells us the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
What should you do if you question your salvation or find yourself concerned over the lack of fruit in your life?
- Talk to Jesus. He is the object of your faith. It's not the quality of your belief that saves. Jesus saves.
- Ironically, find rest in the fact that you are questioning. John Calvin wrote, “He who, struggling with his own weakness, presses toward faith in his moments of anxiety is already in large part victorious.”
- Be honest with yourself. Is the guilt and sorrow over sin real or is there a quiet assumption that you plan to continue in it? (see 2 Peter 1, especially verse 9)
- Establish consistent spiritual habits--Bible reading, prayer, song, meditation, worship, preaching, giving, serving, fasting, etc.