Pastor Chuck DeVane
Special to The Sentinel-Record
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
-- John 20:31
A fresh look at the seven "signs" Jesus performed in the Gospel of John can answer a vital and eternal question in your life. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
To believe in Jesus means you have been transformed by His power (2:1-11). Salvation by grace through faith in Christ begins transforming power. It is God's power alone that converts sinful human being into a believing child of God. Salvation is a regeneration, a great change in the mind that moves the heart and drives the will in a person who really believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps those who come to Christ younger or older converts with less salacious sins (in the eyes of man) have experiences of grace that are less radical, but they can be no less transformational. Time, and other signs, will tell.
To believe in Jesus means you obey His word (4:46-54). A sure sign that a person has come to believe is belief in the Bible to be trustworthy, and to order one's life around its precepts and principles. True believers may hold different interpretations of different passages, form doctrines that deviate from one another on minor matters, but the two pillars of Christian faith, aside from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, are the authority of Scripture and the exclusivity of the gospel of Jesus Christ for salvation.
To believe in Jesus means you walk with God (5:1-15). Church rolls are filled today, especially in Baptist and like traditions, with people who walked an aisle, prayed a prayer, and were professed Christians. Then, usually early one they walked out of the church never to return. The Christian's life is a long walk, filled with pitfalls, detours, and struggles. It is not a perfect walk. But, when faith is a perfect gift from God, it is a persistent walk.
To believe in Jesus means you have spiritual hunger (6:5-13). Physical beings have physiological and psychological hungers, for food and drink, for clothing and shelter, for friendships and love. Spiritual beings, or born-again believers, have spiritual hungers, like those which define the believer who walks with God. We hunger for God's Spirit and word, for the fellowship of like-minded believers, to consume and bear true spiritual fruit, to help lead others to Heaven.
To believe in Jesus means you see Him as preeminent (6:16-21). One of the most destructive doctrines to ever dive into the discussions of faith has been the dispensational dichotomy of believing in Jesus as Savior, certainly, and Lord, optionally. It contends that saving belief can belong to any person who accepts the facts of the gospel of Jesus and asks for forgiveness of sin. Jesus becomes Savior. Whether or not Jesus ever becomes Lord, preeminent above other love and longings, is optional. This gives false assurance to the millions of fake Christians who profess faith but steadfastly refuse to practice the faith.
To believe in Jesus means you have spiritual insight (9:1-7). How can so many people not see the love and truth of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ? It is simply because their senses have not been touched by the Lord. God has to touch our eyes with grace, with spiritual insight, before we can see sin and its degradation, eternity as a twofold consumption, and the gospel of Christ as the only solution.
To believe in Jesus means you have been raised from the dead (11:1-44). Lazarus' resurrection is the seventh sign and the perfect parable of the gospel. Salvation is a resurrection, based on belief in the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. A saved life shows signs. The signs include spiritual birth, faithful obedience, a constant walk, spiritual hungers, spiritual insights, spiritual life, and a pedestal where Jesus is placed atop as Lord.
To secure such real belief, "These are written," the signs and sayings of John's Gospel. So, do you really believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?
Chuck DeVane is the pastor of Lake Hamilton Baptist Church in Hot Springs. Call him at 501-525-8339 or email [email protected]