How do we believe? An atheist gentleman once asked me “how does one believe and come to Christ?” It seems to be a simple question, but it’s one that most of us may get it wrong!
In these past few months I posed this question to some Christian friends. Both young and old, and in my judgement most of them got it wrong! I asked the question, how does one believe in Christ and come to him?
The most common answer I got was, we human beings have a free will and we can choose to come to Christ or reject him, it’s up to us to exercise our will to believe. Then I would ask “based on what you told me would it be accurate to say that the one’s that did come to Christ must be the smart people since they were the ones that figured it out and believed on him”.
A few friends actually said “yes”! But after a few seconds they thought, that can’t be right, so they went on to say, well that’s what the Bible teaches and we just simply believe it. The question is, is that what the Bible teaches? Does man need God’s help in order to believe or can man believe in Christ without the aid of God?
A good place to begin is by seeing what does it mean to believe in Christ? The Greek word for believe and faith in a verb form is piesteuo, the noun pistis according to Wuest Word Studies in the Greek New Testament. According to the same source in classical Greek pisteuo meant to believe, trust, trust in, put faith in, rely upon a person or thing.
To believe in Jesus means to put our faith and trust in him. To believe Him and rely upon him. In order for us to do that we need to:
First: understand who He is and what He has done.
Second: we need to become convinced of these facts to the point of putting our trust in them and in Him.
The question before us is this: can a natural man understand these facts and come to Jesus apart from his aid? It may be surprising to discover what the N.T. teaches about man’s natural condition. Here are a few samples.
Romans 3:10 “there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.
Q: if no one seeks after God then how do we come to God?
1 Corinthians 2:14 “But the Natural man does not receive the things of Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them…”
Q: if the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit, nor can he know them, how does he come to believe and trust Christ?
We usually think man is neutral toward God, as the result, he can either choose or reject Him. The choice is up to us. Let’s see what the Bible says.
Colossians: 1:21 “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind…”
Romans: 5:10 “For if when we were enemies…”
Romans 8:7 “…the carnal mind is enmity against God;…”
Man is not only not neutral, he is the enemy of God. We became the Lord’s enemy after the fall.
When we summarize these verses we see the natural man does not seek after God, he doesn’t receive the things of Spirit, he cannot know them, and he is hostile toward God. How then can he come to God?
In John 6:43, 44 Jesus plainly says “No one can (to be able to) come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws (to drag, draw) him…” here Jesus plainly states that no human being has the ability to come to him unless the Father draws him. In our natural state we human beings don’t have the ability or the desire to come to God. Out of our own free will we do not choose God.
The way we come to the Lord is by Him drawing us and revealing himself to us.
First: The Lord has to draw us to himself. This draw can come in different forms. Sometimes it’s the circumstances of life or other issues that cause us to seek God.
Second: usually the Lord brings a human agent, someone who shares with us the Gospel or Christ. This is the time that the Spirit of God comes behind the words and illuminates our hearts and minds and The Lord reveals himself to us.
Matthew 11:27 “…nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal him.
Ephesians 1:17 “…God of our Lord Jesus Christ …may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, v.18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened…”
For some of us this could come in a very dramatic way. For others it could come gradually, especially for those who grow up in a Christian family.
Without the Lord revealing himself to us we would never comprehend or understand spiritual knowledge.
It’s the job of the Spirit to impart this understanding or enlighten. This work takes place within us and it enables us to understand who Jesus is. It’s the Holy Spirit that unveils our minds and heart to understand who Jesus is and what he has done for us. Without this illumination we cannot naturally grasp who Jesus is.
There are other verses that could be sited in regard to the Lord drawing us and illuminating our hearts and minds in order to believe. No one comes to Christ because they were smart enough to figure things out. It’s not our will that brings us to Christ, it’s him drawing us to himself and revealing himself to us. That is how we believe.
May the Lord be with you all