Believing From The Heart

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This morning I read the latter part of the gospel of John; the part depicting the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ. I’ve read this part of the Scriptures many, many times and I already ‘know’ that Christ was tortured, killed and raised from the dead. But the question on my mind right after reading is, do I really believe that Christ is risen from the dead? And by believe, I don’t mean that I give flippant mental ascent to the historical fact that Jesus is resurrected. I mean real belief—belief that causes a real and authentic response. Most of us were raised at least somewhat in church, and were repeatedly told throughout our childhood that “Jesus is the Son of God who died for the sins of the world and raised from the dead on the third day.” Thousands of times our ears have heard this information and our eyes have read these words—and I think we are desensitized to it. I think I’m desensitized to it. 

Do I really believe that this man who lived and died 2 millennia before I was even born is alive right now? Do I really believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the resurrected Son of God, as he reportedly proclaimed himself to be? I think that I do believe this to be the truth. My heart is deceitfully wicked and complex, just like the Scripture says, and many times I’m not sure what I believe or what is motivating me. But when I get outside of my head and look at the progression of my life over the past couple of years, I think I can say from an objective prospective that I do believe Jesus Christ is the resurrected Son of God. I’m starting to think that God has allowed my wavering assurance to press me into deeper belief. I know that this is like beating a dead horse, and I say it all the time, but I don’t want to just believe in my head. I want to believe the gospel deep in my heart, to the degree that I’m changed—continually. I want my belief in Christ’s resurrection to resurrect me every day. I want to be resurrected out of sin, self centeredness, apathy and fear— and into faith, obedience, joy and bold proclamation of Jesus Christ.

We should really think about what we’re saying when we say that we believe in Jesus Christ—when we say we believe He died for us and has risen from the dead to save us. The resurrected Son of God sovereignly reigning over the entire universe is the most concrete reality that there is, and His followers should live their lives completely based on that reality. If Christ really is forever alive, and if we are united to Him and share His life, our fears of discomfort, persecution, suffering and death should dissipate. Courage and faith should rise up in us to an exponential degree—-causing us to boldly proclaim Him as the only way of life beyond death. The only salvation. The only thing worth living for.

“The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”- Revelation 1:14-18

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18 thoughts on “Believing From The Heart

    Dima Visser said:
    November 21, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    “If Christ really is forever alive, and if we are united to Him and share His life, our fears … should dissipate. Courage and faith should rise up in us to an exponential degree…”

    I don’t agree with this 100%. The great thing that is about having faith in this world is the battle element of our hope and trust in Christ. It is that battle with fears, uncertainties and insecurities that makes our faith grow. The more we contrast the world-inticed fears with the Truth of Jesus Christ, the stronger our faith and character becomes. And that is what God is after – that is why we die daily. And if this is taken away and we are always 100% sure in everything, then there is no real value in that kind of “easy” faith.

      Matt Moore responded:
      November 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

      I agree with what you just said, Dima! You’re absolutely right. Thanks!

    Bob Chaney said:
    November 21, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Another great post Matt!!! We ALL need to be seeking to really KNOW Jesus and the power of his ressurection more every day. I have always been encouraged by the words of a very strong Christian friend of mine who in his 90″s would say to me, “I’m not the same person I was yesterday, I’m new!” Press on, Matt, press on!!

    beckyblanton said:
    November 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    He is as alive as I am….I totally believe he was resurrected. It is the foundation of my faith. I went through the same questioning phase though….and ultimately realized I do, with all my heart, believe that. I have been a rescue volunteer and seen more than my share of brutalized bodies. It’s an excellent question you ask…because to see death, and know he conquered it for us? I get chills even writing it. The power of the resurrection IS the power of our faith and hope. I don’t understand it, and don’t need to. I just trust it. Good post!

    Kathy said:
    November 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I get it Matt.

    The struggle we have is the reality of the physical world which we live in; touch, see and feel, juxtaposed with spiritual reality, we can only have faith in. And, as you say Matt we see evidence of Jesus in our life which we can testify to. Our testimony comes from the heart but it is our head that processes the experience and we stand back and go wow did I really experience that?

    Everthing in the Bible is illuminated by the Holy Spirit… made alive… no longer just words on a page but life giving food for the soul.

    Pastor Timothy Hinkle said:
    November 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Brother Matt,

    May I suggest “The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel. When we become desensatized or even question whether we are, a close examination of the FACTS confirmed by eyewitnesses really builds our faith! Blessings, Pastor Timothy

      Matt Moore responded:
      November 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Already got it, thanks! Apologetics and evidence for the faith was a study I embarked on a couple years ago!

    shirl said:
    November 21, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I agree with you, Matt. The whole of the Gospel is that we might “know Him”; the power of His resurrection; the fellowship of His suffering; and to understand that we are positioned in Him for now and eternity. I love the verses you quoted from Revelation. We need that revelation alive in us each and every day. When we understand who He is we can walk in victory in every situation. We are not serving a mamby-pamby saviour, but a living powerful being who has chosen to reveal Himself to us! Wow, it is just amazing..words cannot even describe it. I think it’s when we get a good glimpse of this reality that we understand what it means to “love the Lord your God with All your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength”…how could we do less? It’s then we can say with the disciples, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” and give Him the reverence He deserves.

    Davide said:
    November 21, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    I think most of us hold some heresy in our hearts. Key is to keep it off our boots as not to stumble into Hell.

    I sometimes wonder to myself when I hear a Protestant speak of Christ it is almost as if he/she is trying to convince themselves he is the Son of God…It kind of reminds me of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

    Anyways thanks

    Kathy said:
    November 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    @ Davide

    don’t you mean “The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” ?

      Davide said:
      November 21, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      @ Kathy, 

      Umm….no. 

      The Ninety-Five Theses were not a manifesto for the Protestant Reformation but a set of propositions for a public debate. They did not deal with any of the doctrines that came to be hallmarks of Protestant theory. 

      For example, they make no reference to justification by faith alone or to theology by Scripture alone (sola scriptura).

      Had to do with Indulgences.

      But what’s wrong with a little indulgence? 

      It is unfortunate that Luther’s response spun out of control and led to progressively graver deviations from Catholic doctrine, in the end producing one of the gravest wounds to Christian unity. 

      It is also unfortunate that the doctrine of indulgences has continued to be misrepresented and misunderstood by Protestants.

      Indulgences does NOT  assure one’s salvation. Performing the external work of an indulgence (contributing money, in this case) does not automatically free souls from purgatory, nor do indulgences free one from the guilt or the penalties of sin. Obviously there were abuses in the 16th Century. But contrary to popular belief they were not sold. 

      Indulgences deal only with the “temporal punishment due to sins,” a concept that many people today are not familiar with. There are consequences of sin that come to us in this world, the world of time. These are called “temporal punishments” in contrast to the eternal punishment of hell.

      There is a tendency, particularly in Protestant circles, to think of sin as having only one consequence: guilt and the possibility of hell. If guilt is forgiven, one will go to heaven; if one’s guilt is not forgiven, one will go to hell. This is an incomplete view. Scripture tells us that that guilt is not the only result of sin. .

      The book of Hebrews contains a meditation on the fact that God still rebukes and disciplines his children in order to produce holiness in them, stating that “he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness” even though “for the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant” (Heb. 12:10-11).

      Anyways what I was speaking of is as if the Redeemer is bound in chains until a Christian sets him free…

      Certainly I did enjoy this post very much….

      Okay thanks Kathy

        kathy said:
        November 26, 2012 at 4:18 am

        @ Davide

        Actually, I was making a joke about the 95 theses, but thanks for the history lesson.

        Davide said:
        November 26, 2012 at 4:23 pm

        @kathy, oops i apologize thought u were serious. Be well

    James Columbus said:
    November 25, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    Davide writes: “I think most of us hold some heresy in our hearts. Key is to keep it off our boots as not to stumble into Hell.”

    I didn’t realize one had to pass a theology exam to get into Heaven! I wonder if God grades on a curve. ;-)

    In reality, many people apparently hold to this idea. It is usually represented by something like “Everyone who doesn’t believe EXACTLY the things I believe today will go to Hell. In a year or two when I believe slightly different things, the same will be true.”

    Davide said:
    November 25, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    @ james, um…is the Christian faith revealed by God and unchanging at it’s core, or is it a human construct built up from the spiritual longings of human beings in particular cultures and circunstances? In other words is it revealed religion or relative religion? Is it a sacrosanct?

    James Columbus said:
    November 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Davide, that God may have an unchanging and eternal truth to reveal doesn’t mean that people will always interpret or hear that truth correctly.

    That is the reason Christians across the globe disagree on a great number of moral and theological issues (that is if you can find a sufficient number of people who can coherently describe what it is that they believe in the first place).

    1 Cor 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly”

    However, I don’t know what you consider to be the essentials of the Christian faith. Perhaps it’s only a couple key things. Some people have a whole Chinese menu of doctrines one needs to subscribe to.

      Davide said:
      November 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm

      @ james, I am not a Protestant, therefore I believe all Catholic doctrines are essential to the Christian faith, as revealed by God. Relativism make little sense to me.

    Oskarr said:
    November 30, 2012 at 9:01 am

    If Jews don’t accept Jesus as their Messiah, why should everyone else accept him as the son of a deity

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