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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Believing About Jesus or Believing In Jesus?
But these are written that you may believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:31—NIV)
Evangelical preachers and teachers maintain that Christians do not have to worry about righteous behavior as long as they believe in Jesus. In this essay we will attempt to show that even though numerous Christians do believe such error, the New Testament does not agree with them. They are blindly following their traditions, not perceiving what the Bible teaches.
The problem is, they are not making a clear distinction between believing about Jesus and believing in Jesus.
I will tell you what got me started on this essay. I received a phone call from a friend in New York where she is visiting her relatives. My friend is Jewish. As a little girl she was hidden by some Gentiles during the Holocaust and escaped being sent to a concentration camp.
So whenever she is with her Orthodox relatives she is received warmly. However they think she is crazy for being a Christian.
We go through this every time she goes to New York for a visit. She talks to the rabbis. (She knows many of the leading Orthodox rabbis.) They do not convince her and she does not convince them. Some of the Jews believe the Gentiles are out to kill them (can you blame them?). My friend tries to tell them that numerous Evangelical Christians of our day are willing to assist the Jews and support such endeavors as the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. Yet the Jews remain suspicious that the Christians are trying to convert them; and, of course, some are—but not all, by any means. Some are quite willing to allow God to do the converting. They just want to show kindness and respect to God's original chosen people—no more than this.
A sincere Christian would exhibit the same kindly attitude toward Arabs or any other race. But the Christians and Jews are bound together in a special manner because they share the same Tenach, the book we call the Old Testament.
My friend was quite upset when she called this time. It seems her Orthodox relatives and friends are studying about Christianity. They have a book that says Christians believe there are no righteous individuals. The Christians maintain also that if someone believes in Jesus he or she does not have to worry about living righteously. The Lord waives the need for righteous behavior when we believe in Jesus.
I told her this is what most Evangelicals do believe, unfortunately. I told her also to eat her New York bagels, cream cheese, lox, gefilte fish, and matzo balls, enjoy herself, and quit worrying. She will only make herself sick arguing with people who have been given false information.
It is true that Evangelicals believe no one except Jesus has ever been righteous. I am going to deal with that in another essay titled, "Doing Good, and the Resurrection."
Numerous people attend Evangelical churches and yet do not behave righteously. There is no factor in their belief or their experience that produces enduring moral change. They may call themselves Christians but they are not. They believe the things about Jesus but they do not really believe in Jesus.
To be continued.