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COLUMN: Believing in God is not enough

COLUMN: Believing in God is not enough

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Mike Ruffin

Mike Ruffin

“Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.” (1 John 5:10)

A friend was recently lamenting to me that many of our churches hardly ever mention Jesus in their services anymore. “A lot of church members believe all you have to do to go to heaven is die.”

Sadly, he’s right. In fact, several years ago a survey by the Barna Research Group provided some surprising - if not shocking - insights about what Americans think when it comes to religion. While four out of every ten Americans call themselves born-again Christians, some of their beliefs don’t quite line up with Scripture. For example, only one-third of all Americans claim they have an obligation to share their faith with those who believe differently; slightly more than a quarter believe Satan is real; BUT, seven out of every ten believe that good works will get you into heaven.

Christians have watered down the Gospel so much that while we believe in God, some of us don’t believe God. At least that’s what the Barna Group found. Less than half of all adults believe the Bible is totally accurate and only forty percent believes that Jesus lived a sinless life during His thirty-plus years on earth.

The irony is there couldn’t be a better time to straighten out some of these misunderstandings. More than ever, Americans are preoccupied with the future. Many are taking second looks at their lives, wondering if their priorities are in the right order. Interesting, isn’t it? In spite of everything we are going through right now, the Bible reminds us that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)

Perhaps what we really need to do is start over, go back to ground zero, and ask ourselves if we were saved to begin with. Do you remember asking God to forgive you for your sins? Did you ever ask Him to come live in your heart? If you didn’t, then you are not saved. You can play church ‘til the cows come home, but when your time’s up, you’re not going to heaven just because you were a nice person.

Salvation is easy as long as we place our pride aside and admit we cannot control what’s going on in our lives. Given what’s going on in our country right now – and the world - that’s pretty easy to see. So if you believe in God, you need to believe Him, too. After all, it was God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, who said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again”. (John 3:3)

If the very thought of not being born again frightens you, do something about it right now. Before you put this newspaper down, repeat this prayer:

“Dear God, I want to be sure that I have a tomorrow. I want to be free from the worry and anxiety that is troubling our country right now. I want to feel peace that transcends all understanding. I know I have failed you. But I am grateful that you hung all the wrongs I’ve committed or ever will commit around the neck of your Son so that I may have eternal life. Please forgive me. Come into my life and fill me with the joy of knowing that I can call myself your child.”

If you prayed that prayer and really meant what you said, you no longer have to worry about heaven. It’s no longer just a hope. Now, it’s a promise - one of many - about which you’re going to learn. And none of them will ever be broken. Welcome to the family!

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