For it is by grace you have been saved...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Belief Is Not Enough

Each year our family counts down the days to Christmas using an “Advent chain.” It’s just a little paper-link chain numbered 1-25. Each link has either a short Scripture reading or a Christmas hymn. Starting on December 1st, during our family worship time we take one of the links off, read or sing what is listed there, and let that be the “prompt” for any discussion, etc. It helps the kids watch the days swindle down to Christmas, but also keeps us focused on what’s truly important. So why am I sharing this?

The other night, we read about the “wise men” who came seeking the newborn king and their run-in with King Herod. You’ll remember that Herod then sent for his scholars to review the Messianic prophecies concerning where the Christ would be born. After reading that passage, my oldest son made the profound observation that Herod “believed” the Christ was born, even when so many others didn’t recognize who Jesus was.

That’s right. Herod, the bad guy, demonstrates more “faith” and “belief” than so many others. Yet, we know his heart and his demise, don’t we?

How ironic that Dan Phillips over at the Pyromaniacs chose to address this very same issue in today’s post. I encourage you to go and read that article because he addresses the issue so much more profoundly than I could. Here’s the link:

King Herod, the believer

It is a good reminder that “belief” isn’t always enough. We can believe the facts, even act on the facts, and still not embrace the truth they represent. Phillips does a wonderful job of pointing out how this applies to our understanding of what saving faith is. It’s not just belief, or action, or even understanding. There is still more.

During this season, many will admit to the “facts” of Christmas, or the “history” of the celebration, or whatever. Let’s be sure we are faithfully proclaiming the whole counsel of God’s Word so that we are leading folks to a true and genuine saving faith, not mere consent to “belief” in the facts.

1 comment:

Applied Christianity said...

It is nice to know other families that celebrate the actual meaning of Christmas.

I liked your point about Herod. Belief without submission is what the demons have. Obviously not very saving.