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01 July 2011

Is "Believe" a Snapshot Event?

I've got a couple of killer posts coming up. One is about my dog, and one is about a song that someone else wrote that inspired me. On the edge of your seat, eh? No doubt. Who could blame you?

In the meantime I have a question for you. I've observed that... well, more of you read posts than reply to them. That's a given for any blog. But I want you to overcome your fear of what someone will say about your thoughts, and give me some feedback. I want to know what you believe about what I'm about to ask and why you believe it. (And we'll all need to deeply ponder the word "believe.")

When you consider what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, or to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead (lots in Romans 10 and 11 about this), do you understand "believe" to be a one-time event -- a snapshot, as it were -- or a continual activity or process? Or something in between or even different altogether?

In other words, does Scripture say that a person must hold to "belief" for better or worse, or that a one-time event brings salvation? If you've been in the Protestant church for any lenght of time, you may have heard these words: "Has there been a time in your life at which you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?" Legit or not? Why or why not?

You can use as few words as you like or as many as you like. You can reference the Greek. You can say it's an unfair question. My main request is that when you comment, address it to me, to the blog post; not to another commenter, no matter how badly you want to offer a rebuttal. Do your best, anyway.

I'll be working on those other two mammoth posts while you leap for the "comment" link...


Chris Gambill said...

Great question, and one I've thought about. I think we have actually done a disservice to people's understanding of discipleship (ie being a Christ follower) when we make believing out to be a one time event. Instead of moving people into a lifelong spiritual journey, it seems we've become more concerned with getting a decision and, dare I say, a stat.

There is definitely a starting point of where believing begins. This is seen in the passages you referenced, and in similar passages like in John 3:15 and others. But as with any belief, there is an ongoing aspect that must exist to keep it real. There seems to be that intent even in those Romans verses in the original language, and seems to be corroborated in places like Matthew 28:18 (go and make disciples) and Eph 5:18 (be filled (continuously) with the Holy Spirit).

The idea of discipleship is ongoing and lifelong. And to be willing to persist in the discipleship process seems to require an ongoing belief in Christ and His sufficiency that also had to start somewhere. So, it is a both/and. I think we need to stop saying that all people need to do is raise their hand and say a prayer. Yes, they are saved at the point of belief, but if all they get is fire insurance, much more has been lost.

Lisa Laree said...

Well, 'ere goes...
I think, in this context, 'believe' is a snapshot event in the same way 'birth' is a snapshot event. Happens once, but everything follows. If nothing follows, or if following only appears to happen for a bit and then fades, it didn't happen.

If it wasn't so late, I'd do the chapter-and-verse backup for this, but I think that meets your criteria for the moment.

Maybe I'll make an expanded answer a blog post of my own one of these days...

Dean Lusk said...

This is just what I was lookking for. I'd feel bad for talking to you commenter-people after I asked everyone else not to. :-)

But keep going. So far there seem to be two general positions so far. But maybe not...

Chris, Lisa, thanks!

John King said...

I like to make 2 comments but will stick to me for now...Before being "Saved". I was brought up a Christian an told I was a Christian. Tech. I wasn't. I "Belived". I prayed. When i failed I never looked to God. I put it all on myself. I knew no better than cranyons an nap time in bible school. By the time I was 15 I stopped going. I was lost..
Now i've learned how to lay things at his feet. Due to I "Belive". After being saved for me it wasn't a snap shot moment. But a awaking. Finally I could have both. Faith, and to belive.
Each day God points me in a direction. If I listen to my heart by beliveing in him. I know good things will come.
For me "Beleving as faith" grows stronger each day. Why, because i've seen his work. He's in my heart an the more we communicate to each other all of this grows both for me and Jesus. Jesus wants to be in my opinon. My very best friend. To guide me, protect me, provide for me an more. Who else can do this. I certainly could'nt do it on my own. Everything I have is because of Jesus. No mortal man could be as good as a friend than Jesus.
So yes i Belive...And everyday Its so much stronger. I love telling my story, not testimony to others. Both saved an unsaved. Due to they can relate to me an see im serious.
Kinda like the old Chicago Song. ..Feeling Stronger everyday.

Anonymous said...

For me, "believe" is a way of life. It is so much more than a snapshot moment. I didn't always feel this - and I'm still trying to understand. Not perfect and never will be. I've definitely "tested boundaries" growing up and those times - alone - are enough to strengthen my belief. I can't pinpoint one time to give you an example of but, I can tell you this....on so many ocassions, Jesus has validated that I am here for a reason. Even when I didn't believe it myself. Even when there were times that I fought him on it. He gently touched my chin and pulled my face to a different direction. My thought process has been changed by some strong force feels good. So many things I have prayed about and I can leave it all tangled in my mind...He will always sort it out and show me what to do. I can't do that all alone. He knows it and I know it. "Believing" must happen for me and, so I make it happen every day. Since we are all given our own free will to make our decisions (with hopes that we will make good ones), I feel we all have to start the ball rolling in order for "believing" to be in our lives. I do believe and I like how it feels.

John King said...

Can i ask Anonymous a few questions. I dont understand what was written. Can you elaborate on these topics please. The reason I ask, once someone is saved these things fall into place if you belive in your heart. You haven't mentioned your heart but your head, and thats what I dont understand...Thanks...John king
1. Belive is a way of life...
2. You write, your still trying to understand, an you have tested boundaries.
3. Things you prayed about you can leave tangled in your head.
4. Beliveing must happen for you.
5. We must get the ball rolling in order to belive.
As Dean wrote, do you belive in God raising Jesus. This is why I dont understand your post from top to bottom. If your saved and you belive this. Than is it just for you a snap shot moment or something else. I'm not questioning if you belive. What doesnt make sense to me is if you belive. Why test boudaries, why keep it in your head...etc. If one belives he or she would not test god in my opinion. If one belives he or she repents an lays it at the Lords feet. and lastly why would you fight God? Last question, do you love God with all of your heart more than anything else. Does he come first before you or anyone else.

Katie said...

I came over from Revelife where you posts are reposted.

I believe a one time event begins your relationship with God, but it is a life long process of continually growing and learning and being a disciple of Christ. Thank you for your thoughts and questions. I have always enjoyed your posts at revelife.

Dean Lusk said...

My humble apologies for not replying sooner. Internet access at home has been horrible the past week. Out most of the time. Up this morning, though! I'm not a fan of Mediacom's customer service.

Katie, thank you! Grateful you stopped in via Revelife. It's a little less contentious here sometimes. :-)

John, I can't speak for Anon, but I didn't take what he/she said as a way of saying he didn't believe in the resurrection of Christ, or the "once and for all" sacrifice for our sins. I took it to mean that even through our daily struggles, God proves Himself over and over again. I may be over-simplifying or misreading the comment, but that's what I gathered. Anonymous, correct me if I'm wrong there, please.

Katie mentioned Revelife, which is a Christian blog site that has a ton of contributors. Some of the comments to this post over there were very insightful. Don't agree with them all and sometimes (on other posts) the comments can get a little mean, but I appreciated the perspectives on this subject. You can find it here:

Anonymous said...

Dean - You are correct. I cried after reading JK's post. I was upset that I gave someone that impression. I love the Lord and I live for Him every day. I know that I am nothing without Him in my life. The "testing" which I referred to was during my teenage years, when I was not sure between right/wrong or what I believed. This was the first time I had ever posted to a blog. Apparently, I am not very good at putting my feelings into words. You had said not to comment to another commenter so, I did not reply directly to John. I am replying now because you asked for me to. I guess I know now why I don't usually comment on these things. I will continue to read your posts. I really enjoy them.

John King said...

I'm sorry you cried from my questions. Perhaps reread your first post. Than look at my questions. I simply dont understand your post.
My questions that were asked. If you said those things to any Christian who walks in his light. You would be asked these questions.
They were not intended to be mean. But to understand your post.
have a good day
John King

Lucy Appleton said...

Beliveing to one might mean something different to another John. We all grow at different paces.

John King said...

Hi Lucy, thats what the blog is about. Is it a snapshot or something else. The writer in the post contridicted themselves to the point it could not be understood. I was just asking a question. It made no sense to me. I was not trying to be rude. These are questions any Christian would ask. Hope this makes sense to you lucy.

Lucy Appleton said...

John, my husband read this. He agreeded that the post was very difficult to understand.
Sorry John, I didn't think you were rude.

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