Believe: The Burden-Breaking Call of Jesus

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

In a message on Exodus 14, Pastor Tim Keller once shared how 20th-Century Welsh minister Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones had a simple diagnostic question he would use to help determine where people were spiritually. He would just ask them, “Are you a Christian?” Most often, people would respond with something like, “Well, I’m trying.” 

These types of responses revealed to Lloyd-Jones that people were placing their trust in their own religious works instead of the justifying work of Jesus Christ on the cross on their behalf. 

Christians are not made nor kept by their own effort. Instead, we’re welcomed into God’s kingdom just by believing Jesus. Romans 10:9 lays out how surprisingly simple Kingdom citizenship is extended. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” 

Your Work is to Believe

In John 6, after feeding over 5,000 people with only a few loaves of bread and a few fish, the crowds chase after Jesus looking for more signs and more bread. Jesus warns them to not work for food that perishes, but instead for eternal food that comes from the Son.

The crowd then asks him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” (v.28)

Jesus’ response? 

Believe.

That’s it. Just believe. 

Believe the Son. Believe he has finished the work for us. Whether you’re considering Christianity, if you’re a new Christian, or if you’ve been one for decades, Jesus’s call to us at every point along our spiritual journey is to just believe him. 

The word “believe” rings loud throughout almost every chapter of the Gospel of John like a church bell, calling us to lay down our own self-righteous efforts and to just believe Jesus. 

The work God has for us really isn’t work at all. No more trying to hide our sin. No more figuring out how to deal with the shame that comes from our sin or from sin committed against us. No more trying to measure up to everyone else when the world endlessly reminds us that we will never measure up. 

In Christ, our sin is covered. In Christ, our shame is gone. In Christ, and only in Christ, do we measure up to the only standard that matters – God’s perfect standard. 

Burdens broken forever just by believing.

Feeding is Believing

Later in John 6, Jesus makes the startling statement that “Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:54) These are hard words that led many disciples to turn back from following him. Jesus is saying, “Feast on me! And you will have life eternally!” What does that mean?

When I read those words, my first inclination is to assume that “feeding” must mean reading my Bible more, or praying more, or serving more, or going to church more. I jump to the things I think I need to do. But “feeding” does not mean “do more religious works.” 

No. Feeding is believing. 

That’s why Jesus says in verses 47-48 of John 6, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.” 

Life comes from believing, not from our doing or our trying. Feeding is believing.

What About Our Works?

While Ephesians 2:10 makes clear that we are created for good works, our works will only ultimately be “good” if they flow from the work Christ first calls us to, which is to believe. 

Believing in Jesus will never leave us short of good works. Instead, believing will carry us joyfully into the good works God has created for us.

So come. Feed. Believe today.

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