Today’s guest post is written by Jeremy Larson, you can learn a little about him at the end of this article.

Has anyone ever asked this question? I think many times we take it for granted and assume we do. It simply means to believe right, that Jesus lived and died for our sins ect? Well the Lord has recently been bringing this to my attention and study, and I found there are some verses that throw a monkey wrench into this simplistic definition.

One instance was when Jesus told the Pharisees that they didn’t really believe in Moses, otherwise they would’ve believed in Him. Think about that for a second, the Pharisees’ whole lives practically revolved around Moses and the books he wrote. They studied and preached him all the time, everything they did or didn’t do was based on Moses.

So that’s like telling a bunch of pastors they don’t believe in Jesus. So what’s the deal? How, or why, would they make Moses such a large part of their lives, if they didn’t even believe?

I think a good clue is something else Jesus had said to them as well:

“You pore over the scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify about Me. And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.” John 5:39-40

Here’s where the rubber meets the road, and there’s two main points. For one, talk is cheap. Our actions will tell the truth about our beliefs and convictions, which is why Paul said his purpose as an Apostle was “to bring about the obedience of faith.” In Romans 1:5

Now you might be thinking this is starting to sound like works, but hold on. First let’s consider where this obedient faith is supposed to lead.

What are the two primary things Jesus commanded us? “Love the Lord with all our heart, soul and might, and our neighbors as ourselves.” (My paraphrased version) That’s where the Lord wants to see our faith take us towards, and that’s the beef Jesus had with the Pharisees.

By all appearances the Pharisees looked to love and believe Moses and God, until confronted with Jesus’ physical presence. What Jesus told them was that salvation wasn’t found in the written word of God, but in the Person of Christ. Yet the Pharisees rejected Him. Whatever their reason – is beside the point. The Pharisees simply didn’t want Jesus, but rather only wanted the written word of God, not God’s actual presence in their lives.

It’s no different today. I’ve come to conclude that many people actually prefer religion instead of a genuine relationship, and the reason is simple. Religion is like having the best of both worlds. We can know God, yet pursue the world and our own purposes. We also like to have a little comfortable distance from God. Close enough to get what we need or want from Him, but not too close that our lives are no longer our own.

It’s a dangerous path that I believe has deceived innumerable people. Because we can call what we have a relationship, and convince ourselves. But what defines Christianity and a relationship with the Lord is not our opinion, but God’s.

I used to wonder why the Lord commanded us to love Him. It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Like something out of a mafia movie “I’m gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse.”

But it dawned on me that this was God’s way of conveying His definition of a relationship, His priorities, and just how serious He is about it.

So what should we assume a life looks like that loves Him with all our heart, soul and strength? Would it not look radical and require many sacrifices?

It’s not about works, rules, earning God’s love or our salvation. But we should not consider holiness, zeal, and effort to continuously seek God and live for Him to be legalistic or optional for the self motivated few. Radical ought to be the norm, the evidence and expression of our lively faith.

Jeremy Larson
Being part entrepreneur, writer and pastor at heart, Lanturn is the platform where it all comes together. Jeremy’s creativity started with designing and making custom interiors for classic cars, hot rods and street rods.

Then he shifted gears into his true passion and calling.

“We are either living to die, or Dying to Live. So it behooves us to think big, both in reaching out to God and pursuing our dreams.”
Learn more about Jeremy on his web site: Lanturn

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Luke 21:36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."

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