God values belief (Hebrews 11:6). One cannot become a Christian without belief in Christ. However, belief will only get you so far. In John 8:31-32, Jesus invites us to move beyond belief. Jesus makes a distinction between one who believes and one who is a disciple. While every disciple is a believer, not every believer is a disciple. The challenge for us is to move from being believers to being disciples.
Belief is the starting place. And that belief is predicated upon some knowledge of the Word (Romans 10:17). However, hearing the word to come to faith is only the beginning of your relationship with the Word. It is like Kindergarten, you don’t stay there forever. It is merely the first stage in your journey of formal education. Peter would say, “Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, self-control, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, love for if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).
Jesus says that the key to truly being His disciple is to remain in His word. So many people don’t move in their relationship with God because they are not constantly and consistently in the Word. And it is only when we come to know the truth of the Word of God that we experience freedom.
Freedom does not come merely from Bible knowledge. You can know the Bible and still be a slave to sin. You can know the Bible and still be a slave to the traditions of men. You can know the Bible and never become a Christian. Freedom comes when we know, understand, internalize and obey the truth that is revealed in the Bible. When we come to understand what the Word says and operate based on that understanding, then we are truly free.
There should be no doubt in the minds of others that we are followers of Christ because our lives begin to look more and more like His life. What are some practical ways that your life can look more like Christ?
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.