I was thinking about how salvation gets explained to people that don't yet know Christ and was thinking about the words "believe" and "trust."
Now, please don't take this wrong when you read this post! I am NOT trying to cause confusion to anyone by writing it, but rather, am writing it just to clarify some things that I have been thinking about for over the past two months! (Yes, I have delayed this post that long.)
The thing is this. The word "believe" in reference to salvation through Jesus Christ alone is used throughout the Bible, specifically it is used all throughout the gospel of John, and there isn't anything wrong with that!!
But I really prefer to use the word, "Trust" when explaining the gospel to someone.
The word "trust" is all-encompassing. It carries with it the idea of a person's need to transfer their dependence for salvation from themselves or any thing else TO CHRIST ALONE, ACCEPTING HIS PAYMENT FOR THEIR SIN AS COMPLETELY SUFFICIENT ON THEIR BEHALF. "Trust" also demonstrates that someone must use their mind (Understand WHAT AND WHO they are trusting in--Jesus Christ) and their heart and will (the act of placing their trust in Christ) for salvation. "TRUST" shows that our dependence really is IN CHRIST and not on ourselves or anything else.
Now, while the word, "believe" is still valid, I tend to not prefer it in explaining the gospel, because especially in American culture, the word "Believe" seems to really have been watered-down and taken really light-heartidly to basically not mean a whole lot. I mean this is just my opinion, but I think it has some validity.
People (and I say this word respectfully) flippantly throw it around a lot. I mean like the t-shirts that came out awhile back that said, "Just Believe!" And it's like, "yeah??? Just believe WHAT??
Or those I guess you could at times call them possibly semi-inspirational,whatever that means forwards in my in box that I tend to delete and not read that have some fairly decent message sometimes, but at the end will say, "Believe!" And again I am left thinking, "Believe What?" There isn't an object to believe in!!! It is like some Unitarian or New age "let's all get happy and believe now" thing or something like that!
And even when the word "Believe" has an object and you share the gospel and talk about "believing in Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for salvation." it is so easy for people to just spout off something like "yeah, I believe that," like it is some checklist detail that they need to "check off that they did it" without giving it much thought.
I mean only God knows people's hearts, and I am not trying to cause doubt for anyone, unless you seriously need to be thinking about where you personally stand with God, and He is trying to get your attention (and only YOU and Him know that--NOT ME!) BUT it is so easy for people to say, "Oh, I believe that!" and they may have not necessarily given their trust to Christ for their salvation, but are still depending on themselves, man-made religion, "good works," or other things to be saved.
So since "believe" can be used so casually in our culture, THAT is why I choose to use the word, "trust" when explaining the gospel.
And just a side note! If YOU ever do create an e-mail that tries to share the gospel and circulates, please don't "pitter out" at the end! SHARE THE GOSPEL GENTLY, YET COMPLETELY TRUTHFULLY, NOT WATERING IT DOWN, BUT IN LOVE AND RESPECT to those who receive it. We ALL need to take that responsibility VERY SERIOUSLY to simply share the HOPE of CHRIST that is within us...and NOT leave it "tucked away" and "kept to ourselves."