The Difference Between Belief And Faith
Many people believe in God, but there is a profound difference between belief and living in faith.
Christians profess belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. It’s the foundational belief of Christianity that Jesus is the Savior that the Old Testament prophesied. But, is belief in Christ enough? Is belief the same as faith?
In John 11:26, Christ says, “And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (KJV) His statement, in this context says that to believe in Him is the way of salvation. But what does He mean when He says believe?
If we look at the parable of the ten virgins and the bridegroom in Matthew 25:1-13, we find a clue that reveals that just simple belief is not enough. Five of the virgins bring lamps with no oil to meet the bridegroom and are called foolish. The remaining five virgins bring lamps filled with oil and are considered wise. When the bridegroom arrived at midnight, the virgins arose to light their lamps and only those with oil could do so. The foolish virgins cried out and asked the wise virgins to share their oil. The wise virgins told them no, to go and buy oil. When the foolish virgins returned, they found the door to the marriage shut to them. Their knock received this answer, “But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” (Matthew 25:13 NKJV)
While this parable primarily warns of being prepared for the return of Christ, doesn’t it also indicate that our vessels ought to be full? And, if so, full of what? We should be full of the Holy Spirit. This is the indicator of salvation; that we have been filled with the Holy Spirit and our lives have been transformed through faith.
James tells us that the evidence of faith is works, otherwise our faith is dead. (James 2:20) He also tells us that it is good that we believe but that the devils also believe and tremble. (James 2:19) So, what sets our belief apart from the belief of the devils? It must be faith that is evidenced and the evidence of that kind of faith is a transformed life.
Christ speaks directly to the issue of salvation in Luke 13:23-29. He is asked if only a few will be saved and Christ tells them that many will try to enter but few will be able to. He says that when they come to knock at the door and beg entry in to heaven, “26 then you will begin to say, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.' 27 But He will say, 'I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” (KJV) Though they professed belief, they were still not known to Christ. The belief was not completed with faith.
Faith requires surrender and a willingness to put God’s will before our own. Belief is not enough. Salvation requires faith and the evidence of faith is a transformed life. Has your life been transformed?