The bible uses different titles to describe a believer of Christ. Many thinks that the titles are like ranks, one is higher than the other. But the fact is, these titles are used simultaneously. Each of these titles had a different significance  Each significance tells us of the virtues a believer ought to have.

That is why we ought to examines these titles and examine our faith with them. Are we living up to the expectation of these titles? or are we fake believers who does not live up to its standards?

The first and the most common title of a Christian is a believer. Even though it is common, but the significance behind the title is extraordinary. For a believer is one who had faith and believe in the word of God.

Faith is the beginning of our spiritual life. It is the most fundamental quality that God is pleased with.

Understanding what basic faith is about

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is,
  and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently
  seek Him.”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 11:6)

This verse will be a great fit if everyone who comes before God believe in him. But the fact is that there are also people who comes before God and does not believe. Would it be unfair to expect these people to have faith?  This verse tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Is that a reasonable demand? If yes, what is the definition of faith over here?

The author said “"Believe that He is”. It is a faith that believe in the existence of God. God will reward those who hold such faith. The most basic faith is a faith that believe in the existence of God. Such faith will be rewarded by God, the faith mentioned by the author of Hebrews is not so much about believing in Jesus or the salvation of Christ. He is talking about the simple faith that believe that God is there in the first place. That belief is part of the nature of man. For God had place this nature into all man to seek him.

because what may be known of God
  is manifest in them, for God has shown
  it to them. For since the creation of the
  world His invisible attributes are clearly
  seen, being understood by the things
  that are made, even His eternal power
  and Godhead, so that they are without
  excuse,”- Paul (Rom 1:19-20)

Paul tell us that the works of God is seen clearly in the hearts of man. Have we wonder why every culture and every race had a concept of a God even though they have never seen him? That is because God had place that concept into the very nature of man.

This is done so that man will know that there is a God, for within him he knows that there is a creator.  That creator created the entire universe. This is so from ancient time even till now. Man had the heart to seek and worship God, it is often express through  his action. Even Atheist when force to desperation hope of a miracle or some unknown intervention.

This is a trait not seen in animals, for animals do not  have a nature to worship God. This is only seen in man. Whenever a man seeks for God, God will be pleased. God will see his heart and move him and guide him to understand.  Eventually he will find God and understood the word of God.

Reasons for unbelief

Today if one comes before God without faith, he comes before God believing in himself only. It is difficult for a man with such an attitude to be moved or guided by God. He may be a scholar in Greek and Hebrew, he may be able to read the bible in its original language from cover to cover. But he will read it and not understand, for he did not allow the word of God to dwell in him, he had rejected God upfront. He had denied the nature that God had placed in his heart. For he trust only in his own rational mind and his ability as a scholar.

A man with such attitude will make statements like “I will only accept if I can rationalise this in my mind. I will only believe if I see with my own eyes”. On the surface that sound reasonable. But if we take a step back and ask, does he only believe when he sees? That may not be the case all the time.

He had never seen his forefathers, but he know they exist, for he heard his grandfather talks about his own grandfather. At the same time he reads of books and historical character that they have not met. But yet he believe that they exist.  But ironically when he read about God in the bible, he finds it hard to believe. 

Others tend to say “I will only believe if my mind can accept and understand it”. This statement sounds fair, but is that what they do strictly? No, for they do no understand a lot of the components they see on their food labels, but they have the courage to eat the food . They are unable to understand how a mobile phone works, but they use them nonetheless.  Most of them are willing to use it because they can see the benefits from using it.

Others says “I will believe only when i see the proof of God”. That appears reasonable, but yet they are often seen using things that are unproven. When they get onto the cab, they did not demand a proof from the driver that he is a good man. They used his services in good faith believing that he is a gentleman. The proof will only be there when they complete the trip unscathed.  

Being a True believer

The truth is that, we do believe in things that cannot be seen , proven or understood. But yet when it comes to faith, we demand the strictest evidence. Is there a need for such evidence? We feel that there is a need because we do not have a heart to believe. We want to believe in ourselves and what we experience.

One day God will ask “"If we can believe in so many things, why not believe in me?”

God had place that nature to seek him in the heart of man, but we often choose to reject it. He place that nature within us because of his love, he took the first step to manifest himself before us. But not everyone is willing to follow and believe and that is the problem.

Many thinks that God choose not to reveal himself to us, and it is his fault but God had already taken that first step to allow us to believe in his existence, but we are the ones who choose to  reject and deny him.  We choose to believe and rely on ourselves, is it fair for us to push that blame to God?

That is why the bible gives us a definition of faith

“Now faith is the substance of things
  hoped for, the evidence of things not
  seen.”- Author of Hebrews (Heb 11:1)

Faith is something that we hope for, it is about believing what we did not see. If faith is not a result of us examining the evidence. There is only so much evidence we can gather, there is just so much knowledge we can accumulate. But faith is believing in something that is not seen. Faith is not a result of seeing, and Christians need to rely on faith to please God.  That is why they are rewarded when they seek God.

Today we can use this same faith to know God and believe in him. IF we are able to do so, we have become a believer. A believer is someone who believe in the Lord. But let us go one step deeper into this understanding.

What does it mean to be a believer? What is expected from a believer?  Are we a true believer?  That is a question that Jesus ask all of us.

“But there are some of you who do not believe.”
  For Jesus knew from the beginning who they
  were who did not believe, and who would
  betray Him.”- John (Jn 6:64)

Jesus already knew who would believe and who would not. He even know who will betray him.
What does the title of believer signifies? Let us examine a few points here.

Pt 1: A believer to truly believe in the word of the Lord

Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your son lives.”
  So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke
  to him, and he went his way. And as he was now
  going down, his servants met him and told him,
saying, “Your son lives!” – John (Jn 4:50-51)

The nobleman son is sick to the point of dying. The noble came to Jesus and pleaded with him to come to Capernaum to heal his son. But Jesus did not accede to that request. Jesus told him simply  “Go your way; your son lives.”. 

How would we have responded? Jesus did not grant our request, can my son be healed?  Sometimes we doubt, but the nobleman is a true believer, he truly believe in the words of Jesus. He place his trust in Jesus and headed back.

Today there were many words spoken by Jesus which we no longer believe, even if we do believe, we have our doubts over it. But if we are unable to believe in the words of Jesus, are we still believers?

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives,
  the disciples came to Him privately, saying,
   “Tell us, when will these things be? And
    what will be the sign of Your coming,
    and of the end of the age?””= Mathew (Matt 24:3)

The disciples believed that Jesus will come again and when it happens it would be the end of the world. This is something many Christians do not believe today. But these was spoken by Jesus. The disciples believed, that is why they asked about the sign of his coming. Those who do not believe will not ask such question. They will treat this as a threat, a fairy tale or a story

But those who truly believe in the words of Jesus, will make preparations for his second coming. It is a pity that after Jesus ascended to heaven, many Christians stopped believing in this. Peter wrote about people who mock and scorn at the second coming of Christ. For many years have past and Jesus had not come. The word continues to go on and the world continue to progress. How could the world be destroyed?

As the result many stop believing in his second coming.

 The state of many churches today

When Peter wrote about people who stopped believing in the second coming of Jesus, it should be between the period of 30 CE-70CE.  40 years have barely past and the people had stop believing. How more now in year 2017, two thousand years away from Christ.

That is why many Christians no longer believe in the second coming.  The churches are no longer in use, and many of these buildings were sold. Sometimes my church would purchase these buildings. When we encounter the members of the previous church that gathered. Sometimes they will find it amusing why we wanted to purchase their building. For they themselves have already stopped going to church and have decided to sell the building off.

What is sadder is when some of the church buildings are converted into bars and people make a mockery out of the phrase “Lets go to the church”. It seems that many Christians have stopped gathering in churches.

Yet we know of Christians who choose to gather to worship at all times. Even though they have no church building, they will gather in each others house.

From here we can see that different believers have different levels of faith. But let us not examine others but ourselves. Do we truly believe in the words of Jesus? If we do, we should be prepared for his second coming. We may not be rich on earth but we will never be without God. It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor, for we know that life on earth is short and all will come to nothing in the end.

We will be satisfied with God, and find peace and joy in the midst of our difficulties. We will not be like the rich fool. The rich fool only believe when he sees God, but it was too late for him. 

 Pt 2: To believe is to have a living faith accompanied with works

“You believe that there is one God.
  You do well. Even the demons believe
  —and tremble! But do you want to know,
   O foolish man, that faith without works
  is dead?”- James (Jas 2:19-20)

Interestingly, the demons sometimes have more faith than man. While many on earth choose not to believe in God, but the devil knew and believe God exist. While many on earth forget that Jesus will return to the world as a judge, the devil believes in the judgement of God, he trembles at the thought of it.

The devil have faith, but can such a faith save him?  James tells us that they believe and they tremble, but their belief is one without action, it is faith without works. He believe in God but not worship God, he believe in God’s judgement, but there is no repentance. that is a faith without works, it is  a dead faith.

Today many of us believe that Jesus is our saviour, we believe he will come again. But is our faith one with works? Have we truly repented from our sin and ask God for forgiveness? Are we willing to keep his words and do all that he had commanded. If we believe but refuses to draw near to God. If we believe in the judgement of God yet continue to sin. Can such a faith save us?

That type  of faith is no different then a faith of a demon. We need to have faith and we need to accompany faith with works. then that is a true faith, a faith that can save. It is a faith that will follow the command of God.

If not, Jesus will ask us “Why do you call me Lord and not do as I say?” We need to repent be zealous so God will truly love us. God does not want to judge us, he will that all man be saved. But the day of judgement is set, for God is just and we need to judge man for the things they do. That is why we need to obey the words of God.

There are many things that we need to be serious about on earth. We need to put in our effort in  order to gain the reward. That is why we study and work heart, we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of result. But why is it that we are not willing to do so with regards to faith?

Pt 3: To believe is to have God in our hearts

It is our choice if we want to believe in God or not. It is our choice to be serious in our faith. I hope that each and everyone of us will make the right choice.

“As many as I love, I rebuke
  and chasten. Therefore be zealous
  and repent. Behold, I stand at the
  door and knock. If anyone hears
  My voice and opens the door, I will
  come in to him and dine with him,
  and he with Me.”- Jesus (Rev 3:19-20)

Jesus rebuked the church of Laodicea. They appear as good before the eyes of man. They are zealous in their service and they offered much and preached the gospel. The church appeared prosperous and good, lacking nothing. They called Jesus Lord and are pious in their worship of God.

But God does not judge by their external experience, God look into their heart. Their heart is without God and that is something that shock people. For these Christians are zealous yet without God in their heart. They called Jesus Lord with their lips, but there is no Lord in their heart, there is no fear of God, can external faithfulness save a person?

The Pharisees are serious in their worship, but their external faithfulness save them? They appear perfect, but Jesus called them whitewashed tombs. For there tombs look beautiful but within them are dead mans bones.

Faith is not an external show for others to see, it is about having God in our hearts and being a true believers. That is why Jesus rebuked these men, they need to repent and be zealous for God. They need to open the door of their hearts so that Christ can enter them. they need to allow Christ to be their king and to rule over their hearts. then they will be a true believer with a faith that saves.   

The Umbrella Illustration

There was a merchant who often goes to the native village to do businesses.  Whenever he arrives at the village, he will carry an umbrella with him, and the natives find it strange. they have never seen an umbrella and wonder what it does. But they figured that since the merchant carry it all the times, it must be something important.

One day the chief asked the merchant. “What is this umbrella for? Why did you carry it?”
The merchant replied, “The umbrella is useful, especially when it rains. You will not get wet in the rain if you carry the umbrella with you. If you would like, I can sell my umbrella to you.”

So the chief bought the umbrella and he waited for rain, finally one day it started to rain. Everyone in the village gathered at the chief house, they wanted to see him use the umbrella. However the chief took the umbrella with him  and he was wet. The tribes man thought he was using the umbrella incorrectly. They advice him to hold it with both hands. But no matter how he hold it, he was still wet.

So everyone in the village thought that the merchant had cheated them. When the merchant arrives at the village again, they scolded him and call him a cheat.

“Didn’t you say that if i carry the umbrella I won’t get wet? Why am I drenched?” The chief asked.

So the merchant asked “How did you hold it?”

The chief replied “ I held it with both hands, a single hand, and even strapping it on my back”

The merchant asked “ did you open the umbrella?”

that is when the merchant opened the umbrella. From then on the chief knew that he would not get wet if he opens the umbrella.

It is good for us to be Christians and it is good for us to believe in Jesus.  But if we refuse to open our hearts, if we refuse to fear God and to allow God to rule in our hearts. What is the use of holding on to faith?

Jesus wanted to come into our hearts, and he want to dine together with us. May everyone open their hearts tot he Lord. May God be in our hearts always. May we learn to worship him with our hearts, for such a man is a true believer.