“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.”
Christians have always known the answer to the age-old question, “what is the meaning of life?”. If we refuse to enter into discussions of philosophy, metaphysics, and science to explain our existence, it is with good cause. We have left behind discovery and moved on to testing, applying, and evaluating the answer. We have ceased being mere believers (or seekers for you modern folks) and have become disciples.
I am not playing at semantics nor splitting hairs when I say the difference between the two is the difference between life and death. I meet many people within and without churches who put a great deal of stock in the fact that they believe in God, or a god. I believe it and have no doubt that they are absolutely sincere. I think it is necessary to abandon logic and reason to not believe in God.
The problem for those who say they believe in God is similar to the one people face who say they are spiritual and not religious—it doesn’t really mean anything or get you anywhere. We are born spiritual beings and no matter how you conceptualize man’s origin, we are created beings, if no other reason than we are not self-existent.
However, for the most succinct demonstration of the fallacy of belief in God as a means of justification for human imperfection, we look to James who says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”. Perhaps you don’t believe in a real devil. That would help explain why you are content to say, “I believe” and leave it there.
Belief will neither usher you into a relationship with God nor completely exclude you. He that comes to God must believe that He is. You may be a believer and not be a disciple. You cannot be a disciple without being a believer. The difference is that a disciple accepts the grace and forgiveness of God and then sets about working out the transformation that God wills for their life. Faith without the works that demonstrate it is dead.
Christianity isn’t something people do on Sunday. It’s not a list of rules, doctrines, and creeds—it is a way of life. Or in Jesus words, The Way, of life. It is a life of study, service, reflection, and fidelity. You must work out the particulars of your own salvation, but you will not have to do it alone. The Spirit of God will guide you when you’re lost, reprove you when you’re wrong, and exhort you onward when you are right. Peace with God and everlasting life are offered to everyone, but it’s not for everyone. It is for those willing to take up a cross and follow Jesus.