The Bible makes it abundantly clear that there are believers and unbelievers, but apparently people are unable to make a clear distinction between the two, because there is little or no difference between the life style of the believer and that of the unbeliever.
The bible for example gives a clear command for believers who are married to another believer, and another charge to a believer who is married to an unbeliever. To the married believers the bible states categorically, “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife” (1Corinthians 7:10-11).
To a believer who is married to an unbeliever the bible gives a totally different charge which is, “To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him, for the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.’
“But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife” (1Corinthians 7:12-16)?
With the majority of people violating with impunity the command given to believers, and adopting the principle granted to unbelievers, it leaves one to wonder whether there is such a distinction between believers and unbelievers, or whether there is a false concept of what it is to believe.
The distinction between the believer and the unbeliever is so relevant and realistic that believers have been admonished saying; “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers…For what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we (the believer) are the temple of the living God, as God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you, I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty” (2Corinthians 6:14-18).
The reality is most people who called themselves believers, are living more like unbelievers than they do as believers. Believe in Jesus Christ to most people is simply an ideology that has been professed and embraced by all in the Christian community, but what exactly it is to believe in Jesus Christ, what does it entails? How can the believer be differentiated from the unbeliever?
To believe in Jesus Christ is to believe that he is the way, the truth and the life, and that no one comes unto the Father except through him. Believing this is the most important criterion of our salvation as alluded to by the apostle Paul who wrote; “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” Those who are perishing, perish because they refused to love the truth and be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14, 10).
But what is the truth about Jesus that we should believe? In praying to the Father on behalf of his disciples Jesus said; “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” The truth therefore is Jesus Christ the word of God, who became flesh and made his dwelling among men, and we beheld his glory, the glory as the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John.17:17; Jn. 14: 6; John.1:14).
Believing Jesus Christ who is the word of God that was made flesh and dwelt among men is to believe everything the scriptures say about him, and this is the way one can differentiate a believer from an unbeliever, and the details about Jesus can be subdivided into eight (8) intrinsic parts which are:-
1. Believe that Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of God
A believer is one who believes that Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of God, who proceeded and came forth from the Father, and that the Father himself loves him/her because he/she has loved Jesus Christ and has believed that Jesus Christ came from God.
The believer believes that Jesus is the Beloved Son of God, the Word of God, who was in the beginning with God, and that all things were created by him and without him was not anything made that was made, and that Jesus Christ is the express image of the invisible God, and in him all things in heaven and earth were created, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominion or principalities or authorities; all things were created through him and for him, and that He is before all things and in him all things exists.
The believer believes that since Jesus Christ is the word of God, and no one has heard the voice of God nor seen his form, it is Jesus Christ the Beloved Son of God who gave Moses the Everlasting Covenant, the Ten Commandments, and it is he who said to Moses’ “These are my appointed feasts, the appointed feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies” (Leviticus 23:2)
He believes also that it is he who gave instructions to Aaron the High priest saying; “This is what you are to offer on the altar regularly each day: two lambs a year old. Offer one in the morning and the other at twilight. With the first lamb offer a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with a quarter of a hin of oil from pressed olives, and a quarter of a hin of wine as a drink offering. Sacrifice the other lamb at twilight with the same grain offering and its drink offering as in the morning – a pleasing aroma, an offering to the Lord by fire.’
“For the generations to come this burnt offering is to be made regularly at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord. There I will meet you and speak to you; there also I will meet with the Israelites, and the place will be consecrated by my glory. So I will consecrate the Tent of Meeting and the altar and will consecrate Aaron and his sons to serve me as priests. Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God” (Exodus 29:38-46).
The believer believes that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever, and since when he came into the world he said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” And since he fulfilled them by replacing the shadow and copy with the reality which is, replacing the earthly tabernacle with the true tabernacle in heaven, replacing the lamb by the sacrifice of himself, and leaving the bread and the wine to represent his flesh and blood, and replacing the temporary high priest, by himself the everlasting High priest, the offering of God’s food for his offering… the Lord’s supper is relevant to day as it was when the Lord instituted it.
A believer believes that it is Jesus Christ who asked Moses to say to the children of Israel, “You must observe my Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to come, so that you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy, observe the Sabbath because it is holy to you” (Exodus 31:13-14).
He also believes that it is Jesus Christ who said to the prophet Ezekiel; “…I gave them my Sabbaths as a sign between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them holy.” And, “Keep my Sabbaths holy, that they may be a sign between us. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God” (Ezekiel 20:12, 20).
These Sabbaths are the Lord’s appointed feasts, which the believer is to proclaim as sacred assemblies for bringing offerings made to the Lord by fire” (Leviticus 23:37).
The instructions given to the believer is “See that you present to me at the appointed time the food for my offerings made by fire, as an aroma pleasing to me” (Numbers 28:2).
This fragrant offering in our dispensation, is the offering of the sacrificial body of the Son of God in the form of the bread and wine. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2).
Hence when he came into the world he said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath day” (Mark 2:27-28).
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