I recently heard someone exclaim that you don’t need to go to church to believe in God. This was in response to a relative who wanted her children to be “confirmed” in a certain church.
Of course, you don’t need to go to church to believe in God. The statement I heard was met by approval from many people who were listening. But is that the end of the story? Belief? All you need to do is ‘believe’ in God and you’re done?
I like to think about it this way. I believe in Uganda. That’s it. No more.
Let’s examine that, because the statement itself says nothing, does it?
I believe in Uganda. I believe it exists. I saw it on a map one time. I heard about it on the news. Some people say they’ve been there and back again. And when I die, I believe I may go to Uganda.
Therefore, you can rightly call me a Ugandan.
Correct? No. Not by a long shot, and if you described your belief in this way to someone, they would think you are crazy. But unfortunately, when you describe your feelings about God in the same way you are met with approval from others. Let’s try that same situation with ‘God’ instead of Uganda.
I believe in God. I believe He exists. I’ve seen the Bible. I heard on the news about someone who says they’ve been to heaven and back and have seen Him. And when I die, I believe I may go to be with God. Therefore, you can rightly call me a Christian.
No, a belief in God doesn’t make you a Christian, and just because you believe you are on your way to heaven doesn’t make that right either. To believe in God makes you no different than the demons, which the Bible says also believe in God. A belief in Jesus doesn’t make someone a Christian either. Just like a belief in Uganda doesn’t make you Ugandan.
If you want to be a Ugandan you move to Uganda, learn about Uganda, pay your taxes to Uganda, become a citizen of Uganda and conform to the laws of Uganda. Then you can be rightly called a Ugandan.
A belief in Christ, coupled with a desire to know Him, a desire to follow His teachings, a desire to be a citizen of heaven, to live with Him in Heaven, and the desire to bend your will to conform to His – combined with repentance – makes you a Christian.
And personally, I find a real Bible believing, Bible teaching church to be a good source of knowledge of God. If you want to believe in God and believe you are going to heaven, then you should have something to back up your belief other that your own feelings. Don’t cobble together your idea of God from someone else’s concept that you heard somewhere but are so far removed from that you can’t even remember where. Go to the source, the Word of God, and find your answers. And a proper Bible teaching church is a great help.
I hope this helps some better understand the extent of their belief in God.