By Pastor Kevin Van Wyk
In 7th grade I went through a confirmation class at my church. For a year, I attended this class, was then confirmed, and became a member of the church. I don’t remember much of this. I’m not sure if it just went over my head or if my bike accident in 9th grade erased my memory of whatever they confirmed. A few years later, I ended up in college believing I was a Christian, yet rejecting that God created the world, that the Bible was true, and that I was sinful. Yet, I confessed to be a Christian. So…
What must a true believer believe? It’s tempting to think all that matters is to believe Jesus is your Lord and Savior. After all, it’s right from Romans 10:9. But what does “believe” mean? Is it merely mental assent to a statement or is it more? Who is Jesus? What is a Lord? What is a Savior? What are we saved from and for?
Now, I don’t want to diminish a child saying, “I love Jesus.” In fact, if we properly understand the fullness of “believe,” that child may be more on track than a Doctor of Theology. The heart and soul are as fundamental as the mind. This "believing" is only by the work of the Spirit in one’s heart, soul, and mind. We can’t just rattle off a few simple truths and qualify as a true believer. The heart matters!
Assuming there is genuine faith, what should a believer understand and accept as true? That’s tougher than we tend to think. Fortunately, others have worked hard at answering this question. In light of their work, our elders have concluded that our Covenant Partners (members) need to affirm the following…
I believe in one God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and confess Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. I accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the supreme authority for faith and life. I accept the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed as essential truths of the Christian faith.
While we have explicitly called for understanding the trinity, salvation in Christ, and the authority of the Bible; we’ve also included three historic creeds for Covenant Partners to affirm.
But, can you get into heaven and not understand some of these truths? Certainly, children do not understand many of these things and it is this child-like faith that Jesus commends. We just can’t remain infants in our understanding of the gospel, but must move on to maturity, understanding the fullness of God’s work and character.
So, do you truly believe? Has your heart been powerfully and irrevocably stirred? Has your mind been fully convinced of the gospel? If so, then you are well on your way to being ready to be a Covenant Partner. In the coming months, I’ll share more about the commitments of Covenant Partners. For now I encourage you to reflect on these core beliefs and creeds.
Prayer… Holy Spirit, move in me to stir up faith that transforms my heart and mind. Bring forth spiritual fruit that will bear witness to the world and to me that you have chosen me and called me as your child. Amen.
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