Believe. Most of us think of believe as a truth we hold in our mind. The world has gone so far as to say what we believe determines “our truth.” The original Greek, pisteuō, means so much more.
…to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance — ‘to believe in, to have confidence in, to have faith in, to trust…’ (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semanti Domains, Louw-Nida)
This Greek word and others sharing the same root are found translated as: believe, faith, trust. In our Hebrews passage today, the same root word is found in faith then again in believe. The Amplified Bible translates pisteuō: “cleaves to and trusts in and relies on.” There is no missing the original meaning of this word.
Believe is not a word you keep in your head, it drives you to action. You sit in a chair without thinking because you believe it will hold you up. You eat a meal served to you in a restaurant without hesitation because you believe it is safe to eat. What you really believe shows up in your everyday actions.
In. This may seem like an insignificant word. A static word, but again the original language paints a different picture.
eis: extension toward a special goal — ‘to, toward, in the direction of.’ (Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament based on Semantic Domains, Louw-Nida)
Do you see it? The Greek translated as “in” has movement: toward, in the direction of. To believe in Christ is a continual process of movement toward a deeper trust in Jesus and His Way.
John 7:38 moved me to dig deeper and discover the Greek words pisteuō eis.
“…Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” —Jesus
I wanted to know what it meant to believe in as the Scripture said, what God said about believing in. My digging changed my perspective on so many things. Through my actions I began to truly see what I believed in and what I didn’t. Knowing these words for what they mean helped me to identify areas of unbelief in my life and I began to let God deal with them one by one. I also saw how faith is a continual growth process. It is not a onetime event but a journey of increased trust in Him.
According to what the Scripture says about believe in, do you?
Have you been content with the understanding of a stagnant belief of salvation? How does it change your perspective of faith to know it has movement?
Identify at least one area of unbelief in your life, where you do not act without thinking because you do not cleave to, trust in, rely on.
Today awesome is used for anything exciting or fun. It’s been lowered to the level of a celebratory affirmation: Way to go! However, awesome is what God is. He inspires awe!
awe — the power to inspire dread; submissive and admiring fear inspired by authority or power
—Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary
The sort of fear we are to have for God should fill us with respect for His power, reverence for His authority, and the acknowledgment that He deserves it from us.
Have you experienced true awe? When?
Can you relate that experience to a proper attitude toward God?
We need to stand in awe of God as a child does before their father. We are nothing compared to Him and have no good thing apart from Him, but through Christ we become the rightful heirs and sons of God we were originally intended to be.
Our culture has a tendency to avoid the word sin, even the church shies away from it these days. We prefer: made a mistake, had an error in judgment, made a bad choice. Sin is sin and as Believers we need to call it what it is because that is what Jesus came and died for. Our sins.
“…She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”—Matthew 1:21 ESV
Jesus came to save us from our sins. The Greek word translated here as sins means to miss the mark; to err, be mistaken; to miss or wander from the path of uprightness and honour, to do or go wrong (Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon).
For people to sin, all we have to do is wander, miss the mark of what God calls righteousness. We all sin. We all wander. And yes, to sin is to make a mistake but it is still a sin. We need to embrace our sinful nature, call sin sin from a white lie to a violent crime. It’s all sin. And it separates us from God.
In short, sin is a word that describes anything that fails to meet God’s standard of perfection. Thus, sin is the barrier between you and a satisfying relationship with God. Just as light and dark cannot exist together, neither can God and sin.
—Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book
When we understand just how sin-full we are and the damage sin does to our relationship with God, we will have a greater affinity for our much needed Savior.
“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” — Jesus
Luke 7:47 NASB95
Believers are called to trust in the name of Jesus. But what does it mean? to trust in His name? J-e-s-u-s. These are the letters that make up His name. Is this what we are to trust in?
Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God.
Isaiah 50:10 ESV
The Hebrew translated as name means: the proper designation of a person, place or thing… renown, fame, known, reputation, i.e., information that one knows about another… (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Hebrew). It encompasses so much more than just the letters or phonetics of a given name.
Think about it for a minute. When you hear the name “orange” referring to a fruit, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Surely, not the letters: o-r-a-n-g-e. When we hear: Would you like an orange? What comes to mind is a round fruit with a rind bearing the color of its name that is full of sweet juice and pulp. What comes to mind is the character of an orange.
The same is true for Jesus. When we are called to trust in His name, we are being called to trust in His character. What we know of Him. Who He says He is. Not in the word: J-e-s-u-s.
Considering the “name of the Lord” in Scripture always felt a little vague to me, until I discovered the deeper meaning of name. When I come across the word now, I automatically read it as character. This helps me to get a clearer focus on what I’m being asked to trust in. Not simply His name, but who He is. His reputation. His renown. His character.