Knowing The Gospel: Trust is a Must
Every generation has a few celebrities whose fame spreads like wildfire. The Beatles sold out stadiums for decades. Michael Jackson dazzled adoring fans with his over-the-top style and outlandish dance moves. The Kardashians somehow have become famous for being famous, getting to the point where a single Instagram post from a Kardashian can cost a brand nearly a million dollars. (Sidebar: I’ll post about your product for half the price.)
Before mass-media took over the world, celebrities looked different. In the early 19th century, Jean “The Great Blondin” Francois Gravelot took the world by storm. His image was printed on papers all over the country with headlines like “We Believe in Blondin.” Sure, he was an entertainer, but it went beyond acting, Instagram, sports, or pop music. He was an acrobat, specifically a tightrope walker known for his death-defying stunts at great heights.
Tens of thousands of people gathered at the base of Niagara Falls to watch Blondin cross the roaring rapids on a tightrope. Being a showman, he’d pretend to stumble as the crowd gasped. Once flawlessly crossing, the audience applauded while chanting, “We believe!” He crossed again, this time stopping in the middle and pulling a small dinner tray from his backpack. He then proceeded to eat a full meal while the frightening falls raged beneath him. As the crowd cheered louder, he addressed them, “Do you believe I can cross blindfolded?” They responded, “We believe, Blondin!” Drawing a blindfold, he slowly crossed the falls with mist underneath his feet before stepping foot onto dry land on the other side. Cheers erupted. Then, he addressed the crowd again by asking, “Do you think I can cross with a wheelbarrow?” They reacted, “We believe! We believe!” He crossed the falls flawlessly while pushing a wheelbarrow. He turned to the crowd with a bow as they roared louder than the falls. He shouted, “Now, who wants to get in the wheelbarrow?” Silence swept over the audience.
No one exclaimed, “We believe!” this time. The revelers were rendered silent when they were asked to put their belief to the test. They clearly knew he could cross as they had witnessed it dozens of times. Shoot, he ate supper while suspended nearly two-hundred feet in the air. They certainly thought he could do it, but they didn’t trust him with their life.
READ: Romans 3:22 (TLB Version)
“But now God has shown us a different way to heaven —not by “being good enough” and trying to keep his laws, but by a new way. Now God says he will accept and acquit us—declare us “not guilty”—if we trust Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, by coming to Christ, no matter who we are or what we have been like.”
Romans 3 teaches that all of humanity carries a deadly disease. There is a natural brokenness within you that’s with you from the time you are born. Paul offers a remedy— righteousness. However, if we were to try to be perfect own our own, we’d inevitably stumble. Just like a medication helps you overcome a disease, the same is true for your sin. You need help outside of yourself. Thus, we must trust in Jesus. When you put your trust in Jesus to take away your sins, He will declare you “not guilty.”
I am a big fan of YouTuber and writer, John Green. A few years ago, he called me. Truly, the author of Fault in Our Stars called me to talk about politics. I had entered a question in a poll online which led him to pick up the phone and carry on a conversation with me. It was surreal. I squealed like a pot-belly pig when we hung up. I know a lot about John. I have read all his books, I have followed him on Youtube for a decade, and we have spoken on the phone. I know of him, but I don’t really know him. He’s not a close friend.
It’s one thing to know about Jesus, but it’s another thing to trust him. One happens in your head, and the other happens in your heart. It’s not enough to merely acknowledge that Jesus existed. The only way to be declared righteous is to trust in Him. Think of the adoring audience chanting for The Great Blondin. We need to get in the wheelbarrow. There is a huge difference in knowing about Jesus and truly knowing Jesus. Tragically, it’s possible to read the Bible without knowing the author. We must trust.
Just like in any relationship, trust is essential.
Trust Jesus with your feelings.
Trust Jesus with your future.
Trust Jesus with your life.
There is no other way to God. We cannot work our way to heaven. We cannot serve our way to salvation. We cannot buy it, manufacture it, or stumble upon it. We must trust in Jesus. When we do, we are set free from the punishment of sin. God sees the righteousness of Jesus within us. That’s why Paul constantly says that your identity is discovered “in Christ.” God, as a good judge, raises His gavel and declares us “not guilty.” That’s the power of trusting Jesus.
Have you ever truly experienced the life-changing miracle of salvation? Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” It’s not complicated to experience salvation. All you need to do is confess and trust. That’s the process. There is no ten-step program. There is no magical saying. There is no purchase necessary. All you need to do is confess to Jesus through prayer and trust in Him.
There is nothing special about any particular prayer of confession. It’s all about the heart behind the words. If you don’t know what to pray, it can sound a little like this, “Jesus, I admit that I’ve made mistakes. I’ve sinned and need your forgiveness. I believe that You came to Earth, died, and rose again so that I could be reunited with God. I declare you as my Lord and commit my life to You. I give you my past, present, and future. Please use my life to bring you glory. I give it to You. Amen.”
TALK IT OUT
Go through these questions with your circle. Be honest. Be open. Talk through the tough stuff.
Q1: Would you have been willing to cross the falls with Blodin? Why or why not?
Q2: What separates your relationships with people you’ve only heard of from your relationships with people you personally know?
Q3: How is it possible to know about Jesus without actually knowing Him?
Q4: When someone trusts Jesus, how does their life look different?
Q5: Why do people lack trust in Jesus? What can you do to begin placing more trust in Him?
Q6: What can you commit to doing every day this week to get know know Jesus better?