About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

Home Page

The Church's Big Problem


If I had one message to speak before I died it would be an expanded version of this article.  Failure to understand what you're about to read is what I believe to be the number one problem in today's western-world church.  It's a problem that not only makes church less productive, it affects one's eternal destiny. 


Many people like me who were raised within evangelical Christianity have chosen to adopt the Christian lifestyle from an early age.  They have given mental assent to the existence of Jesus and the reality of the cross of Christ, and that's our problem.  You ask, "How is that a problem?"  Here's my answer.     


In today's world we define the word "believe" to be a mental acceptance of something to be true.  On July 21, 1969, for example, I believe Neil Armstrong was the first person to step onto the surface of the moon.  Such mental acceptance of something we choose to believe to be true is not how the New Testament defines the word "believe" as it pertains to our salvation.  The Greek verb "pisteuo" that is translated as believe in the New Testament means to trust.  It does not merely suggest a choice we make to adopt a Biblical lifestyle and the reality of Jesus' existence.     


When John 3:16 and other such passages tell you to believe and you will be saved, they're telling you to trust your very life with Jesus so the Spirit of the Almighty Creator God can live within you.  When the Holy Spirit enters your very being, as 2 Corinthians 5:17 logically states, you become an entirely new creation, someone you have never been.  You are saved by being born again.  Without the Holy Spirit's residency in your very being, as Romans 8:9 states, you are not a Christian.  You are not saved, and that, despite the adoption of a Biblical lifestyle and your mental recognition of the existence of Jesus.


So here is our present-day problem in church, as I see it.  Many people believe they are Christians when in fact they are not.  Adopting our culture's understanding of believing to be a mere mental assent to something being true is not Biblical belief.  Mental agreement to the existence of Jesus and the cross of Christ is the prerequisite to true Biblical belief, which is, trusting your life with Jesus as a newly-born spiritual creation.  Only then are you saved, and only then will church be the community of unified, productive believers it is meant to be. 

Home Page