What does it mean to believe?

Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines belief as “to accept something as true, genuine, or real.” Another of its definitions is “to have a firm or wholehearted religious conviction or persuasion: to regard the existence of God as a fact.”

When we, as Christians, use the word believe, we think of the second definition, the idea that we have a firm conviction that God is real and that he has revealed himself through the Bible and through the life and death of his son, Jesus.

Because all humans are made in the image of God, we long for a connection to Him. As Christians we believe that we are able to make that connection through faith.
It is the same faith that guided Abraham to leave his father and take his family to the land that now known as Israel. (Genesis 12) It is faith in this one true God that allowed Moses to take on the role of leading God’s chosen people–the descendants of Abraham–out of captivity and into the promised land. (Exodus)
This faith is seen throughout the Old Testament when men and women trust in God and do His will, not out of compulsion, but because they know that they have an authentic connection to God.
When John the Baptizer teaches repentence for sins, it is because of his belief that people who repent of their sins and are baptized, their connection to God is renewed. (Matthew 3)
Christians believe that they receive a full pardon for their sins because Jesus paid the price for those sins on the cross. They have faith that when they die, they will be brought into the presence of God to enjoy an eternity free of the guilt, pain, suffering, fear, and heartache that plague our fallen world.
This is the belief that is clearly spelled out in the Apostles Creed. It is the belief system that describes what it means to be a Christian.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

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