Getting beyond “do you believe in Jesus?”

If you truly care about his or her soul, you will get beyond “do you believe in Jesus?”.

It’s not enough to ask someone if they believe in Jesus. Sadly, a lot of the time even if they answer yes, they are still a hell-bound soul. 

Obviously, we can’t know people’s hearts, but we know what they say, and simply saying “I believe in Jesus” is not enough. 

Perhaps there are some countries on earth, where simply saying that might be enough. Maybe in countries where there is strong persecution. Where false versions of Christianity are not prominent. But it is imperative if you care about the souls of those around you, that you learn how to ask the right questions to understand whether someone truly knows Christ or not. 

Recently Kevin Max, a former member of dc talk, declared on social media that he is an “Exvangelical”. He declared that after being on a journey of many years, that he is no longer an evangelical and that he now has embraced the “universal Christ”. He is pro-LGBTQ, pro BLM and pro-open mindedness amongst many other things. 

Fascinatingly, on his bio on twitter, he still describes himself as a “Jesus Freak”. A twitter user informed him of that and told him that he should remove “Jesus Freak” as a descriptor of himself, but he promptly shot back “still a Jesus Freak!”

If someone can still claim Christ but believe in a universalist, hell denying, LGBT-affirming Jesus then we have a serious problem.

This is why we need to get beyond, “do you believe in Jesus?”

So many of you know Roman Catholics, Orthodox, or cultural Christians who might use similar words and say some right things, but if you would only press a little bit further you would find that they simply do not possess saving faith in Christ Jesus. 

Many say that it is judgmental and wicked to question people’s faith, but there is nothing more loving that you can do for someone than be interested in the state of their soul. 

There is nothing more unloving than simply accepting a surface level answer to religious beliefs, if that person is actually not a Christian.

There is nothing more loving than helping someone examine their faith and see what Jesus they believe in. 

Kevin Max, the former lead singer for DC talk, might be a Jesus Freak, but it is a different Jesus made in his own imagination. It is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus of the Bible is not a universalist. The Jesus of the Bible did not condone sin. The Jesus of the Bible died because of the damning power of sin. The Jesus of the Bible died to become the only way to Heaven. 

So many people don’t know Jesus, yet declare themselves to be “fans of Jesus”. You might be confused by their good morals. You might be confused by their clean lives. You might be confused because their worldview might be similar to yours. But the fact of the matter is that there are so many people around you, that you simply trust their surface level answers and therefore are mistaken about their eternal destination. You might be being sweet and hoping the best, but sadly you are not being faithful to Christ in this area. And it would all be made clear by some simple exploratory questions.

So, what are some questions you can ask?

Perhaps a good question is, “do you believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven?”

Most people in this world will say no. Most Roman Catholics would answer no. Many Christians you talk to in the Bible belt will answer no. They might say something like only God knows, or it’s up to God to decide. But simply put, if someone answers this question in this manner, you can be very confident that they don’t have an understanding of the gospel. They simply don’t understand why Jesus came to earth and died on the cross. 

Another question is, “do you believe you deserve hell?”

If they say no, then you can know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do not possess saving faith. Precisely because their faith saves them from something other than hell. If It’s not from hell that they are saved, then what is it from? 

A third question is, “If you were to die today and God were to ask you ‘why should I let you into Heaven?’ What would you say?”

This question gets to the heart of the Gospel. Are they trusting in works to save themselves, or are they trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross? If their answer is something like, “because I’ve done more good than bad”, or because “I’m a good person” then you can be certain that this person is not on his or her way to Heaven.

And finally, a good question is simply, how does someone get to Heaven?

I know many Christians, especially in America, assume that their Roman Catholic friends and family are saved, and that they are just mistaken on less important issues. Others may have “prayed the prayer” and so some might assume that though their life remains unchanged that they were sincere when they prayed. The question I have for you is have you asked him deep questions that get to the heart of the Gospel? They might agree with a belief in the trinity, in the virgin birth, in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, but do they understand faith and biblical grace? The bible is clear that even the demons believe and shudder (James 2:19). Just because you are right about some doctrines and use similar language, it does not mean you possess saving faith. The Judaizers, I’m sure, were sound on a lot of things, yet Paul said they were damned to hell! (Gal 1:6-9)

I know that it is hard to have these conversations. Some of you are incredibly kind and hope the best (understandable with eternity in hell at stake) but when you are dealing with salvation “hoping the best” is not appropriate. Kindness and hope will lead someone to ask deeper questions. 

We must, for the sake of actually loving the people God sovereignly places in our lives, get beyond basic questions and truly get to the bottom of what our loved ones (and strangers!) are trusting in for their salvation. Eternity is at stake, and that is something worth losing a relationship over

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