My pastor made an astounding statement the other day that made me think that after forty years as a Christian, years of Bible College and Seminary, and loving the Word of God more than eating (and that is saying something), I have barely scratched the surface of God's revelation to man! It was so profound, and yet so simple. He quoted John 3:16, which says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." You may be thinking, what's so amazing about that; it's the most quoted verse from the Bible? Let me tell you.
Because I use the King James Version of the Bible, the meaning of some of the words gets lost in the Shakespearean English. Obviously I should be an "expert" at interpreting the KJV by now, but apparently I am not. Brian pointed out that the word "believeth" is in the present tense. That's when it dawned on me, when a Christian begins to doubt his or her salvation, all a counselor need do is ask him or her one question: "Do you believe in Jesus?" Not "Did you ever believe in Jesus, but do you believe in Him right now?" You see, it really doesn't matter when you began believing in Him, what you did in response to the first time you believed, or what you have done since. The only question that matters is, "Do you believe in Him at this very moment?"
I looked up the word in the Greek Lexicon and this is what I found. The Greek word is πιστεύω (pisteuō), and it is a verb participle, present active nominative case, and it is a masculine singular word. The definition is "to be persuaded of the conviction and trust to which a man is impelled by a certain inner and higher prerogative and law of soul." In other words, to be convinced beyond a doubt that something is true, that is, have total faith in the reality of something.
We are told in Hebrews 11:1 that "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The writer is saying that our faith is evidence, that faith is proof. It is as much proof as fingerprints at the scene of a crime, or being able to witness something with our own eyes. True faith is that real.
How do Christians acquire such a powerful, "willing to give one's life for it" faith? Obviously it does not come from reasoning as the Greeks believed, or by miraculous signs required by the Jews (1 Cor. 1:22). Jesus provide signs and the Jews crucified Him. Paul reasoned with the Gentiles and they stoned him. No, this kind of faith is obtained supernaturally. In fact, it is a gift from God Himself! In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul wrote: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." He is clearly teaching that saving faith is not something our minds can produce. No, "it is the gift of God."
So, if you wonder whether or not you are saved, ask yourself, "Do I believe (trust, rely upon) Jesus?" If not, ask Him to give you the faith needed to surrender your life to His Lordship. Don't put it off, for time is short.