Why Not Just Say 'Believe?'

That's the question John Piper asks in the second chapter, "Conversion," in his foundational book, Desiring God. Piper argues that simply saying, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved," is somewhat empty. Not that the verse itself is empty of power and authority, but rather people's understanding of what it means to "Believe" is deficient. The "believe" that the Scripture speaks of is a belief or trust in Jesus Christ as Savior, Lord, and Treasure of your life--finding all of your joy, hope, and satisfaction in Him because of who He is and what He has done and from that flows a radically changed life that obeys the Lord out of joy and not duty.

Piper explains why just saying "Believe" is not enough:

"First we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus. Drunks on the street say they believe. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they believe. Elderly people who haven't sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they believe. All kinds of lukewarm, world-loving church attenders say they believe. The world abounds with millions of unconverted people who say they believe in Jesus.

It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus. The phrase is empty. My responsibility as a preacher of the gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth.

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