How do you know if you really believe something is true? Is it because you say you believe it? Or is it because you are gripped with its reality to the point that it changes your behavior?
I’ll never forget our guide at the Temple of Heaven in China several years ago. She spoke some English, and I carefully explained the Gospel to her. She listened intently as I spoke of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and then described His free offer of salvation. I was surprised by her question as I finished: “Do you really believe that?”
To her, the Gospel was incredible—unbelievable. To have an educated American explaining what seemed like a make-believe story intrigued and perplexed her.
This dear lady did not trust Christ that afternoon, but I’ve thought of her question a thousand times since: “Do you really believe that?” With nearly seven billion people in the world—over half of whom have never once heard the Gospel—I’m not sure we are in a good position to answer her question.
If beliefs determine behavior, how would our behavior change if we really did believe that everyone who trusts Christ will spend eternity in Heaven and everyone who doesn’t will spend eternity in Hell? What would we do differently if we were gripped with the reality of eternal souls and Christ’s offer of salvation?