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Written by Mike Montgomery   

Here are some thoughts that I have on the distinction between belief in God and belief in Jesus.

When a child of God is born again, knowledge of God as their father is given. A hope in Christ is given and since faith is the substance of things hoped for, even faith in Christ begins right then and there. To me, this is a "heart-knowledge" that is distinct from a "head-knowledge" of Christ. All of God's born again children have this "heart-knowledge" of Christ but many do not have this "head-knowledge." Furthermore, several born again believers have lost their "head-knowledge" even though they will always retain their "heart-knowledge."

Based on the teachings and implications of John 14:1, I think it is obvious that the Lord knew His disciples had this heart-knowledge but He is commanding them to accept mentally the truth that He is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God. In that He declares Himself to be the Son of God, He is actually declaring Himself to be God and this is what He is demanding His disciples to accept mentally.

The man who said, "Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief," is in so many words admitting that in his heart, he believes that Jesus is God, but his mind is full of Jewishness (and all that that entails) and it was hard for him to accept mentally that Jesus was indeed God and therefore capable of healing his child.

So a distinction should be made between heart-belief and head-belief, as I'll term them now. The former is given and the latter is earned.

One last example and I'll close. The young rich ruler believed in his heart that Jesus was God but intellectually he had some bad information or had come to bad conclusions based on faulty premises. His faith in Christ was evident on the one hand by his coming to the Lord for answers to the longing that was in his heart, but on the other hand, his faith was weak and he went away sorrowfully. James said that faith without works is dead being alone. This man's faith (and yes he did have faith; he was indeed a child of God) was dead. It did not profit him in that he did not mix with faith the things he heard from the lips of Our Lord.

The gospel reveals what is already there in the heart of the born again child of God, that is indeed the case. But we can deny the Lord gospelly, we can disbelieve, and certainly this is the thing the Apostle Paul warned the Hebrews of in the Epistle to the Hebrews.

Just some thoughts to consider, for whatever they are worth.

Mike Montgomery

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The Primitive or Old School Baptists cling to the doctrines and practices held by Baptist Churches throughout America at the close of the Revolutionary War. This site is dedicated to providing access to our rich heritage, with both historic and contemporary writings.