There is a common statement made regularly around the world that I’ve begun to find rather puzzling as I’ve grown more experienced and wise (despite that quality being lacking in me!). I know that even I said it as a younger version of myself, and remember it being something that was frequently said by both adults and other people my age at the time. It goes something like, “I’m not ready to believe in Jesus.”
I find this particular statement to be bizarre. It’s a very confused way of saying something without saying it. It’s a sort of inverted recognition of a fact, but simultaneously denying some other thing that is not explicitly stated. People would never say, “I’m not ready to believe in gravity,” so that they may hang on to some fanciful, whimsical desire to continue to fly, which they’ve obviously never been able to do in the first place.
So, what does it imply? If you know Jesus is real and true, but you choose, willfully, not to believe in Him, what are you doing instead? It can’t be called “living in ignorance” because to know something but not assent is not ignorance but denial. It is a denial of a claim, but in this case not one of validity, truthfulness, or reality. So what’s being denied by the sentiment?
The Denial: Jesus is Lord.
If you know He’s real, true, worthy of belief, but you’re unprepared to place your belief in Him, why would you choose denial given the first three points of knowledge? Because He requires Lordship. We all, whether trained in Biblical texts or not, somehow intrinsically recognize this as factual. There is a claim on you, and a submission from you when you follow Christ. But denying something you know is true is just not coherent and the definition of denial. Alas, many of our articles and videos circle this exact same dissonance.
Scripture says about Jesus in Matthew 28:18 (NASB), “…All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me…” When you say, “I’m not ready to accept Him.” What do you mean? What does your acceptance of a fact do to the reality itself? At what age did you finally accept the governance of gravity? When did you consign your will over to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics? You have never not been subject to those rules.
When we state, “Jesus is Lord,” it’s a statement of fact that is a binding Truth in this world regardless of one’s consent. Your consent is not a validator of any fact, nor an actualizing agent causing a thing to be true, but is merely and completely an optional gift freely given to us all. Our ability to accept a fact and for it to have any power at all is solely a gift offered for our sakes, who don’t deserve it, though the grace of God.
Imagine declaring you finally believe in gravity and bragging to your friends how incredible it is and how smart you are. How wonderful your mind is having finally consented to the fact of its existence. What an insane brag that would be. “Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth” is a declaration of a fact, and the fact that God has allowed that simple assertion to be of any effect to us at all is obviously a gracious mercy so powerful it’s incomprehensible. Just like boasting that you believe in gravity would be insane, so would be boasting that you believe in Christ.
Which other “matter of fact” can you simply say, “I believe it,” and it accomplishes anything for you? All that believing gravity is true might do to you is remove the cloud looming in front of your mind and eyes. You could finally see clearly the rest of life, and things that happen would make more sense. The revelation of Christ is the same, but has been granted a greater power behind the mere “removal of cloudiness”. Not only will the acceptance of Him remove all confusion and give clarity, but it is the effectual method of the redemption of your soul, as the chosen “law” of redemption by God.
In the same way your consent to gravity has no bearing on its “truthfulness”, neither does your acceptance of Christ have on His. It is for your sake that you are allowed to see the world through the lens of His redemption, and for your soul and His glory that He saves you. “Jesus is Lord” is a fact. You are subject to it, same as you are to gravity. He is Lord. Clear the clouds before your eyes. See clearly for the first time. Feel clearly for the first time. Be free for the first time.
Shed the belief that you have the power over the facts of the world. The world IS, and you are bound to it. Acknowledge this fact and be free from the delusions of the world for the first time.
Declare it with me: Jesus is Lord.
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen, not only because I see it but because by it, I see everything else.
– CS Lewis