Belief is central to the Christian faith. Christianity teaches individuals can only be saved by repenting and believing. The act of believing itself is a gift from God showing us no works we do can save. These are truths found in scripture and as is often the case, such truths are twisted and misunderstood. Many individuals today believe in belief they place their faith in faith. Yet the Christian faith is directed at someone specific—the Triune God of Scripture. He saves through our faith in him. True belief must be directed at the proper object—Jesus Christ as the revelation of the Triune God.
The importance of this distinction hit me like a three-hundred pound defensive linemen when reading a recent study which says 80 percent of Americans say they believe in God. Now we may read that and take heart. Yet this study really is a sign of the confusion of our age. If 80 percent of Americans truly believed in the God of Scripture, then would this country would look very different. Eighty percent of Americans may believe in a god, but this is not the God found in Scripture and revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
The question becomes, “What god do Americans believe in?” The answer is as diverse as our country, yet most people believe in a god which reflects what the person desires most. You want to be affirmed in your choices? You probably believe in an affirming god. You want a god who will help you feel better about life? Then you probably worship a god who resembles a therapist. While we may scoff at ancient peoples who chiseled their gods out of wood and stone, we do the exact same thing thing in our minds--we fashion a view of god which suits us best. No god constructed by our desires is actually god, for we are creating him. Our modern idols look every bit as silly as the ones of ancient times.
As Christians, we must remember that belief in some god is not enough. In fact, belief in any god who is not the true God revealed to us in Scripture is damnable. The God who is there, the one who exists, has revealed himself both in his Word and through the life of Jesus Christ. He has told who he is and what his character is. He is chiefly revealed in the person of Jesus Christ—the God-man who became one of us to die for us. This is the God Christians place faith in. It is he and he alone who saves. Belief in any other god is as empty as the Vikings’ Super Bowl case.