Theology is not meant to fill our heads but to better our lives.
Theologians tell us that when a person trusts in Jesus Christ a great transition takes place in his or her life. That person is literally connected to Jesus Christ and, as such, his history becomes that person’s history. Christ died; that person died. Christ rose from the dead; that person received a new kind of life. This is why Bonhoeffer said that “It’s more important that Jesus Christ died than that I will die…” Of course, it is more important: His story is our story.
Not only that, but Christ’s future becomes that person’s future. Faith in Jesus is momentous. It is life-changing, universe altering. But now what? What does it mean on main street? In my life? What difference does it make?
Many people believe there is a God. They believe Jesus died for sins and was resurrected. That is good. But there are two parts to faith: content and connection, and both are important. The content is what makes the connection possible.
Think of it this way: You may be convinced that a particular candidate for office is the right person for the job. You have researched their voting record and read their goals for America and have come to believe that they should be our next president / senator / congressman / state supreme court justice – whatever may be the case. That kind of thing is the content of belief. The connection comes when you enter the voting booth and pull the lever.
One year at the mid-term elections I was up early and had to go out of town. I don’t remember where I went, but I didn’t have time to vote before I left. When I got home it was one thing after another, ending in a meeting that lasted until after the polls closed. I kept thinking that, after the next thing was done, I would have time to drive down to the township hall and cast my vote, but I never did. I had some beliefs about how to vote, but I never pulled the lever. I never connected.
When it comes to spiritual things, a person can have the content of belief down pat – Jesus is God’s Son who died for sins, was resurrected, and is one day returning – without having made the connection of belief. They haven’t stepped into the booth and pulled the lever.
When it comes to Christ, content is what we believe about Jesus – and that is fundamentally important; it is hard to overemphasize that. But the connection happens when we go from believing about Jesus to believing in him. We not only trust, we entrust ourselves to him. That’s when we pull the lever; that’s when we connect.
If that second part of faith has not happened for you, if you have not believed Jesus, turned from your sins, and entrusted yourself to him as your leader (the biblical word is Lord), then why not do that today? Right now. The Great Transition can happen in your life here and now and see you through there are forever.