As a younger follower of Jesus, I had some beliefs that were passed on to me through my family, my church, and even my friends. These five blogs are about those false beliefs and my discovery of the liberating truth of God’s Word.
False beliefs are principles, thoughts, and teachings that we hold to be true, but they are actually false. The nature of false beliefs is that they are held to be true. I was aware of some of the changes that occurred in my belief system over time, but I was not aware of the false beliefs that still held a grip on my mind. My introduction to this concept came from a book by Dr. Chris Thurman, “The Lies We Believe.” Here are a few of the “false beliefs” he mentions in his book, and I have added a few of my own.
1. My relationship with God is dependent on how I perform.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 (ESV)
I used to believe that if I was having my quiet time, reading my Bible, doing the right spiritual things, God would be pleased with me, and He would bless me. What I came to realize is that my relationship with God is 100% dependent on the finished work of Christ at the cross. It has nothing to do with how I perform. God has accepted the perfect work of Christ, His perfect obedience, on my behalf. I am now free to serve Him out of a grateful and loving heart and not because I am trying to earn His favor. This one truth has revolutionized my walk with God.
2. God’s favor must be earned.
But when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:4-7 (ESV)
This false belief carries over from the first one. I used to believe that God’s favor had to be earned. Yes, I thought my obedience earned God’s favor. Now I know you will struggle with this for a moment but please realize that God’s favor has already been earned by Jesus Christ. Grace is God’s unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor. Christ’s perfect obedience in everything proved His divine sonship. It put His deity on display. Jesus fully pleased the Father in everything He did and that work of righteous obedience is what God required. All God’s requirements have been met in the person and work of Jesus Christ. When I placed faith in Jesus Christ, His righteous obedience (righteousness) was transferred to my account and my sin was transferred to His account. God’s favor is upon me because of what Jesus Christ did at the cross.
Pastor, perhaps you are having your own struggles with false beliefs. You are not alone. Reach out to us here at Care for Pastors.