Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 3 Study # 4
June 15, 2004
Lincolnton, N.C.

<036> Thesis: The issue of "believing" the Gospel is confused by moving too quickly from its statements to our conclusions. Introduction: In our last study, we considered Paul's reference to "shame" in relation to the proclamation of the Gospel.  We saw that one of the reasons for "shame" is the false movement from power to expectation instead of promise to expectation.  People are often "ashamed" to proclaim the Gospel because they are afraid that their expectations will not be fulfilled.  We also considered the fact that what is often called "shame" is not a lack of confidence in the Gospel at all; rather, it is a lack of confidence in our preparation to proclaim it so that we can "answer the questions" that arise.  This is not being ashamed of the Gospel; this is being ashamed of my ignorance.  At any rate, Paul says that the Gospel is God's power unto salvation to those who believe...whether they are Jew or Gentile. Now, that raises a huge question:  What does Paul mean by "believing"?  He clearly declares that God's power moves into action to deliver everyone who "believes" the Gospel.  Thus, since the issue of whether God will act to save is supported by the power of omnipotence and Paul's "unashamed" declaration, there is only one question before men:  do you "believe" the Gospel?  This raises the issue of what is meant by "believing".  We have all heard an attempt to clarify this that uses the terminology: "not a head belief, but a heart belief".  This is usually followed by something like "not mere mental assent, but genuine confidence in the heart".  I find, though, that this just introduces more words, not clarity.  What, after all, is "genuine confidence in the heart"?  What is "heart belief"?  So, this evening, I am going to introduce even more words with some hope that they will communicate some clarity rather than just filling up our time.