Believe With All Your Heart
Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. (Acts 8:36-38)
Philip preached Jesus to the man in the chariot, and the man was ready to respond to the good news of who Jesus is and what He did for us. The Spirit of God was at work through the word of God, and it was wonderful. As Philip explained the good news, he probably did as Peter did at Pentecost, giving those who heard an opportunity to respond in faith and be baptized (Acts 2:38).
So, the Ethiopian asked a question: See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized? This shows that the Ethiopian did in fact believe, and that he wanted to be baptized to declare his belief. He saw the truth of God and knew that it was for him.
However, Philip insisted that the Ethiopian believe with all his heart before being baptized. In brief and simple words, this describes how we should respond to the gospel: believe with all your heart.
If we only believe with our head and not our heart, it isn’t enough. We may intellectually know that Jesus died for the sins of the world, but do we know in our heart that He died to cleanse our sins?
The man in the chariot did believe. He said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This confession of faith, taken in all that it means, is the essential belief for anyone who will come to God. We must believe in the person of Jesus, in all that He is and has done as Christ. We must believe that He is the Divine Son, and that He is the Son of God sent from the Father to accomplish the salvation of all those who will believe with all their hearts.
When the Ethiopian said “Jesus Christ,” he confessed that Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ). He agreed with his mind and heart that Jesus is the sin-bearing servant that Isaiah described and Jesus fulfilled.
One might ask: How could the man in the chariot know that he really believed with all his heart? The answer isn’t found in measuring percentages of commitment, but in simply trusting and surrendering to Jesus all one is aware of. More areas of trust will become apparent over time; and then we can believe Jesus as we see them.
Have you believed with all your heart? If so, have you received water baptism? Both are important. Each of us should follow the good example of the Ethiopian in Acts 8.
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