Empowering young Australians to be a clear Christian voice
So at first glance this saying sounds good. Your actions show louder than anything else that you are a good person. After all, “put your money where your mouth is”, right? But let’s look at this a bit deeper.
When “beliefs” are talked about it is usually religious beliefs that are being referred to. So this poster is reallysaying that believing in Jesus (or Buddha, or Allah, or another deity or philosophy) doesn’t make you a better person. We’ll look specifically at the example of believing in Jesus and the God that Christians worship.
On one level, it is true that believing in Jesus doesn’t make you a better person. James tells us that even the demons believe that there is one God, and shudder (James 2:19).
But if we truly believe in Jesus and believe what he said about himself, then we willchange the way we behave. I’m not talking about just believing in Jesus’ existence, or the existence of God. I’m talking about believing that Jesus was the Son of God who took the punishment of death for our sins so that we could come into God’s holy presence and have a relationship with him for eternity.
You shouldactually be made a better person from holding to these Christian beliefs!
Believing that Jesus was who he said he was and following him as the only source of life, means that we have to obey his commands. Jesus said that anyone who loved him would obey him (John 14:24). Paul says in writing to the Christians in Rome, “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.” (Romans 2:13).
As a Christian your beliefs and behaviour go together; the behaviour stems from the beliefs. Indeed, if you don’t behave in a way consistent with your beliefs, the Bible says that your faith, your belief, is dead (James 2:14-25). It is important to have strong and true beliefs because they influence how we behave. For example, Christians believe that every person has been created in the image of God. This influences them to love others, defend the unborn, care for the sick and lonely; all behaviours stemming from this belief!
This quote is almost saying that since your beliefs don’t make you a better person, it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are. But this is a dangerous trap to fall into. The Bible talks about the importance of having the correct beliefs and holding to sound doctrine and teaching. Paul, in writing to Timothy, tells him to “watch your life and doctrine closely” (1 Timothy 4:16).
So your beliefs can make you a better person, as long as they are the right ones that cause you to behave in a way that makes you a better person, more like Christ.
Christians across denominations often recite statements of belief called creeds to affirm and remind them of what they believe. Here is the Nicene creed and the Apostle’s creed. You can find a good list of the core beliefs of a Christian here.