Another fantastic excerpt from John Piper's Desiring God I just had to share. (It was good enough for JB to dog ear it! He never does this!)
Someone may ask, ‘If your aim is conversion [of souls], why don’t you just use the straightforward, biblical command ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:31)? Why bring in this new terminology of Christian Hedonism?’
My answer has two parts. First, we are surrounded by unconverted people who think they do believe in Jesus. Drunks on the street say they believe. Unmarried couples sleeping together say they believe. Elderly people who haven’t sought worship or fellowship for forty years say they believe. All kinds of lukewarm, world-loving church attenders say they believe. The world abounds with millions of unconverted people who say they believe in Jesus.
It does no good to tell these people to believe in the Lord Jesus. The phrase is empty. My responsibility as a preacher of the Gospel and a teacher in the church is not to preserve and repeat cherished biblical sentences, but to pierce the heart with biblical truth. In my neighborhood, every drunk on the street ‘believes’ in Jesus. Drug dealers ‘believe’ in Jesus. Panhandlers who haven’t been to church in forty years ‘believe’ in Jesus. So I use different words to unpack what believe means. In recent years I have asked, ‘Do you receive Jesus as your Treasure?’ Not just Savior (everybody wants out of hell, but not to be with Jesus). not just Lord (they might submit begrudgingly). The key is: Do you treasure Him more than everything? Converts to Christian Hedonism say with Paul, ‘I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Philippians 3:8).