Belief and Obedience

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36).

There are a couple of things going on with this verse that I would like to start with:

  1. The verse starts with the phrase, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life”. You would think that belief would be paired with disbelieve. But that’s not what we have in the text. Instead of reading, “Whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life,” the text says, “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life.”
  2. If you are reading the verse of the day in the NIV you will notice that the NIV translates this verse differently. The NIV translates, “disobeys” with “rejects”, but this is an incorrect translation by the NIV. The Greek clearly says “disobey.”

God assumes that believing leads to obeying.

In fact, as far as God is concerned, disobeying is the same thing as not believing. If we believe, we obey. There is no believing without obeying.

The Greek word for belief is pisteuo. The word certainly means believe, but it also means to trust, to have faith in, to entrust. As far as the Bible is concerned, if one believes, one trusts, has faith in, entrusts, and obeys. So much so, to disobey is to disbelieve.

This is a poor analogy but it gets the point across. If you pisteuo – believe that you have the winning lotto numbers then you go out and purchase a lotto ticket with the winning numbers. The possibility that you would have the winning lotto numbers but not purchasing a lotto ticket with those numbers is preposterous.

Exactly. That’s exactly what God is saying about believing and obeying.

A. W. Tozer wrote, “The driver on the highway is safe not when he reads the signs, but when he obeys them.”

It’s the same with us.

There is no believing without obeying.

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