Do you believe in Jesus? How do you know you believe? The Gospel of John has a clear answer.
John 3:16 is an often quoted verse in the Bible. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16; NASB). How do we have eternal life? The answer is believing in Jesus as the Son of God for the salvation of our soul. But, what does it mean to “believe?” The Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines believe as “to expect or hope with confidence; to trust.” Webster defines trust as “Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.” To believe in Jesus is to put our complete trust in his Way, his Truth, and his Life (John 14:6). When we rely totally on him as the way to Truth, we find life.
By aligning our thinking, feeling, and actions with the teachings of Jesus, we can rest assured we believe in Him. Obeying is the way to believing as John chapter 3 is summed up in the last verse, “The one who believes in the Son has everlasting life. And the one who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36; RSV). This also tells us when we’re NOT believing. If we are not obeying Jesus, we are not believing, and therefore, will NOT have eternal life.
Even the Old Testament links the idea of showing one’s devotion to God by submission to his ways. Prior to Jesus’ arrival on earth (as the ultimate sacrifice), the Jews following God’s commands, used animal sacrifice for remission of sin. The Bible also says, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22). The purest tangible offering to God, is not as valuable as the intangible devotion of heart. Our affections, motivations, and attitudes toward his ways, reflect what God really means to us. We esteem God by showing our submission to His divine order for all things.
Believing is Jesus shows our gratitude for what He accomplished as the Savior from our sin and shame condition. Not all people believe, and therefore, not all will have eternal life. The reason why is also mentioned by Jesus, “ … men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God” (John 3:19b-21, NASB).
Aligning our hearts with the Truth is a process. We are all born with a broken (unbelieving) heart. Only Jesus can put our hearts together to become whole (believing) persons. We are born into darkness, but believing in Jesus brings us into the Light. “He who practices the truth, comes into the Light.” Being “born again” (described at the beginning of John 3) starts the process. As we “practice” our believing, more and more of the dark, broken pieces of our hearts come into the Light. As we obey more, we trust more, and our belief becomes stronger.
The daily, sometimes moment to moment decision to obey Jesus, is the only path to believing. Whether we were born again yesterday or many years ago, believing is obeying, and obeying is believing. And if you’re not born again? Why not start believing right now.by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry