John 3 (ESV)
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life . . . Continue Reading
John 3 is so packed with amazing truth and profound revelation it’s hard not to write about the entire chapter!
One thing that jumped out at me this morning in a new way is the ending of the chapter where John says in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
The word “believes” in reference to us having “eternal life” is put into context and understood more clearly by his explanation of what real belief is by contrasting it with what non-belief is: “whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
We clearly see that the kind of belief that gives us eternal life and removes the wrath of God from us is a belief that produces obedience to Christ. This does not mean instant, sinless perfection at the moment we (truly) believe, but a commitment to following Jesus and walk in obedience to Him as our Lord.
This doesn’t mean that our obedience saves us but the kind of belief that gives us eternal life will produce fruits of righteousness, fruit of the Spirt and a desire to obey the teachings of Christ (no matter how flawed we are or how many mistakes we make). While it’s a life-long process, belief without obedience or a change in direction (repentance) does not remove the wrath of God from us.
James 2:18-20 says, But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
May God give us eyes to see and ears to hear what true, saving belief in Christ is (and what it is not).