What does it mean to believe?

 Hell, it would seem, has fallen on rather lean times. It used to be that the vast majority of Christians, regardless of denominational affiliation, believed that Hell was a real place where the wicked go when they die. The very thought of the pains and torments of Hell was … More

Believe

No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there (v. 13). Sin caused God to punish the Israelites with fiery serpents that bit the people so that many died (Num. 21:4-9). God provided a remedy by commanding Moses to make a brass serpent, so that when any stricken person looked to this serpent, he would be healed. Likewise, our salvation happens when we look up to Jesus, believing He will save us. God has provided this way for us to be healed of sin’s deadly bite. (vv. 14-15). If we don’t know Christ, we make choices as though this life is all that we have, when in reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity. To believe in Christ is more that intellectual agreement that Jesus is God (v. 16). It means to put our trust and confidence in Him that He alone can save us. It is to put Christ in charge of our present plans and eternal destiny. Believing is both trusting in His words as reliable, and relying on Him for the power to change.

God did not send His Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent Him to save them (v. 17)! No one who has faith in God’s Son will be condemned. But everyone who doesn’t have faith in Him has already been condemned for not having faith in God’s only Son (v. 18). Sinful men love darkness rather than light because the closer they get to the light the more their sins are exposed (vv. 19-21). Just as natural light shows up what is otherwise unseen, so Christ, the Light, exposes people’s evil deeds. It is not the intellectual problems but spiritual blindness that keeps people from Christ.

Application

I am so thankful that God has revealed himself to me so that I might believe and be saved.

John 3:13-24 (English Standard Version)

"No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (for John had not yet been put in prison).

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