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Called to Believe or Obey?

by randy on December 17th, 2008

This is a cool verse.  I just noticed it today:

John 3:36 (ESV) 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.

John 3:36 (NASB) He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

John 3:36 (KJV) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

In the KJV the second clause of this verse translates, “that believeth not” where as ESV and NASB translates “does not obey”.  But if you check out this verse in the greek the two mentions of “believe” are different Greek words.  The second is actually translated “disobedience” and “obey not” in other areas of scripture.  This English phrase “believeth not” is actually a greek word that coincides with obedience.

The verse is best translated (ESV/NASB) “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.”

From → Random Musings

3 Comments
  1. Shon permalink

    please tell me you’re not implying this verse means that in order to receive salvation we are to follow the commandments of Jesus (OBEY) in order to receive eternal life?

    please tell me … what you mean is …. we are saved by FAITH ALONE IN CHRIST ALONE …. but this faith … which happens in the heart (ROM 10:9-10) and saves … in this context is obeying the Lord Jesus?

  2. No. It says what it says.

    The bible is very clear that the intellectual acknowledgment of Christ as a historic person is not true biblical faith. James says faith without works is dead. Not that we are saved by works, but that works are the result of true saving faith.

    True biblical faith is putting your trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. If He is your Lord, you obey. If He is not your Lord you will not obey and consequently He is not your Savior either. See 1 Cor 6:9; Gal 5:16-21, etc..

    Galations 5:16 But I say,(AD) walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify(AE) the desires of the flesh. 17For(AF) the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other,(AG) to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are(AH) led by the Spirit,(AI) you are not under the law. 19Now(AJ) the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions,(AK) divisions, 21envy,[d] drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that(AL) those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (ESV)

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