Is Believing On Jesus The Same As Obeying Him?
By Dan Corner
Because of various doctrines of demons, many think they can believe on Jesus without obeying him. This, however, is not the message of the Bible, but a dangerous misunderstanding and deadly spiritual snare. Please note the following passage cited from two different reputable translations:
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath (John 3:36, NRSV). He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (John 3:36, NASB).
The King James Version renders this same verse as:
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.
The Greek word translated as believeth not in that verse is apeitheo and it means: not believe, disobedient, obey not, unbelieving. This alone makes the crucial point loud and clear about disobedience being a manifestation of unbelief.
Remember also that there are only two types of people which are sometimes referred to as the saved or the unsaved, the sheep or the goats, etc. But in the aforementioned passage, these two types of people are either mentioned as those who believe on the Son or those who disobey the Son.
In other words, again it becomes apparent that unbelief in Jesus is synonymous with disobedience to him, while believing in Jesus equals obeying him. That is a vital truth we all need to remember because it helps us understand the Biblical meaning of the only kind of belief in Jesus that brings salvation. But the same truth is also shown in the following passage:
And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who were disobedient? And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief (Heb. 3:18, 19, NASB).
Notice again how disobedience is equated to unbelief. Hence, we see again the meaning of unbelief and an important insight about disobedience. In other words, disobedience is a manifestation of unbelief. A careful comparison of two other salvation passages will also make this same point:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Do you believe this? (John 11:25,26) I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. (John 8:51)
Jesus taught what one must do to never die spiritually. In Jn. 11:25,26 he taught it takes a continuous tense belief in Jesus. In Jn. 8:51 the Lord taught it will take keeping his word. In other words, one is not really believing on Jesus unless he is keeping his words. Please remember that.
Can it then be stated that many who at one time truly believed on Jesus are now in unbelief as is made evident by their disobedience? The answer is a resounding yes. Jesus taught:
They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. (Luke 8:13) Jesus taught a true believer could turn into an unbeliever and consequently die spiritually. This is especially important in a day when so many have been deceived by the security-in-sin gospel commonly called eternal security or the perseverance of the saints.
In other words, a true Christian can afterwards lose his salvation, as has happened numerous times, according to the Bible. To enter God’s paradise kingdom after death, a person who was previously born again must endure persecution for being a Christian, bring forth good fruit, etc. In brief we could say he must continue to believe on Jesus, which will manifest in simple faithful obedience.
Remember also all the following relevant salvation Scriptures:
He [Jesus] became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him (Heb 5:9) Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:29) We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3,4) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Eph 5:5-7) ... the church submits to Christ .... (Eph 5:24) Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. (Gal 5:24)
Much more related information can be found in our 801 page volume entitled, The Believer’s Conditional Security. This is the most exhaustive refutation to the teaching of eternal security that has ever been written. To order this book go to EOMin.Org
- Unbelief in Jesus is synonymous with disobedience to him, while believing in Jesus equals obeying him.
- Jesus taught a true believer could turn into an unbeliever and consequently die spiritually.
- One is not really believing on Jesus unless he is keeping his words.