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.
John 3:36 (KJV)
Believeth – What does it mean to believe? Greek theology would have you interpret belief as an internal state of cognition. As long as your neurons transmit the correct signals of belief that Yeshua is the Son of God, then all is well. You will receive everlasting life. And thus we have the doctrine of the separation between faith and works – a Greek theological doctrine. But to the Hebrew, there is no separation. Faith without works is dead.
The Greek word here is pisteuō which is trusting through obedient action. We are to trust what Yeshua says and does, and in turn, commit our lives in obedience to Him. To work in obedience is faith.
“… it is an act with the character of obedience … it means a renunciation of one’s own power or self-achieved righteousness.”
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, p.857
Abraham’s faith was counted to him for righteousness according to Genesis 15:6. Was it just because Abraham believed in his heart that there was a God? Not quite. In Genesis 26:5 we read that it was because Abraham obeyed God’s voice by keeping the commandments, statutes and laws. Abraham’s faith was action, and that action was committing himself in obedience to the commandments, statutes, and laws of the Creator.
Whether or not we have the correct belief has become too much of a concern, so much so that Christianity has over 41,000 recorded denominations. Can you believe that?! Almost every Christian church displays their dogma with each line beginning as “We believe it to be so…” It’s not about what we believe in, but rather about who we believe in and our obedience to Him. The “what” we believe has clearly been defined in Torah and it requires action, just like Abraham.
So it is he who trusts by obedient action to the Son that hath everlasting life. But let’s be clear, it’s not by those actions that we obtain salvation. Salvation is given by the grace of Yeshua, and by His blood are we made righteous. That part has already been completed, but our walk is a life long commitment of obedience. Our walk is the proof that we believe in what Yeshua already accomplished. Do we believe what He did? Do we love Him? If so, then are we keeping His commandments?