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 not – Do you think it mattered if Noah actually believed God was going to open the depths of earth and the skies above to bring a flood? Do you think it mattered if Joshua believed God would mysteriously destroy Jericho after blowing trumpets and shouting at it? The answer is “no”. All that mattered was for them to perform what God instructed. Their job was to listen and obey. They were not asked to take counsel with God on whether or not this approach would work, or how exactly the waters might flood the earth – they were given a command and expected to follow through.
Can you imagine if they disobeyed? This is where the word apeitheō comes in. It means “to be disobedient” and is used significantly in the Septuagint for disobedience to God. With this definition, I’m sure we would agree that Noah would not have survived the flood if he disobeyed God, and Joshua would have been severely punished. But thank God these men listened and obeyed.
Now let’s look at John 3:36. Those who obey not the Son shall… what? Well for starters, they won’t see life! And secondly, they’ll incur God’s punishment. We’re starting to understand this verse from a Hebrew perspective. There’s actually much more here than we initially read, and once we get past the Greek systematic theology, we find something startling. God cares about what we do. Our actions speak louder than our thoughts. We can believe all we want about the Son, even the devils believe, but if our lives don’t reveal complete obedience to Him, then our reward is going to be quite different from what we expect.
Surely, after reading this verse, we’d all shout, “I believe in the Son!”, but now that we know what the more accurate translation is, how many of us could truly say, “I’m obedient to the Son”? Are you measuring your life according to Torah, God’s measuring stick? Are you obedient to Yeshua who is Torah in the flesh?