I had a random evangelizing moment with a Protestant in Starbucks. He’s a very devote Christian, so I was just listening to his background as a first time talking. What he said is true: If we believes in God, we have everlasting life.
I didn’t want to dive into it as a first time talking, but it got me wondering on what it means to believe. That’s a verb, an action. It’s not passive, like “Yeah, I believe, but…” Belief, to me, means to believe in all that God teaches, to believe the mission Christ gave to the church, and to be a part in that mission - to believe and to live it out loud.
It just dawned on me that John 3:16 has much more weight than people realize.
What does John’s term “believe” mean to you? And what does the Greek translation of the word mean?
So I did a little search (I love words!) and this is the original greek for “Believes in him”: πιστεύων εἰς Αὐτὸν
**πιστεύω = pisteúō **(from pístis, “faith,” derived from peíthō, “persuade, be persuaded”) – believe (affirm, have confidence); used of persuading oneself (= human believing) and with the sacred significance of being persuaded by the Lord (= faith-believing). Only the context indicates whether pisteúō (“believe”) is self-serving (without sacred meaning), or the believing that leads to/proceeds from God’s inbirthing of faith.
Αὐτὸν = Auton (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.) (3) the same
more interesting, though, is the second word:
εἰς = eis (a preposition) – properly, into (unto) – literally, “motion into which” implying penetration (“unto,” “union”) to a particular purpose or result.
That’s kind of mind blowing to me! Have we been persuaded by Jesus to the point of unifying ourselves with him? Are we completely receptive to him penetrating our lives?
You’re right, it’s not enough to just believe that God exists. The devil believes that God exists. We must do what Jesus did, Go out of ourselves, into the lives of others, love them, bring God to them, and then bring them back to God. That’s hard, and it kind of scares me…