John chapter 3 is a gospel saturated chapter in which many gospel sermons have been preached. In looking at the last verse of this chapter there is a truth that will help us to understand what it means for a man to believe (πιστεύω). The verse states: "Whoever continually believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever continually disobeys the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him." (My translation) In my translation I am simply trying to highlight the ongoing nature of belief and of disobedience. Belief and disobey are both present active participles in the Greek text. If a man states that he believes upon the Lord Jesus, but continues in disobedience he will not (in the future) see life. Not only will his future state be robbed of life, but his present state will be met with the abiding wrath of God.
Translations vary on the phase, "but whoever 'disobeys' the Son." Some translations use the word obey (ESV, NASB, NLT). Some translations us the word reject (NET, NIV, GWN). Some translations use the word believe and negate it by saying whoever does not believe (KJV, NKJV, YLT). The Greek word in the text is απειθέω. How is this word translated in other text? "For just as your were at one time disobedient to God" (Rom. 11:30). "But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth" (Rom. 2:8). "What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17). "They stumble because they disobey the Word" (1 Pet. 2:8). "By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient" (Heb. 11:31) "And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient?" (Heb. 3:18). "Because they formerly did not obey" (1 Pet. 3:20).
The gospel is the good news about the Lord Jesus Christ. He is Lord and He is sovereign over all of His creation. Those who claim to believe Him will be known to the world as such, because they obey Him. It is as if a father walks into a room filled with 50 young boys and he cries out, "Son come here!" One of the boys turns his head and sees his father and he runs to his father. Everyone in the room knows that he is the son. It is this way with true believers. They know the Master's voice and they obey when He speaks.
Belief in the Lord Jesus Christ that does not grow into obedience unto the Lord Jesus Christ is no better than demons who believe - - and shudder! (James 2:19). Oh, that our believing will be seen in our obeying.