By Oscar M. Baker
"Whosoever believeth in Him ... not perish, but have everlasting life." Note the alternatives. They are perish ... everlasting life.
"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). Again there are alternatives.
Here we have the same message, but in different words. Perish and never see life seem to be the same thing. And not to see life simply means to stay dead forever. We have a parallel in the O.T., in Prov. 21:16 which reads, "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation (church) of the dead." This means that they will never be resurrected and see life. They stay dead forever.
In Isaiah 26:13, 14 we have a similar statement. Those who had lorded it over Israel in their captivities, during Judges especially, are dead, they shall not live; deceased and so do not rise. It is a weak argument to say that these are some special breed of hybrids, for these lords include Moabites and Midianites, children of Lot and Abraham. These are never referred to as false seed. The question we have to face fundamentally is that of life and death. These are the alternatives. You have a choice.
What does it mean to believe on the Son? Believe in the Son, is used, too. We see little difference in the prepositions as to the truth. But what it really means is this; that we are to believe the record. We can make it very simple. And the Word of God is the record of the Son, for He said very plainly that the Scriptures testified of Him. So all we have to do is to search the Scriptures and believe what they say concerning the Son.
There is one thing above all that pleases God, and that is to believe on His Son. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). Now since the Word of God, the Bible, is about the Son, it is very necessary for us to look at the "John 3:16" of the Old Testament, that is De. 8:3. "Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." Sounds like John 3:16, does it not? Well this is for Israel, but John 3:16 for the world. That includes Gentiles.
Believing on the Son is believing everything spoken of Him, and everything He said. Even though it may not be to or for us today, it is urgent that we believe it anyway. God said it. And this believing identifies one with Christ in life, death, burial, and resurrection. And further, for those that have entered into the church which is the body of Christ, they are identified with Him in His ascension. This means being quickened, raised, and seated with Him in heavenly places. See Eph. 2:5, 6. So there is more than just life available to believers.
(Reprinted from Truth For Today, Vol. 36, No. 3)