Having declared quite definitely that Jesus is the Son of God, and comes to us from Heaven –a Kingdom with which He is intimately acquainted– fully equipped by His Father with a limitless portion of the Holy Spirit, John turns his attention to the affect His coming has on those to whom He came. Our response to His coming is a matter of life or death.
“Anyone who believes in God’s Son has Eternal Life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience Eternal Life, but remains under God’s angry judgment.” John 3:36 NLT
There is a consistent theme throughout the New Testament, that believing in Jesus also includes obedience to Him. On many levels, we know this to be true. Only a fool or a rebel would believe that a person is a king and yet refuse to obey him. Or, in everyday life, believing in healthy food and good exercise does no good– unless you actually eat the good food and do the exercises!
Our response to Jesus is the single most important decision we will ever make; life itself, not only on this earth but for all eternity, depends on our believing Jesus and obeying Jesus. As John had pointed out, only a few received Jesus when He arrived from the Kingdom of Heaven and began to speak of it and demonstrate what His Father is like. Believing in Jesus and obeying Him is not only a once-and-for-all decision; it is a daily, hourly walk, having faith in Him when tempted to doubt, and doing what He says when tempted to do something else.
Jesus Himself defined Eternal Life as a relationship, knowing His Father, the only True God, and knowing Jesus Christ, the One God had sent. Believing and obeying Him is not living by a list of rules, struggling to keep the faith; it is a living, breathing relationship with Him; it is Jesus living within us, and living His life out through us. This is what He wants for each of us, and it begins when we believe and obey Him.