“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”John 3:18
The Indiana Jones series of movies starring Harrison Ford was an interesting blend of history, legend, and fiction. In the third installment, Indiana Jones and his father have been forced by Nazi sympathizers to help locate the cup of Christ, the Holy Grail. The backdrop for this scene is the sandstone carving of a temple entrance at Petra. In order to pass the “tests” ahead, Indiana is challenged by Dr. Donovan saying, “It’s time to ask yourself what you believe.” Indeed, Indiana Jones has to place his faith in his father’s historical research regarding these three tests in order to retrieve the cup of Christ and save his father’s life.
Even if you’ve never seen this thrilling trilogy, Dr. Donovan poses an interesting question that we should all consider: “What do you believe?” In our deteriorating culture where lines have been blurred and most black and white has become gray, we must all ask ourselves just what it is that we believe. For those of us who memorized Scripture from an early age, we were taught John 3:16, but very few of us memorized the rest of the passage. Since context is everything, let’s review John 3:16-21:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
For many, we stop at our own belief when we accept salvation in Christ. We do not always grasp or remember the judgment to fall upon those who do not believe. In other Scripture, Christ is clear to say that only HE is the way, the truth, and the life. He talks about the narrow path. He reminds His audience that no one can approach the Father except through HIM. Otherwise, the passage here tells us that without belief in Christ as Lord, we too stand condemned. We condemn ourselves through our unbelief. We relish in darkness and avoid the light. So what do you believe?
As per Scripture, I believe that Christ suffered merciless beatings at the hands of His captors. I believe that the fake trials held in the dead of night were illegal, yet utilized as a way to keep His captors’ activities secret. I believe that on that Friday morning, Jesus was forced to carry His cross to Calvary where He suffered and died for our sins. I believe that His punishment brings us an opportunity for salvation and reconciliation to the Father. I believe that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection fulfills an ancient promise and provides a solution for our separation from God. I believe that without Christ, I am (we are) eternally separated from God because of our sinfulness.
Because I believe, I am thankful that we can be restored in right relationship with God the Father because Christ took our punishment upon Himself. When He said from the cross, “it is finished,” He was saying that the redemptive work has been completed. No longer would blood be required as a sacrifice for sin. Because I believe, I have confidence that in spite of my sinful flesh, I can spend eternity with Christ in heaven.
This same gift is available to ANYONE who would believe. Whosoever will may come! Knowing this, now is the time for you to ask yourself just what it is that you believe. Then don’t stop at your own belief. Share with everyone the hope they can find when they believe in Christ.