Random Theo Thought: Eternal Life

Was reading over at Pyromaniacs and had this random thought about eternal life as it is usually presented. Am quite sure that I am skipping steps in my reasoning, but wanted to throw it out there for discussion’s sake and work from there.

Reference John 3:16

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Commonly referred to verse of Scripture to pretty much aid in that final conversion phase. But in looking at both the verse isolated, and the verse in context, I found a weird reading/thinking…

…there are three things that can happen here.

First, you don’t believe in Jesus and so that merits you out of the conversation for eternal life.

Second, you do believe in Jesus and you take the steps to align your life to His with the hoped for and received end result of life forever in heaven (new heaven/new earth) with a God.

Then the third one, the one that got me thinking a bit. What if a person did believe in Jesus, but it stopped there? That the person believed that Jesus is Lord, but still rebelled against him (like the demons whom Scripture say “they also believe and tremble” and know their punishment).

My thinking here is that belief in Jesus is just that, belief. And that at least gets you the “get out of death” pass. But, does getting out of death mean also to get out of punishment for sin, or is that punishment different (ref the verses that say “not all whom say ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom…”)?

If this is the case, does the method in which many endear folks to salvation merely just get them into a different kind of punishment, because the terms of entry into life with God are a bit more than just “believe to live longer?” If you will, sure you get eternal life, but its basically eternal suffering, to which death would even be preferred.

Just a thought to consider when you get into that salvation line at church.