For the last year, I’ve been promising to take my kids to Canada.
They want to see the snow.
They saw some snow once—two years ago. A light sprinkling that quickly melted. But they want to see the real thing—the kind I grew up with. Two, three, four feet of it. Snow drifts so high you can’t see your car anymore or open the door to your house! So I’ve been telling them that, every year, in January, I will take one of them to Canada. Daphne will be going this January; Zane the next; and maybe Scout the one after that. We’ll go tobogganing, and skiing, and build forts, and maybe go to one of Quebec’s famous cabane à sucre (sugar shacks).
They haven’t done this, but imagine they started calling me, “Daddy the Toboggan-Rider,” or “Daddy the To-Canada-Flyer,” or “Daddy the Snow-Vacationer.”
If someone was recording our conversations, and heard me say, “Believe me: I’m taking you to Canada,” they might very well write something like, “And the kids believed in their Daddy.”
What would that mean?
I think any normal English-speaker would easily understand that to “believe in Daddy” given those conversations, and given those titles, is clearly shorthand for believing that I will follow through on my promise and actually take my kids to Canada. Believing “in” means believing “for.”
Wouldn’t you agree?
So when you read in John’s Gospel that “His disciples believed in Him” (John 2:11), “many believed in His name” (John 2:23), “And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him” (John 4:39), what does that mean?
I think it clearly means these people believed in Jesus for the eternal salvation He promised, no?
However, I’ve met Free Gracers who get confused by this!
They deny that believing “in” Jesus means believing in Him “for” salvation. They say those are two different things. Believing “in” Jesus is the action. Receiving eternal life is the result. But there is no proof they believed in Him for that eternal life.
No proof…except eternal salvation is what He promised, what He taught, what He acted to bring about, and what His titles announced He would bring.
If believing “in” doesn’t mean believing “for,” then on that view, being a believer means not knowing what you’re eternally in for!