Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God.
Loved ones, there is a difference between being strategic and being cowardly. I think of Daniel, Esther and Nehemiah, who all served in the court of non-believing emperors. They all used their access to power in a way that promoted the glory of God.
But there came a time, even for the three of them, where the glory of God had to be weighed against the glory of people. And they all acted.
- Daniel prays and ends up in the lion’s den.
- Esther fasts and with the resolve of, “if I perish, I perish,” enters the King’s throne room without being called.
- Nehemiah prays, allows his face to be sad in the presence of the King and bears his heart for his beloved Jerusalem.
They are examples of Authentic Belief. They loved the glory of God more than the glory of man.
Jesus cries out at the end of John chapter 12 and sums up His entire ministry is a few short phrases.
- I am sent.
- I am under authority.
- I have been given a commandment and that commandment is eternal life.
- This is the word that I have been given.
That word itself IS the scale of judgement. To believe the word and to keep the word is to be saved. To reject the one God sent and to reject the word God gave is to be exposed to judgement on the last day.
Belief is not acknowledgement of Jesus as a superior teacher or a general doer of good deeds. His teaching does not save. His good deeds do not save. Laying down His life on the cross as the Savior for sinners ... saves.
This is eternal life:
to believe Jesus is the Son of God who died - personally - for my sin.
This is ... belief.