If – The Biggest Word in the Bible

by Rex Rouis

The word ‘if’ is interesting. It is one of the most important words in the Bible because it speaks directly to our responsibility to God. Most promises in the Bible have conditions and the word ‘if’ speaks to those conditions. Our responses to God’s commands affect our relationship with Him and determine our receiving from Him.

Jesus used the word ‘if’ all the time. Almost half of the 574 occurrences in the New Testament are in the four Gospels. Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side. The following are many uses of the word ‘if’ in the Bible:

If and Hear

If you have understanding, hear this; listen to what I say. – Job 34:16

Hear, O my people, while I admonish you! O Israel, if you would but listen to me! – Psalm 81:8

For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, – Psalm 95:7

If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Mark 4:23, and Revelation 13:9

As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” – Hebrews 3:15, 3:7, 4:7

If and Listen

See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I am commanding you today; and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. Deuteronomy 11:26, 27, 28, and 13:18, 15:5

The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, – Deuteronomy 28:13

If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. – I Samuel 12:14, 15

But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,” declares the LORD, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, – Jeremiah 17:24, and 17:27

And you will say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD, “If you will not listen to Me, to walk in My law which I have set before you, – Jeremiah 26:4

If you do not listen, and if you do not take it to heart to give honor to My name,” says the LORD of hosts, “then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings; and indeed, I have cursed them already, because you are not taking it to heart. – Malachi 2:2

If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. – Matthew 18:15, 16, 17

But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'” – Luke 16:31

If and Obey

Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; – Exodus 19:5

But if you truly obey his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. – Exodus 23:22

If also after these things you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. – Leviticus 26:18

All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God: – Deuteronomy 28:2

They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the LORD, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. – Judges 3:4

If you consent and obey, You will eat the best of the land; – Isaiah 1:19

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. – Luke 17:6

If you truly obey his voice and do all that I say…
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. – II Thessalonians 3:14

For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? – I Peter 4:17

If and Voice

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. – Revelation 3:20

If and heart

But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. – Deuteronomy 4:29

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. – I Chronicles 28:9

If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear; – Psalm 66:18

My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” – Matthew 18:35

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. – Galatians 6:9

If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. – James 1:26

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; – I John 3:21

If and Faith

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. – Matthew 17:20

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. – Matthew 21:21

And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. – Luke 17:6

If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. – I Corinthians 13:2

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? – II Corinthians 13:5

If you have faith and do not doubt…
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – I Timothy 5:8

But my righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him. Hebrews 10:38

Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. – James 2:17

and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. – James 5:15

If and Believe

For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. – John 5:46

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” – John 5:47

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, – Romans 6:8

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. – I Thessalonians 4:14

If and Word(s)

If a man makes a vow to the LORD, or takes an oath to bind himself with a binding obligation, he shall not violate his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. – Numbers 30:2

If you are not careful to observe all the words of this law which are written in this book, to fear this honored and awesome name, the LORD your God, – Deuteronomy 28:58

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; – John 8:31

“Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” – John 8:51

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. – John 14:23

“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. – John 15:7

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; – James 1:23

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. – I John 1:10

If and Jesus

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. – Matthew 16:24

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” – Matthew 19:21

And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. – Matthew 21:21

And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.” – Mark 9:23

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. – John 7:37

So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” – John 8:19

If you believe, you will see the glory of God.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; – John 8:31

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. – John 8:39

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. – John 8:42

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, – John 11:25

Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” – John 11:40

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. – John 14:23

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. – Romans 8:11

that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; – Romans 10:9

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test? – II Corinthians 13:5

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. – I Thessalonians 4:14

but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. – I John 1:7

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; – I John 2:1

And finally

My son, if you will receive my words And treasure my commandments within you, Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding; For if you cry for discernment, Lift your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will discern the fear of the LORD And discover the knowledge of God. – Proverbs 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The Bible principle is this – “If man does” then “God will.” Religion takes the ‘if” off man and puts it on God.

Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side – If man does, God will.

Comments

  1. I quote your words “If man does, then God will” ad infinitum to others. I have quoted it in my yet to be published book. The words are simple yet so powerful.

    Thanks for your contribution to Christianity!

  2. i am new to this site and would love some clarification around how this post fits with the finished work of Jesus… i have loved the other bits and pieces i have read today but this one i was unsure about – my understanding is that the new covenant is more about receiving what Jesus has done and your final statements:

    The Bible principle is this – “If man does” then “God will.” Religion takes the ‘if” off man and puts it on God.
    Jesus always put the ‘if’ on man’s side and never on God’s side – If man does, God will.

    are a bit confusing to me in that context. i felt like the old covenant rested on us and the new covenant rests on Jesus. I know that Christians need to receive this truth/revelation in many ways to actually walk in it, but would love your explanation of what you actually meant. 🙂

    1. Deuteronomy 7:14
      If My people which are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

    2. It is true that the covenant with Moses is about “do this” or “do that” and that the new covenant in the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is about what God does for man: “This is the covenant that I will do with them, after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I will write them, and never again will I remember their sins and transgressions.” (Hebrews 10:16,17)
      Now this covenant in his blood is the covenant of grace, and grace means (This is where the difficulties and confusions begin): God acting instead of me.
      But this does not mean that we should remain inactive or just contemplating, but participants of Christ (Hebrews 3:14), we are members of his body, of his flesh and bones (1 Cor 6:15; Ephesians 5:30), we have become partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), partakers of the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13), we are intrinsically united to the Lord (John 17:21-23; Ephesians 5:22-32 ) in fact we are his help meet, and as such we must cooperate with him.
      It seems contradictory that Paul said: strive in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1) and one could say: why do I have to strive if everything is already finished? Didn’t Christ already do all things on the cross? But no, God wants us to have an intimate communion with Him every day in prayer and reading the Bible and be guided by Him, that we walk in paths of justice, (that is: that we do things as He commands (Dt 6: 25) and not that we do things according to our opinion.
      It is sad to see how the book of judges ends: “In these days there was no king in Israel; each one did what seemed good to him.” (Judges 21:25) but it is sadder in these last days to see that today there is a king in Israel; and everyone does what they think is best.
      Today it seems that we want God to do everything, and sometimes we would like him to go to the temple for us, that he read the Bible instead of me, that God preach the gospel, but it is not like that. We are children of God and we have many rights, but we also have obligations.
      We are the first fruits of the new creation, the first fruits of that sacrifice on the cross, we are responsible for expanding the kingdom of God, for destroying the works of our archenemy the devil, we have the obligation to bring the gospel to those who have not born again, and the Lord says: “Without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5)
      Let us serve the Lord and be guided by Him, and not because we expect something from Him, not because He is conditioned, but because we love Him and because we love Him with all our hearts.

  3. Fantastic piece and was so helpful. Good job done and has been very interesting

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