John 3:16   Leave a comment

John 3:16

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. .” John 3:16

This is probably the most known verse in the bible. If one person would like to get a summary of what there’s in the bible, John 3:16 summarizes it well. In my opinion, John 3:16 resumes the core of the Gospel and Christianity. It also shows who is the God of Christians. It is a God who loves beyond understanding.

1. For God

First of all, this verse implies that God exists. There has been and there are still huge debates on this mighty being. Is there a God? If so, who is this God? The Greeks had many gods and so it is around us. Is it a god who is created by human hands (Ps. 115, Is. 44) and is in need of anything from us to sustain himself (Hag 2:8, Is 66:1-2)? Is it a god we created in our minds? The God of the Christians described in this verse is a God who loves (1 John 4:8). It is the Supreme Being who just spoke and things came into existence (Ps 33:9). The mountains, waters, stars and planets fixed themselves as per His commands (Heb 11:3, Job 38-40).

2. So loved

Is there a being who can love more than God? God is the author of love. Only God can love to the greatest degree and love at 100%. Never a husband will be able to love his wife at 100% (or vice-versa) because we humans are by nature selfish and prideful. Love is not a feeling. Love is action, it is giving and a commitment and is not like emotions which fluctuate with circumstances. Genuine love is independent of what the one who is loved decides. Even if many people hate God, that would not reduce to 1% God’s love for them.  Agape love is a sacrificial, not self-seeking and unconditional love. It’s about giving oneself to the well being of someone else.
3. The world

This God loves everyone. Whether you’re black, white, illiterate or handicapped. God knows by name every human being who exists on this earth . It is not a God for elites who claim to have some super spiritual knowledge or power. Everyone is at least loved by someone and this someone is not just anyone, it is the One who created everything. God wants everyone to know that He loves them but unfortunately many reject Him.

4. That He gave

The God of Christians is a God who gives. God does not ask anything from us, He already gave what was needed. Is there anything we can bring to God to beg for forgiveness? If someone hurt me, even if he offers millions dollars, he will not be able to buy my forgiveness. It’s disrespectful to try to bargain with God by doing good.  Who can say “Look God how many good things I did, you have to forgive me now!“.

It is a myth to believe that the amount of good things we do will cancel the bad things we did. There’s no such things as a balance in God’s hand. If a priest has been helping people in need during all his life and it happens that one day he exceeded the speed limit while hurrying to an orphanage, he violated the law. He’ll never be able to say to the judge “Look at all the good stuff I did, you have to cancel the charges against me!“. This is indisputable. There’s no relation between cancelling bad deeds with good deeds. This is human’s nature to try to repair mistakes. The righteous God does not work this way.

If God does not want to forgive, no one can force Him. Someone who forgives is someone who gives and this act is closely related to the word ‘grace’. The gift that God is giving here is  called ‘salvation’. God is giving us the chance to repent and be saved from His divine wrath. God did not forgive because we did enough good things but because He knew no one would ever be able to meet His standard of righteousness. Love is giving. If you love someone you’ll give without asking anything in return. This is genuine love. What does God lack that a human being can bring?

5. His one and only Son

God is a generous God and He gave the best. If the scripture read “God so loved the world that He gave a barrel of water”, we would certainly doubt the seriousness of God and the gravity of our offenses. God did not give something which had no value in His eyes. It did not cost something, it cost Him everything. It was His beloved Son whom He sent. Of course, this does not mean that God has a biological son. Jesus was both called son of man and son of God. He was called son of God because He had God’s nature. He was called son of man because He had man’s nature. Jesus is God Himself who took a human body to present Himself as a offering for sin. God through Jesus came to reconcile Himself to man. Why did God take a human body and die on a cross? Simply because it was God’s way to expiate sins. Annihilation of legions of holy angels would not be able to remove a single white lie as they are but creatures like us. It required deity to forgive sin. God’s justice and righteousness could be met only by Himself.  The name of the God of the Christian is Jesus. Jesus is the mediator between sinful humanity and the holy God. When you’re in contact with Jesus, you’re in contact with God Himself. Let us be honest, how can man repair his sins with alms, prayers and good deeds? Man cannot and does not know how to deal with his sins. God Himself took the first step to forgive (Rom 5:6). Jesus is the greatest gift. If the world would like a proof of God’s love, God would say “Look at my Son!”

What is the greatest thing one can give? His money, house, eyes? The greatest thing someone can give is his life for once you give it, you cannot take it back.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives” John 12:24

To cease to live to give life to someone else, this is the greatest proof of love. Jesus did more than that when He chose to offer Himself on the cross. He did not die because He did something wrong but because He was the only righteous being who could present Himself before God and say “Pour out your wrath on me and forgive them!“. Only Jesus understood the exigence of God and knew how to repair our sins.  It’s unbelievable, but where there’s love, crazy things can happen.

6. That whoever believes in him

As mentioned earlier, God does not reveal himself only to some monks, priests or spiritual leaders. God is accessible to anyone and not just to a few. No matter how sinful one can be, God is interested to reveal Himself to any sinners. God would not be shocked by the sins we would like to confess, He already knows them all anyway!

Just believing in Jesus? That simple? It does not make sense to many that forgiveness can be obtained by just trusting Jesus’ sacrifice. What God only asks is that we acknowledge that we are sinners and that He provided Jesus to die on a cross to forgive our sins. We only have to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is enough to forgive our sins. This is only what God requires (John 6:29, Mark 9:7). People think that they have to do many things to get God’s sympathy, approval and indulgence. But a Christian came to the conclusion that he’ll never be able to do enough (or anything) to forgive his sins. Meeting God’s standard of righteousness and holiness is impossible. The Christian accepts God’s forgiveness by grace. It is by God’s grace that our debts are freely cancelled (Col 2:13-14). It is a absolute reliance on the work of the Son of God without anything required from sinful man.

7. shall not perish but have eternal life

We have seen that God is love. As deep God’s love can be, as deep His wrath is. God is love but also holy and righteous. His wrath on sinners is incomparable. We are talking about a righteous Judge who has no flaws. The Son knew that no human beings would ever be able to escape God’s holy wrath so He presented Himself before God so that God’s justice is made (Hebrews 10:5-9). God in His anger crushed His Son on the cross (Is. 53). Jesus was ready to endure whatever was required to redirect God’s wrath on Him (John 10:17). He was singled out (Hebrews 13:12) and hung alone under God’s judgment for our redemption. It is because we are sinners that we sin. No one has to teach a new born baby how to lie. By himself this baby will learn to sin. We are born with a sinful nature because of Adam’s sin. No one is born righteous. God is a God who loves but is also righteous. Because of His righteousness, He cannot leave sins unpunished. This is why He cannot accept sin in His holy presence. There’s a place of eternal separation for sinners called hell. Right now, sinners cannot understand how hard it will be to live eternally away from God’s presence. Due to the high penalty of disobedience, God sent Jesus to reconcile every sinners to Him. God wants every humans to live eternally in His peaceful presence but unfortunately not everyone wants it. God is merciful because He is not giving us what we deserve i.e. hell and is full of grace because He gave us what we do not deserve i.e. Forgiveness through Jesus.

Trusting in Jesus’ sacrifice is the only way to be spared of God’s wrath on the day of final judgement. Everyday is a new day given by God to each human to receive the forgiveness of sins. Today is the day the bible says (2 Cor 6:2, Heb. 4:7). Some joyfully accept that only Jesus’ sacrifice can save them and want Jesus to be the Master of their life. Others refuse Jesus’ sacrifice and want to continue living in their sins because they like their vices. They fear that all their evil deeds are exposed if Jesus comes into their life.

I have given you my Son, what have you done of this gift?

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God

 

The Preaching of the Gospel

Salvation is free but not cheap. The reason Christians are called to tell about the Good News is because people will not know unless they are told.

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?” Romans 10:14

It is vital that Christians share the gospel with people who have not yet heard it. But woe to those who heard and rejected it. We should not be discouraged if we do not see the result of our work. Paul planted the seeds of the gospel and did not always see its fruit. God made it grow by the Spirit who works in the heart of man.

After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.” 1 Cor 3:5-9

Who can genuinely convince man of sin except the Spirit (Jean 16:8)? Christians have not been called to persuade men they are sinners and to repent, this is the work of the Spirit. The mission of Christian is to preach about Jesus crucified for sinners. The Spirit will do that mighty work of convicting hearts. Some people like Apollos just reap what others worked hard. Their work is equally important as they disciple new followers of Christ.

But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” John 4:36-38

GOD — The Greatest Lover
SO LOVED — The Greatest Degree
THE WORLD — The Greatest Company
THAT HE GAVE — The Greatest Act
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON — The Greatest Gift
THAT WHOSOEVER — The Greatest Opportunity
BELIEVETH — The Greatest Simplicity
IN HIM — The Greatest Attraction
SHOULD NOT PERISH — The Greatest Promise
BUT — The Greatest Difference
HAVE — The Greatest Certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE. — The Greatest Possesion

J. Edwin Hartill

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Posted October 20, 2012 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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