Wednesday, August 31, 2011

John 3: That the World Might Be Saved Through Him

In yesterday's post, we looked at John 3:16. It contains the truth of the gospel in a bit-sized nugget, but doesn't quite answer the question of who the Son of God is and what about him you must believe.

This verse becomes fuller with meaning when the surrounding verses contextualize these words of Jesus.
    "No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
    "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:13-18 ESV)
Readers of the gospels know well that one of Jesus' titles for himself was 'Son of Man'. Jesus shows us what would happen to the Son of Man, and he shows us who the Son of Man is. Therefore, readers and hearers of God's Word should know just what they must believe in and who they must believe in to have eternal life.


Jesus is the Son of God. The statements from John 3:13-18 show that Jesus, the Son of Man descended from heaven, is God's only Son, and bears the title Son of God (c.f. John 5:18).

Jesus prophesies his death. Like the serpent in the wilderness, Jesus is lifted up (Numbers 21:9), and this shadows what we need to believe about the Son for salvation. Look at the Son of God on the pole, the tree, the cross and live. The venom of sin courses through our bodies, and Christ's death on the cross is the antidote to certain death.

Jesus is the savior. Four times this passage talks about believing in him to avoid condemnation and for inheriting eternal life (Acts 4:12). He does not condemn, for we have condemned ourselves by our unbelief. If you repent and believe you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

Salvation is exclusive. There is only one way to God, and that is through his Son Jesus Christ. Salvation is available to all who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross to take away their sin. You can be certain this is true, for Jesus rose from the dead three days later as proof that his Word is true (1 Cor 15:3-4).

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