Tuesday, August 30, 2011

John 3:16 - For God So Loved the World

It used to be the case that everybody knew John 3:16, but today it's no guarantee. Still, it's among the best known and most quoted verses in all the Bible. This is for good reason: it's a great summary of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Without any contextual support, this verse teaches:
  • We are at risk of perishing. The contrapositive of eternal life through belief is that those who don't believe will perish. Perhaps we don't know why we perish through this verse (sin), but it's clear that it will happen apart from belief.
  • We can have eternal life, and that comes in believing in him--God's only Son. The claim of eternal life is exclusive. The Son is necessary and sufficient to inherit eternal life.
  • God's love is universal. He gave his Son to the world, not to any one tongue, tribe or nation. But that does not mean that all are saved, but rather all can be saved--none are excluded on the basis of origin.
  • God's love is particular. God demonstrates eternal love only to those who believe in the Son he gave.
  • God is the source of salvation. He is the giver of the Son and eternal life. Salvation does not come from within man or any of his deeds. Eternal life is granted because God gives it.
In one sense, anyone who understands and accepts the message of this verse is saved, and this is likely why it is so widely taught. I will add one caveat: I do not believe that someone who wholly accepts the truth of this verse will be satisfied to remain only in its truth. But it doesn't take much work to see who the Son is and what you must believe about the Son...you only need to keep reading the gospel of John. As you zoom out and read the surrounding context, you find a much clearer understanding of the gospel of salvation. And what a glorious truth it is that God has given.

And that shall be the content of tomorrow's post.

No comments:

Post a Comment