John 3:16- “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Yep, I had to include this one. Probably one of the most well-known verses out there, except for “Judge not” which people who are in some sort of sin like to quote when someone else confronts them, Ha! John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell. It is short and yet says a lot. It is deep and yet a child can understand it. It is awesome because a person can memorize it easily, understand it fully, and then help others by teaching it to them. Let’s look at the parts of this verse separately:
“For God so loved the world” The Father is the one being referred to here and we learn a deep truth about Him that He loves the world. Wow! The world includes great people, good people, mediocre people, and then just downright bad people, evil ones. God loves Mother Teresa, Billy Graham, my grandmother, and…Hitler, Stalin, Osama Bin Laden, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Blacks, Jews, Gentiles, Australians, Iranians, Iraqis, Asians, and on and on. In fact, God loved the world so much that He gave it the very best.
“That He gave His only begotten Son“ We learn another thing about God. Not only is He a loving God, He is a giving God. And when God gives, He gives His very best. His very best is His only begotten Son. The Son is Jesus, the innocent, perfect Savior who never actually sinned. When God gave Jesus, He was not just giving the best gift to the world, He was giving the only gift it needed to be complete. Without Christ, we have not the Father. Without the Son, we are still in our sins and are separate from the Father. Without Jesus, we are not good enough to pay for our sins.
“That whoever believes in Him shall not perish” This verse continues to get better! Not only is God a loving, giving God, He is an accepting God. The word “whoever” points us to the fact that God will accept anyone who comes to Him, on His terms. God’s terms are believing in His Son, Jesus the Christ. Some people say faith is difficult, others say it is easy, too easy. I see both perspectives. Faith is difficult because it involves the heart and the will, as it takes all the evidence in and hopes in the truth that it learns. Faith is easy because it eliminates works and chores and earnings. It is easy because it does not depend on God weighing our good and bad and determining if our good outweighs the bad. All that matters to Him is us coming to Him by faith in His Son. If we do this, we will not perish. All humans die, but those who put their faith in Jesus will not perish in Hell. Believers will no longer be lost, unrighteous,or considered only as sinners.
“But have eternal life” If you are honest with yourself, you are afraid of sickness, disease, accidents, old age, and anything else that causes death. When death comes, some believe, then that is the final chapter of existence. Existence is over, some believe. Therefore, to some, achieving all the thrills, success, fun, and experiences on earth is the ultimate goal. But, God teaches us that there is a life beyond this life. It is both life and it is eternal. Eternal life, for me, is the greatest gift God has given me. The possession of it has changed my life since I was thirteen years old. It affects my thoughts, my goals, my dreams, my actions, and my words. I don’t always live in light of eternity. But when I do, I am full of peace, hope, joy, patience, goodness, and contentment. What do I care if evil, suffering or hardship come my way? These things are difficult to be sure, but they are nothing compared to the loving, gracious gift that God has already given me that affects me in all ways. Like Job says “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” I can agree with Job because, what He gave in His Son Jesus Christ’s death is something that can never be taken away. It is something that is greater than anything I can lose.
Have you believed in the Son Jesus Christ to be your Savior, your Lord, because of His sacrifice of dying on the cross for your sins?