Whoever is Believing
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
God so loved… He cared about… He was concerned for… He wanted his best for the people of the whole world. He wanted us to prefer him above all else. He wanted us to choose his choices, and to obey them. He wanted us to embrace his will for our lives. He wanted us to actively do his will and to obey his commands and to live our lives under his direction and in his power in godliness and holiness. And, He wanted to live his life through us.
So, he sent His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ (God the Son) to the earth to be born as a baby, to grow to be a man, and eventually to be put to death on a cross for our sins, although he had done no wrong. But, it was God’s will that Jesus should die for our sins, for in his death he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:21).
That whoever believing in him… that whoever being divinely persuaded as to who Jesus is, and as to his divine character and will for our lives, and as to his purpose in dying for our sins… and acting upon that faith by putting it into practice in his or her daily life… should not perish – should not die an eternal death and spend eternity in punishment in the fires of hell. But, they will have eternal life with God (Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).
For Our Salvation
John 3:17-18 ESV
“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.”
When Jesus came to the earth the first time around, he did not come to judge us in the sense of the final verdict in a trial where someone is sentenced to their doom, i.e. where the sentence of “guilty” is pronounced, and where the punishment is then carried out. That will happen when he comes again to judge the people of the earth, to take his faithful followers to be with him for eternity, and to condemn non-believers to eternal fire.
When he came to the earth the first time it was to save people from their sins, to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they could receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18; Lu. 9:23-26; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
And, so he taught them the way to eternal life with God and the way to salvation from their sins. He told them if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. He said if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin), we will gain our lives for eternity. But, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity (Lu. 9:23-26; Rom. 8:1-17).
He also said that his sheep (his followers) know him, they know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him (Jn. 10:27-30). And, they are the ones who can’t be snatched out of his hands or the Father’s hands.
And, then he told them that to love him is to obey his commandments and that those who don’t love him don’t obey him. And, Paul and John continued this thought by saying that if they don’t obey him, that they don’t know him, and that he doesn’t know them, and that they don’t have eternal life with him (Jn. 14:23-24; Rom. 6:16; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 3:24).
Lovers of Darkness or of Light
John 3:19-21 ESV
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Yet, even though God loved the whole world, and Jesus died to save the whole world from their sins, not everyone is saved from their sins and bound for eternal life with God in heaven.
We each have to personally make that decision to leave our former lives of sin behind us to follow our Lord in surrender to his will and in obedience to his commands. We each have to choose to live for Jesus, and to walk in his righteousness, and to turn our backs on living for sin and self in order to make him Lord of our lives.
But, not everyone wants that for their lives, not even many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ hoping to get a free pass from hell and a free ride to heaven. For, they want the benefits absent of obedience.
The Evil Scheme
And, Satan knows that, and so he has used that to his advantage by devising a scheme to offer people a “light” that is slanted his direction, that is dishonest, twisted and distorted.
Thus, he has altered the true light to make it more appealing to human flesh, and to make the way possible for people to remain in bondage to sin while giving them the false hope of heaven. And, people are flocking to this altered gospel of grace by the thousands, or perhaps millions, because then they can keep right on living in sin.
For, many people like the idea of Jesus, but it is not the Jesus of the scriptures, but a twisted version of Jesus who just winks at their sin and who is okay with them living worldly lives for self-pleasure and in self-indulgence while God just smiles down on them.
They are like all those followers of Jesus who deserted him when they finally realized what he was truly all about, which is death to sin and living to righteousness. They don’t want the “hard teachings.” They want the light and fluffy teaching that makes them feel good about themselves while they continue living for their flesh. They just want to have their bellies filled, but they don’t want to have to make a life-time commitment to Christ.
They are like shallow ground with rocky places, and when the seed of the Word of God is spread over them, they may at first receive it with joy, but when they find out what they really signed up for, they bail, because that isn’t what they want, in reality.
And, so along comes this easy message which makes no demands on them for repentance, obedience or submission to Christ, and now they are on board, ready to go.
But, Satan and his hordes are not satisfied with just leading people away from the true light by pushing them into a false light which leaves them still in bondage to sin. He has to vilify the true light, the true gospel of our salvation and its messengers, and so he got his followers to lie about the true gospel of grace and to attack it by calling it works-based salvation, bigoted, intolerant, narrow-minded, hateful, and the like.
Flip-flopping Evil and Good
Basically, Satan turned evil into good and good into evil, and he is so convincing that he has deceived many minds and hearts into following after his lies. So, they refuse to come into the light, not only so that their evil deeds won’t be exposed, but out of some twisted sense that they are now following the true light, because that is what their evil hearts want to believe.
They want to believe that God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son to die on a cross for our sins so that we could be forgiven our sins, have the hope of heaven when we die, and yet be able to keep on living in sin for self, and for self-pleasure, without regard for God’s commands or his holiness and purity.
And, they want to believe that “faith” in Jesus Christ is some words they repeat after someone else or some acknowledgment of who Christ is or some outward profession of faith.
But, that is the opposite of love. And, that is absolutely contrary to our Lord’s purpose in dying on that cross for our sins. It would be like Moses preaching salvation to the Jews who were in slavery in Egypt, and promising them that he would lead them out of slavery and into the Promised Land, but then do nothing. He would just leave them in Egypt and desert them.
But, God’s plan for our salvation is to deliver us out of our slavery and to lead us into his eternal kingdom. But, we must go with him in leaving our “Egypt” behind us and in following him in obedience if we want to have that freedom from sin and that hope of eternal life with God (Rom. 8:1-17).
Nearer, Still Nearer
Lyrics and Music by Lelia N. Morris, pub. 1898
Nearer, still nearer, close to Thy heart,
Draw me, my Savior—so precious Thou art!
Fold me, oh, fold me close to Thy breast;
Shelter me safe in that “haven of rest.”
Nearer, still nearer, nothing I bring,
Naught as an off’ring to Jesus, my King;
Only my sinful, now contrite heart,
Grant me the cleansing Thy blood doth impart.
Nearer, still nearer, Lord, to be Thine!
Sin, with its follies, I gladly resign,
All of its pleasures, pomp and its pride,
Give me but Jesus, my Lord crucified.
Nearer, still nearer, while life shall last,
Till safe in glory my anchor is cast;
Through endless ages ever to be
Nearer, my Savior, still nearer to Thee!
Copyright status is public domain
*Caution: This link may contain ads