John 3:16-18 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. 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.”
God the Father sent Jesus Christ (God the Son; the only begotten Son of God) to the earth to be born as a baby to a human mother, but conceived of the Holy Spirit, so with God the Father as his birth father. And Jesus lived on this earth as fully God and fully man about 33 years before his enemies put him to death on a cross. But it was God’s will that Jesus should die on that cross, for in his death he put our sins to death with him, and then he rose from the grave victorious over sin, hell, death, and Satan.
And God did this so that whoever is believing (present active) in him should not perish but have eternal life. But now this faith (belief) is not of our own doing. It is gifted to us by God, for it comes from God. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he first persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).
Now, since this faith is not of our own doing, then we don’t get to decide what this faith should look like, either. God is the one who decides that for us since Jesus Christ is the author and the perfecter of our faith – the faith that is gifted to us by God. So, we need to look to the Scriptures to learn what it means biblically to be actively believing in Jesus Christ. And for one it means that we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him from now to eternity.
And Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of living in sin and for self, we will lose them for eternity. But if for the sake of Jesus we lose our lives, i.e. we die with Christ to sin and live for him and for his righteousness, then we have eternal life in him. And he said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven but only the one DOING the will of God the Father.
And we read in 1 John 1:5-10 that if we say we are in fellowship with God, but while we walk (in conduct, in practice) in darkness (sin), that we are liars. And then we read in 1 John 2:3-6 that if we claim that we know God but we do not obey our Lord’s commandments (New Covenant), that we are liars. And we read in 1 John 3:4-10 that those who make a practice of sin and who do not obey our Lord’s commandments, are not of God, but are of the devil. For it is those who practice righteousness who are righteous.
And we read in other Scriptures that if sin is what we practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God, and heaven will not be our eternal destiny. For we are all going to be judged by God in the end according to our deeds, and we are all going to reap what we sow. And if we sow to the flesh, from the flesh we will reap corruption (destruction, death), but if we sow to the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life.
So, when this says that “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,” first of all it is “believing in him,” which is an active and continuous belief, not a past belief only. And second of all this belief (faith) is defined by God and by his word, it comes from God, it is persuaded of God, and it is gifted to us by God, and it is not of our own doing. So this faith is going to submit to God’s will and purpose, die with him to sin, not just once but daily, and walk in accordance with his commands.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:23-31; Acts 5:32; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Matt 7:21-23; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 6:7-8; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Jn 14:23-24; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.”
And if we read John 3:16 in the context of what follows, it makes it clear for us that “belief” in Jesus is not just some acknowledgement of who he is and of what he did for us, and it is not just a verbal profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but it involves our actions. For, those who are practicing sin (evil, wickedness) will not inherit eternal life with God. But those who are practicing righteousness and obedience to our Lord, in the power of God, according to his will, they will have eternal life with God.
He Lifted Our Burdens
An Original Work / February 15, 2014
Based off Isaiah 9:2-7
People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.
Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.
Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.
We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.
Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.
He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.