Saturday, June 6, 2009

John 3:16

I had originally planned a post about something entirely different, but halfway through my heart was stirred in an entirely different direction.

So let's move on into a post about John 3. We'll begin with the oft quoted verse 16 and work through 17 today, next week we'll continue on with verse 18 and beyond.

John 3:16-17 (New American Standard Bible)

16"For God so (A)loved the world, that He (B)gave His (C)only begotten Son, that whoever (D)believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17"For God (E)did not send the Son into the world (F)to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Just prior to these two verses Jesus says that the Son of Man had to be lifted up just as Moses lifted up the snake so that whoever believes in Him will have eternal life. Then He repeats that statement with more explanation. A powerful explanation.

For God... Let's first look at just that there. Who is the originator of this eternal life we're about to discuss? GOD. The creator of the universe, the sustainer of all life and author of all things. He is the one who has done this great thing we are about to see. Take a moment to just let that sink in and consider also Psalm 139. He fearfully and wonderfully made us. He knows the depths of our heart and soul and the extent of its wickedness and loves us the same.

So what did God do? What's the action of the text here. He "SO LOVED THE WORLD". It isn't that God is about to give something... that is the expression of the action. The action IS the LOVE God SO has for the world. To demonstrate the full extent of the greatness and perfect nature of His love God did the ultimate so that we would see this and say, what a Good God, what a Great and Mighty and Loving and Awesome God.

He so loved the world that He what? Gave. Just the word 'gave' alone implies something sacrificial... Something that wasn't earned or merited yet here it is being given. God gives the ultimate. His ONLY Son! Jesus Christ, God incarnate.

Why? Why pour out this great love upon a people who have repeatedly spit in God's face, blasphemed His name, put other things in this world as god above Him... the God who has given us life!

There is absolutely NOTHING that we have done to deserve a gift of any kind from God. We don't even deserve the breath or the oxygen He graciously provides and allows us to breathe... the eyes we have with which to see, this earth and the beauties of it... I could go on for unlimited lengths on this...

Sufficing to say, we don't deserve a gift. We can't earn a gift, we don't even know how to fully appreciate the gift we received.

God gave HIS SON so that what? Here's the gift. And now why give it. If we didn't earn it or merit it then why? So that WHOSOEVER believes in Him!

First, let's think on the easy nature of the phrase, that of course would be, the whosoever. This gift of eternal life is open so 'whosoever' would believe in Him.

This belief, a.) it implies an unbelief is possible or that an unbelief is inevitable for all from the the beginning. A switch from unbelief to belief.

Hopefully I don't burst any bubbles here but this is more and a belief in say, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. This is more than an intellectual ascent into believing something to be true or untrue. There is ample evidence both in the Bible and out of the Bible that reinforce the existence of Jesus. So if that is easy, what is the belief?

Belief not just in His existence... Not even JUST in who He is. But in EVERYTHING that comes along with that. You see we can't claim the name of Christ and then live in open rebellion against His Word. For it isn't JUST the Words He spoke... He is THE Word. John 1:1 - In the beginning was THE WORD and THE WORD was WITH GOD and THE WORD WAS GOD!!!

So this belief in Him requires total 100% commitment to Him and His Word and His way of thinking! With that belief we see ourselves in the light of HIS glory and realize that we need Him. That He is our only hope. This is more than belief. This is more than intellectual ascent. This is monumental. This is the reason for creation. This is the reason for our being. That we would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord!

What has taken the place of Christ in your life? I find idols in my own life from time to time and I've tried to remove them slowly and I've tried just pleading with God to rip them out of me and I assure you, the best thing to do is let God rip it out... better yet, just lay it all down and give it up for HIS sake!

Finally, let's consider this... If God was willing to go to this extent to SAVE us and demonstrate His perfect Love... in contrast, doesn't it make you catch a glimpse of the extent to which He will go to demonstrate His perfect justice and wrath?

We'll save verse 17 for next week...

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