Saturday, June 24, 2006

John 3:16

We've been studying John 3:16 over the past few weeks in our Sunday School class. (I know I've already posted on this subject, but I just felt compelled to re-vist the topic one last time.) Probably one of the most well known verses in Scripture is also probably one the most misunderstood. A few things we learned:

  • It's important to remember the context-- Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, who has come to him at night.
  • The initial question, although not stated explicitly, is-- "how does one enter the Kingdom of Heaven?"
  • Jesus tells Nicodemus that his works based religion will not save him. He must look to the "Son of Man that would be lifted up", pointing him to the cross and its saving work.
  • John 3:16 is the reason why Jesus came to be crucified:
    • "For God so loved..." God's love motivated Him to provide salvation.
    • "God SO loved." His love is beyond measure.
    • "The world." Not just the Jews. Salvation is for all. The world encompasses Jews and Gentiles from every tribe and every nation. God's saving love is specific to those He has chosen for salvation.
    • "He gave His only begotten Son." God gave His best. Salvation is a gift, throught His unique, of a kind, only begotten Son. Jesus is the ONLY savior.
    • "That whoever believes." Salvation is not by works, but by faith, by believing, putting our faith in the justifying work of the cross. Belief is more than assenting to some facts about Jesus-- it is complete surrender and obedience.
    • "Shall not perish." We will not / CAN NOT be seperated from God. (Romans 8:38-39)
    • "But have everlasting life." Life = Gr. zoe. This is the abundant life that God gives. It is a life worth living. It is not only future-- it is here and now!
Salvation is only in Jesus Christ. God gives salvation through Christ because He loves. In the end, Nicodemus understood. He got it. (John 19:39)

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