There are things our parents say so often we don’t even hear it anymore. They might to totally right, and what they’re saying could be something worth listening to… but you’ve heard it so many times you’ve tuned it out.
What if your parent is saying it so often because they’ve learned it the hard way?
I think that’s what happens with John 3:16. Unfortunately, it’s so well known that many people miss out on the glorious truth it simply proclaims. It’s an incredible verse to summarize the gospel-message.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Breaking it Down
For God so loved the world…
I’m not sure how often we think about God’s feelings; but what do you imagine God feels towards the world? Does he burn with anger? Maybe he’s just indifferent and could care less about us? No. The Bible teaches that God’s love for the world was so great that he joyfully sent Jesus.
…that he gave his only begotten Son…
How do you see Jesus? Who is he? Is he like Batman (just a man, but a truly exceptional man) or like Superman (not human, but he looks like he is)? Many people have a Batman or Superman view of Jesus. But the Bible teaches that Jesus is fully God, fully man. He is more than another good teacher… he is God in flesh (John 1:14).
…that whoever believes in him…
Believing in Jesus is more than going to church or answering “Christian” when someone asks about your religious beliefs. Belief always shapes your behavior. If you say you believe a chair will hold you, but refuse to sit in it, then what’s that say about your real belief? If you say you believe in Jesus but you don’t do what he says, then what’s that say about your true beliefs? (“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” John 14:23)
…shall not perish but have eternal life.
As the Bible teaches in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Jesus came to bring hope and rescue from sin and death. Out of love God came to us, took our punishment and conquered our enemy so we could live with eternal hope. This hope comes through belief in Jesus Christ.
What Does Belief in Jesus mean?
“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
1. Who Jesus is: “Jesus is Lord.”
Confessing this means that Jesus is your king. He is your God. No longer do you trust your own heart, but you trust God’s Word (revealed through the Holy Bible).
Sin really isn’t about what we do and don’t do. Ultimately, sin is about relationship… and our rebellion against God. That’s why sin is so serious, because it dethrones God as the rightful Lord. Confessing Jesus is Lord is another way of saying, “Jesus is my king, and I will live for him, not for myself.”
2. What Jesus did: “God raised him from the dead.”
Do you believe that your only hope in life and death comes through Jesus’ victory over sin and death? Your hope doesn’t come through your own obedience, but through the obedience of Christ… and trusting in God’s grace to make you co-victorious through faith in Jesus Christ.
Believing God raised Jesus from the dead is what says, “I’m not trusting in my own goodness. All my goodness is worthless before God, because I can’t earn forgiveness. Instead, I place all my weight in the grace of God because of Jesus’ victory through the cross and empty tomb.”
Why John 3:16 Matters
Do you believe these things about Jesus? As much as we can make the Christian message complicated. John 3:16 reminds us that the gospel can also be pretty simple.
Who is Jesus?
What did Jesus accomplish?
Those are questions worth considering…