Almost everyone knows John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Many more do not know the next verse, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”
We recently celebrated the resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus the Christ, or Yeshua Ha Mashiach if you prefer. There is a purpose to everything God does. The third chapter of the Gospel of John is so very profound taking us even beyond the revelation that Jesus is the Son of God.
Jesus told Nicodemus, a Pharisee and teacher of the Jews, that a man (or woman) must be born-again in order to see or enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3-6). John 3:16 tells us that believing in the Son is how a person becomes born-again.
There are people in the world who profess to be Christian who are preaching a message of hate. God hates nearly everything according to their gospel. However, this is in direct contradiction to practically everything the Bible teaches, God SO LOVED THE WORLD, is a foundational truth. God is holy and a holy and just God cannot abide or accept evil and sin in His presence.
The very presence of God would simply destroy anything that is evil. Yet because of His great love for all mankind God wants to bring all of His creation, especially mankind, into a close, intimate, loving relationship with Himself. The Scripture tells us that God searched through all time to find a redeemer and was astounded that none could ever be found so He Himself stretched forth his right arm to bring salvation to the world.
“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.”
The entire chapter of Isaiah 59 describes the condition of the world, full of sin and iniquity, everyone running after their own ways; none seeking God or His ways. A God of justice doesn’t have to provide a redeemer or offer salvation to sinners. (And we are all sinners.) All those who think they don’t need a redeemer should simply read the Ten Commandments. Everyone has broken them and some more than others. But breaking even one brings condemnation.
The Law of Moses was given to prove to men how utterly worthless their own efforts to keep that law would be, and how desperately they needed a redeemer. The Redeemer didn’t just forgive sin; He paid the penalty for the sin so that God could receive the sinner into His presence as though he had never sinned. To do that God gave His only uniquely begotten Son to live a sin free life and then take upon Himself the sins of the entire world and die for them.
Jesus freely gave His life for us and He did this not just because He loves us, but because He loved the Father. And the Father’s will was more important to Him than His own will. He said He always did what His Father wanted Him to do.
Looking further into the third chapter of John we see a few more things that are vital to understanding what it means to be saved. First, what are we being saved from?
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
According to this we are being saved from condemnation. We are already condemned because of sin. Jesus said that He is the light that came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light. Those who are willing to acknowledge their sin and need for a redeemer come to the Light. Not because they are better than others but because they hate the darkness and love the light.
Isaiah 59:9-10 describes us this way:
“ Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.
We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.”
When you see justice perverted in the land and violence and evil abounding in our society, know that men are just doing what their nature produces — because unless a person is born-again by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, they do not have an understanding of how to walk in the light. Many seem to think ethics and character produce righteousness and make a man okay, even with God. Not so.
All of a Man’s good works, good deeds and so called righteous acts are worthless and like filthy rags in Gods sight. This is because His ways are so much higher than ours, and His way is the only way.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.”
Jesus plainly told everyone that He was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no man comes to the Father except by Him (John 14:6). In addition, John the Baptist whose words are also recorded in John 3 testified that Jesus was the Christ, the Lamb that would take away the sins of the world. He also states that the Spirit was given to Jesus without measure.
This was because Jesus was to become the One who would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
There it is. The plan of salvation is that God Himself paid the price through His Son, Jesus Christ, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary; so that He was fully human and fully God at the same time. Yet Jesus did all that He accomplished by the Holy Spirit given to Him in order to complete the mission of saving mankind.
We were already condemned and under the wrath of God because we are born under the curse of sin and death which came upon the whole world by one man, Adam. This happened when he rebelled against God’s word and chose to follow the lie Satan used to deceive Eve.
Romans 5 is a detailed explanation of all that is accomplished through Jesus. For as all died and came under the curse through Adam, all who believe will be made righteous through Jesus Christ. You may want to read the entire chapter and even the entire book, because those who preach hate take many Scriptures out of context in this , and attempt to justify their message.
“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.”
Only a completely righteous man could pay the penalty for our sins. Jesus, by not having a natural man as His father, was able to pay the penalty for our sins because He was not born from the blood of a human father but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
There is much more to this than I am expounding here but this is sufficient to show that only through Jesus Christ, the Risen Savior and only begotten Son of God can men find salvation from the condemnation and wrath they are born under.
Jesus is the only man who could meet the criterion needed to be the lamb that would purchase redemption for the human race. There was never a man more righteous and there will never be another like Him. Yet dying for the sins of the world is only a small part of what Jesus actually accomplished.
The Father God who sent Jesus was after a people that would come to Him out of their love for Him, not out of fear of condemnation.
In other words, salvation is not and was never intended to be fire insurance or a get out of jail free card. God is calling His children to Himself through the promise of freedom from death and offering eternal life with a new nature that will never fail to love the Father.
The truth is that without the new birth there is no redemption. In reality Man in his current condition is irredeemable and without Jesus Christ dying there would be no new nature given by the Holy Spirit. The Father has chosen His Son to be the first born of His forever children. Jesus prophesied this in John 7.
“He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
It seems from this Scripture that the only way for the Spirit to become free to inhabit the believer or to create the new creature in the believer, Jesus first had to be born human, die on the cross and be raised from the dead and ascend to the Father.
It is very notable that when Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection he “breathed on them” saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22).
This happened on the day He rose from the grave. First He appeared to Mary, then He ascended to the Father and walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He then appeared to the disciples and showed His wounds. How exciting this must have been for them who were mourning his death and terrified. Yet it appears that some of them still did not believe.
Believing is always a choice. Some do not believe even the evidence in front of their own eyes. Do you believe? Believing is more than a mental or even verbal acknowledgment of a truth but it is a decision to accept the Truth as revealed in God’s Word. Truth presented by eyewitnesses who did believe. Do rivers of living water flow to and through you to the world?
They do if you are a true believer and have met the risen Savior in His Word and Spirit. For as Jesus told the woman of Samaria at the well that all who believe in Him must worship in Spirit and Truth and they can do this as a result of receiving the Living Water that comes from the Spirit of Truth when you believe.
When you believe you will be baptized into union with Christ Jesus through the Holy Spirit who will deposit in you the gift of eternal life and you will become a new creature with Living Water in your spirit and soul. So do you see why I said this is not fire insurance or a get out of jail free card?
Jesus came to give us life, eternal life and a new nature that will never be separated from Him. If all you have done is give a sort of mental assent that Jesus is a nice guy and you should try to be more like Him, give it up. You cannot ever become like Him unless you first give yourself completely to Him and BELIEVE! Paul put it like this:
“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Verse 9 says, confess Jesus is Lord and believe that He has risen from the dead and you shall be saved. There it is, too simple for some, foolishness to others but to those that believe and confess it is the power of God to become sons and daughters of God.
You don’t need a formula prayer or a priest or penance or even to tell God what a sinner you are, He knows. Just believe, confess He is Lord and in that process you will learn to abhor sin and treasure His Word that will transform your mind and wash you clean.
And you will—like all of us who believe—long for His return. For Jesus left us with the promise that He is coming back and His return is nearer today than ever before.
Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal these words, don’t let the cares of life choke them so you become unfruitful. And don’t let your believing only be mental consent. Let the Word of truth take deep root in you so that you will grow and mature and be blessed by our Father in heaven in all that you do.
With love in Christ,
Your sister, Linda.