Jayme and I have been discussing the Gospel of John for our Thursday Bible series this month. Recently we got to one of the Bible’s signature verses, the one that’s been paraded around on signs for years- John 3:16.
“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.” (NIV).
I sometimes get concerned that the “parading” of this verse has weakened its significance. That shouldn’t happen. John 3 is important; critical to our faith. So what’s the big deal?
Here’s the big deal. The entire sequence of John 3 is Jesus teaching Nicodemus about the concept of eternal life, or getting into the kingdom of God. I like what The Promise Keepers Bible says about John 3: it addresses the one most important issue you face- discovering who Jesus is, and either accepting or rejecting His words and His identity as truth.
Jesus taught Nicodemus the plan of redemption in three basic parts:
1- God loves us infinitely and unconditionally and still seeks us despite our rebellion.
2- God demonstrated that love by giving his Son (Jesus) for us, while we were still in sinful rebellion against Him.
3- We must believe in Jesus in order to receive God’s forgiveness and enter his kingdom. Believing in Him means we follow His teachings and commands.
When we read John 3, it’s also important that we don’t forget what author and pastor David Platt’s book Radical calls “one of the most neglected verses concerning God’s wrath.” It’s the last verse of the passage, John 3:36:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (NIV).
The truth is, we need God. We need Jesus. Platt calls it “our desperate need for Christ.” Accepting or rejecting Him IS the one most important issue we face. We become reconciled to God through our belief and trust in Him. Let’s take the time to consider if we are truly trusting in Christ for our salvation!