By Kris Robinson
John 3:16 (NIV)
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.
John 3:15b-18; (NIV) –
… that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:16 is an oft quoted verse; in the past, I could remember it wouldn’t be unlikely that you would hear this quoted even in mainstream media. Now, having organizations that complain about religious matters, maybe John 3:16 isn’t as quoted as much. In fact I can’t tell you the last time I even saw a sign at a sporting event that had it; so, I digress…
“If you died today, where would you spend eternity?”
“What if God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into Heaven?””
“Can you answer these questions with confidence?”
I titled this post the way I did because John 3:16 is ‘The Promise!’. David Earley suggests that everything else in our lives pales in comparison to whether or not we know this promise and asks the questions above.
The questions are tough, and maybe so the answers. Unfortunately, we take our Christian lives for granted and may have asked ourselves these questions at initial-sanctification (Wesleyan term for salvation) and only now, ask them intellectually? What I mean is that we go on casually, ‘business’ as usual, and not really see ourselves how we might truly be (see Ro. 3:23); John MacArthur noted something to this effect in his book, The Jesus You Can’t Ignore; “the Pharisees didn’t think about seeking righteousness, because they believed they perfected it!”. I pray God that I never think too highly of myself (Ro. 12:3), that I act justly, love mercy and seek humbly after you as Micah wrote (Mic. 6:8) because you are a righteous God who loves justice, and the upright will see Your face (Ps. 11:7).
Too, It is easy to feel condemnation based on your answers, especially if that old friend, Doubt, starts to reach out to you. But the great thing about John 3:16 is vv. 17-18a; Christ didn’t come to condemn, and like I mentioned in my sermon on Isaiah 6:8, God doesn’t condemn either; He wants us to be free and live a life cleansed of sin & eternal death (Ro. 6:23). “God really loves you. You are more than a random gathering of highly evolved atoms. You are a person God loves and for whom Jesus died. You are someone God wants to spend eternity with. You are a candidate for eternal life” (David Earley, 21 Greatest Promises).
Truthfully ask and answer the questions in this post. Then answer these:
- Have I been living like my ‘new’ self, or has the ‘Old man’ (2 Cor. 5:17) been coming back to visit?
- How’s my relationship with God been?
- Is my faith more than intellectual (see James 2:19), because God did more than give us His Word just for knowledge?
- John Maxwell suggests to leaders, “people do, what they see.” If we are to influence and lead others to Christ so that they can share in eternity with us; Valuing, Connecting, Serving and Loving People are good starting points. So, how have you been doing in those four areas?
Kris Robinson is an Associate Pastor at Free Life Community Church in Terre Haute, Indiana