The word ‘gospel’ means good news. The apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
What was the first verse of scripture you memorized? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
We can become so familiar with that verse that we do not recognize the treasures and truths it contains. I want to share with you four very powerful truths that I see in John 3:16:
1. The Reason for God Providing Salvation.
“For God so loved the world.” His plan to redeem fallen mankind was motivated by His love for us. The apostle John who seems to have been especially close to Jesus wrote “God is love.” (1 John 4:16) He said in John 3:16 “God so loved ….” He didn’t just love us. He so loved us. I wish I could fathom the significance of that little work ‘so’.
I think Paul tried to do an exposition on it in Ephesians 3:17–19 when he wrote: “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Take time to reflect on what Paul wrote because I think it comes very close to helping us understand “God so loved.” It was His love for us that motivated Him to provide salvation for the whole world.
2. What it cost God to Redeem Fallen Man.
“that He gave His only begotten Son.”
God wants to pardon us for our sins. His salvation is a free
gift to us BUT it costs Him dearly. Freedom is never free. Just think of how many men and women over the years paid the ultimate price that we might be a ‘free people’.
The very word ‘redeem’ is pregnant with the idea of a purchase paid for with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. The apostle Peter grasped this truth when he wrote ”knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1Peter 1:18-19)
Listen to what Paul wrote (Romans 5:18) “but God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US.”
Salvation is God’s promise to us of abundant and eternal life by the sacrifice of Christ on a Roman cross outside of the city of Jerusalem.
3. We see what is required of us to receive this salvation “that whoever believes in Him.”
There is no more sacrifice necessary for our salvation. Jesus made a once and for all sacrifice to atone for mankind’s sin.
In Peter 16:30 the Philippian jailor who had witnessed God setting Paul and Silas free from their prison, asked: “What must I do to be saved?” In the very next verse, Paul gives him this answer- “Believe on the LORD JESUS CHRIST, and you will be saved.” The same requirement is clearly set forth in our text …. “that whosoever believes in Him.” Whoever puts their faith trust in Jesus Christ will experience and receive the salvation God has promised and provided.
4. The Awesome Result When We Received the Salvation Purchased by Christ.
“should not perish but have everlasting life.”
God does not want anyone to perish. (2 Peter 3:9) God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezek 18:32) Listen to what Jesus said immediately after our text. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:17-18)
Just think – everlasting life! Forever with our Savior who gave His all for us.
I want to close this study with something very special. I wish I knew who wrote this but God knows and I am sure He was pleased with it. He explained John 3:16 as follows –
For God – the greatest Lover.
so loved – the greatest degree.
the world – the greatest company.
that He gave – the greatest act.
His only begotten Son – the greatest gift.
that whosoever – the greatest opportunity.
believes – the greatest simplicity.
in Him – the greatest attraction.
should not perish – the greatest promise.
but – the greatest difference.
have – the greatest certainty
everlasting life – the greatest possession.
In closing, let me remind you that God knows you, loves you, and wants the very best for your life
By His grace,