Angus "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (NKJV).
I believe that this verse is probably the most important single verse in the entire Word of God. Right through the ages, there have been preachers and teachers who have preached on and taught from this verse for weeks on end.
If we were to break up this verse into five sections, each section would cover a part of the whole plan of God concerning the redemption of mankind.
- "For God so loved the world", and we read in John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." That is what Jesus Christ has done for you and me. He paid the price that we could never pay and He did that because He loves us.
- "that He gave His only begotten Son." I have two sons of my own and eight little grandsons, whom I love dearly, and I must admit, that to think of giving up even one of them to die, for wretched sinners to be saved would be beyond me. It would have to involve an extra ordinary, supernatural act of love on my behalf and in my natural human heart that love is not there. I know it. Yet, God our Father did just that for you and me, as sinners. That is love, huge love. You know, many of us, from time to time consider the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary with grateful hearts, but I do feel we need to remember that the plan of salvation originated in the heart of our Father, who gave us His Son. He only had one Son and He was prepared to give Him up so that you and I might have eternal life.
- "that whoever believes in Him." This section is all about faith, faith in Jesus Christ to believe that He is the Son of God. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1. So by faith we believe that Jesus Christ came down from heaven to earth in the form of a babe, born in Bethlehem, that He lived among men and He was crucified on the Cross of Calvary, that He died and was buried and on the third day He rose again and is now seated on the right hand side of the Father in glory. We believe that He is coming again. We believe in eternal life and we believe in miracles. We also believe that good people don't go to heaven, believers do. They are God's born-again ones, those who have received salvation in Jesus Christ.
- "should not perish." The spirit of a man lives forever. When a man dies, his physical body is no longer alive but his spirit, which makes us the creation of God made in His image, doesn't die. That spirit is eternal. The Bible tells us that, "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) There are only two places where our spirit will dwell in eternity, with God (in paradise) or without Him (in hell). We make that choice within our lifetime on this earth, to receive God's gift of salvation in Jesus and eternal life or to reject Him.
- "but have everlasting life." And this is fantastic news for believers that the life we are going to live with Jesus will be forever. We need to remember not to get so caught up looking after our physical bodies and our physical well-being that we forget that we are not here on earth too long. This is not our home and eternity is awaiting all of us.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Many of us are familiar with the words of the hymn "Amazing Grace".
When we've been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we'd first begun.
In Psalm 119:105 (NKJV) we read "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." May the truths contained in this verse light up our path homewards.