“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 must be one of the most popular verses in the Bible but how many readers truly understand what it means?
For God so loved the world
Contrary to some beliefs, the word “world” in this text does not refer to the planet. In both New and Old Testament it refers to the population. God loves those He created in His own image. When He created the first man and woman He put them in a garden paradise and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Then along came Satan.
Satan hates God and he hates man with a passion. Man was perfect in the beginning and Satan couldn’t stand it. He separated God and man at the fall and brought a curse on the whole Earth. Satan is well aware of the fact that God’s holiness demands obedience and that the penalty for disobedience (sin) is death.
God loved the world so much that He broke into history and entered His creation to put an end to the sin problem once and for all. He knew that man could never pay the penalty for a lifetime of sin. If God allowed sin to go unpunished He would be unjust. But if the debt wasn’t paid, man would perish.
He gave his only begotten Son
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God… and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1&14)
The preposition “with” in this verse is from the Greek word “pros” which means face to face. One can’t be face to face with one’s self. This is a glimpse of the Holy Trinity. Jesus Christ is the visible image of the invisible God and possesses the Godhead fully.
Nevertheless, He emptied himself, took on the form of a man, and in obedience to the Father He allowed Himself to be crucified. The infinite worth of the sinless life of the Son of God was more than sufficient to cover the sin debt of man. Justice was served!
Whosoever believes in Him will not perish
Jesus rose from the grave three days after his burial and ultimately ascended back to heaven. He now sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Those who realize that due to the sin in their lives (we are all sinners) they cannot approach a holy God and understand that their sins were dealt with at the cross they can call upon the name of the Lord and be saved.
All souls are immortal and when the body dies the soul goes into everlasting life or everlasting punishment. Those who die in Christ go straight to Him into eternal life. “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:6-8)
Those who don’t belong to Christ will go into everlasting punishment. “He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power.” (2Thess. 1:7-9)
The Bible was written over a period of 1500 years and was penned by forty different authors over three different continents and archeology has proven its authenticity over and over again. It is a supernatural book inspired by God and has the power to change even the hardest of hearts.
Jesus Christ took our sins with him to the cross but we must believe it, turn from sin, turn to Christ, and receive Him as Lord. Someday every knee will bow to the Lord Jesus Christ whether in heaven or in hell. (Phil 2:10)
“For God so loved the world (mortal man) that He gave His only begotten Son (fully God, fully man) that whosoever believes in Him (trusts and relies on Him and the atonement made at Calvary) shall not perish (enter eternal punishment-see corruption) but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)