Friday, May 16, 2008

John 3:16 Everything that matters

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."

Looking at this verse the first thing we read about is God’s love. “God so loved the world.” Why shouldn’t He? He created it all. God made the heavens and the earth and everything in them, and that everything even includes us. Nothing happened by chance. Nothing took place apart from God’s knowledge. No, everything down to the last detail was according to his plan, for his purpose, and by his power. At the end of the sixth day after he had created everything, Genesis 1:31 states “Then God saw everything he had made, and indeed it was very good.”

But of all the things God has created the dearest and most beloved is us. God made us just so he could love us. Why else would he make us in his own image? He didn’t make cows, dogs, or donkeys in his image. No, that honor was reserved for us. God loves us so much that he blessed us and set us apart from everything else he had created. Genesis 1:28 declares “Then God blessed them, and God said to them,’ Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’” God told Adam and Eve “I want you to be in charge down there, and watch over all the things I have created. While you’re at it, go ahead and make more of yourselves so that I can love them too.” Can you believe this? With out a doubt we can see that even from the very beginning God has intended to love us.

Now that we know that God loves us, it seems as though the word “perish” is what stands out most in our verse. To perish means to be destroyed or ruined. Not a word we usually find in the same sentence with love. Looking at John 3:16 again we see “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” So how are we going to perish and from what? If there were a chance that I could be ruined or destroyed, I’d like to know why?

God made us so he could love us, but that love was never meant to be a one way street. All God wanted was for us to love him back. He desires a relationship with each one of us. God wants us to love him more than anything else in this world because he loves us more than anything else in this world.

Adam and Eve lived in paradise. God freely provided everything they needed. He told them they could eat anything from the garden they wanted except the fruit from just one particular tree. If they truly loved God above everything else they could show it by not eating the fruit of this tree. It doesn’t seem like he is asking too much out of them, but unfortunately, it was more than they could handle. It wasn’t long before they both ate of that forbidden fruit: disobeying God’s command. In the instant that they gave in to their desires, they proved that their love for God was not above all other loves. If they had loved him more than they loved themselves, they would not have put their desires above his.

When we break one of God’s commandments it is called sin. When we fail to love God more than anything else it is sin. Adam and Eve sinned in the garden but they’re not the only ones. Every single person after them has sinned as well. None of us is off the hook. Romans 3:10 say “There is none righteous, no, not one.” To be righteous means to be right: right according to God’s perfect standard. Which is impossible as Romans 3:23 states, “For all have sinned and fall short of glory of God.”

Well so what! We’re all sinners! Nobody’s perfect. Why should I care? Well that takes us back to our word “perish”. Romans 6:23 declares “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What does it mean, “the wages of our sin is death”?

God is a righteous judge. He can not ignore our sins against him. We owe God a “wage”, a payment to be made to him to cover the cost of our sin. That cost is our life.We are all going to die some day. We hope it is not until we are very old but, we all know it will come. We normally think of death as physical death: the separation of our life from this world. That is not the separation being spoken of here. Our sin has caused us to have a separation of our life from God. This is spiritual death. God loves us but sin damages the relationship between us. While we are on this earth our sins keep us from having fellowship with God. The wage we owe God is yet unpaid so that we cannot experience the love that we were created to have with him.

This wage will finally be paid when we die. The end result of our death will be our eternal separation from God in hell. In hell we will bear the weight of our penalty for sin. We will be forever in torment, apart from God, without hope of ever sharing his love again.

I think I can safely say that none of wants to perish. Being eternally separated from God and tormented in hell doesn’t appeal to anyone. What can we do? There has to be something I can do to make this right. The hard truth is that there is nothing we can do to fix this. The penalty we owe is what we owe. There is nothing we can offer in exchange.

If God really loves us than there has to be another way.

The good news is that God has provided another way. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God doesn’t want any of us to perish, so he sent his Son Jesus to save us from our sins. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How does Jesus save us by dying? I Peter 2:24 says that, “[Jesus] bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.” On this earth Jesus lived a perfect sinless life but on the cross he took our sins upon himself and suffered the punishment we owe God the Father. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For [God] made [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus paid the wages of our sin. God poured out all the wrath we deserve on his own Son, so that our debt could be forgiven.

This is unbelievable? Jesus died for me? No one has ever loved me that much. Now that I know that he paid for my sins what should I do?

Jesus did die for your sins, but that’s not all. Three days later he rose from the grave to be our living hope, our Savior who now lives with God in heaven. He has paid the price. He has finished the job. All we have to do is to repent of our sins and place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for our salvation. God promises us that who ever believes in Jesus will not perish but will one day live with him forever in heaven.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

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