God So Loved the World . . .

This is Love

 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”  (John 3:16-19 ESV)

I can’t think of this passage without thinking of those signs that used to appear behind the goalposts during NFL games back in the day.  I’ve got no issue with that kind of thing really.  The think is, though, that John 3:16 is an incomplete message and it’s potentially misleading in fact.  Alone, it makes it seem like Jesus is “merely” God’s Son and not actually divine in His own right.  Anyone who has read from this site  knows that I believe that Jesus’ divinity is crucial to the Christian faith.  Jesus is God.  This is also crucial to John’s Gospel and to which the author makes great pains to persude us.

By referring to Him as the Son of God, John is referring to His authority.  Jesus has all the authority of Him who sent Him in the same way an emisary of an earthly king has the authority of the ruler he represents.  When you look upon Jesus you look upon God.  His Words are God’s Words.  Believe it.  Or else disbelieve to your own peril.

We need to be careful at this point.  It’s easy to think on the above as a threat when, infact, it’s John’s precise manner of writing that makes the message seem somewhat cold.  This is Good News.  The point is not, “Believe or die.”  It’s, “Believe and Live!”  Jesus paid the price for all sins but but only those who believe this are actually saved.  The divinity of Christ is essential here since only a perfect God could pay the atoning price with His life.  If you can’t get a hold on that, then nothing else that you believe really matters in the end.  As for me, I believe in Jesus Christ.

God Bless,

Christopher

btw. Here’s a link to the entire 3rd Chapter of The Gospel According to John. (ESV)

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12 thoughts on “God So Loved the World . . .

  1. Thanks for your post. I often think of when so many followers of Jesus left him and Jesus asked the disciples if they were going to leave. Peter’s answer? Where else is there? There are times I don’t understand God’s working…but where else can I go to find the love and grace he offers? God Bless!

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  2. “Or else disbelieve to your own peril.” That was the best line I read in this one I strongly agree! Thanks for the post another great one! God Bless -WATW

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    • Hi WATW!

      John does lay it all out here in his thesis (if you will). Everyone has a choice. Believe and live or don’t believe and stay dead. I’m reading this Gospel as a daily study and am sharing a few of my thoughts. There’s more to come. Thanks for stopping by.

      God Bless,

      Christopher

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      • You write so well. All of your blogs are so thought provoking and sometimes starkly convicting, I am finding myself here more and more, keep up the good work, it does not fall on deaf ears with me and it is much appriciated! -WATW

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  3. Christopher,

    I agree with you that the Divinity of Jesus is one of the BIG points in the Gospel of John and in Christian faith. I would also add that it points us to the LIGHT of GOOD NEWS. In Jesus “GOD IS WITH US” for me this changes everything. In other words with Jesus we are no longer separated from GOD which is what SIN does. We are free to walk in the LIGHT of GOD and live. You are right, it is about believing and living and as Jesus said he came for us “to have life in abundance.”

    Thanks for your blessed insight into one of my favorite gospels…”the Gospel of John.”

    Chuck

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  4. Hi Chuck!

    Thanks for your own insights. I’m glad you stopped in for a visit. I’d only add to your comment that we are not only free to walk in the Light of the world but we are also free to be children of God and shine with that light that gives life.

    God Bless,

    Christopher

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  5. Christopher, I have evolved from Catholicism, to Fundamental Christian, to a more moderate spiritual approach. I consider myself a Reflective Christian who invites questions and is not afraid of questioning traditional believes and traditions about the Christian faith. I learned that I can question and fight with God, without necessarily jeopardizing my relationship with Him. I also believe that Matthew 5 (the Beatitudes) is the main subject of the Gospel, not John 3:16. I know this might sound controversial, but I have learned that Jesus came to teach us how to live the Kingdom of Heaven by serving others unconditionally. Jesus showed us the example. Whether we should worship Jesus as God remains a mystery to me. What I am sure about is that we are here to show the love to each other that Jesus showed us, which is true worshiping. It is hard because we live in the selfish flesh, but Jesus called us to be perfect like God is perfect. It is a challenged that we must accept in order to be Saved.

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    • Thomas’ words in Chapter 20 verse 28, I believe, is the crux of John’s Gospel. The Beatitudes are definitely a key component of Matthew’s Gospel, that’s for sure. Don’t you think that Jesus’ serving other’s so faithfully even to the point of death is even more poignant with the knowledge that He is God?

      Gd Bless,

      Christopher

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      • Christopher, Yes Jesus served others faithfully even to the point of death, and so did Peter and the rest of the disciples. Jesus said “You will do greater things than I did…” and “You are the salt of the earth…” He gave us so much credit, and he refused to be a King or be called God (he was humble) because I think this could have obscured his true message of love and mercy. I don’t doubt that Jesus could possibly be God, whatever or whoever God may exactly be. All I know and understand is that Jesus showed us a way to be closer to God, by loving our neighbors as we love ourselves (the new commandment). If this means that He is God, amen. In other words, I believe that experiencing God (or Truth or Heaven or whatever you want to call it) is denying our selfish and natural lives, and reaching out to serve others the same way we would serve ourselves. It is not easy, which is why Jesus called it the “narrow path” but must be done to be “born again”. And, let me be clear, this is not through our own strengths (“Saved by works alone”) but through the genuine belief that it is through God’s intervention that we are able to live this difficult life of serving others, which is through Faith, manifested by our actions. God bless.

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