Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amazing Love - John 3:14-21 (Part 2)

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.
For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish, but have eternal life.
God did not send the Son into the world
to condemn the world, but that the world
should be saved through Him.
He who believes in Him is not judged,
he who does not believe has been judged already,
because he has not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the judgment,
that the light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the light;
for their deeds were evil.
For everyone who does evil hates the light,
and does not come to the light,
lest his deeds should be exposed.
But he who practices the truth comes to the light,
that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
(vs 14-21)
Are there any better known words in all of Scripture than John 3:16? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Here is, as Luther put it, “the gospel in miniature.” Here is the crux of it all in capsule form. Here is the finest cliff note version of the gospel that you’ll ever see.

Well known words, yet not known well enough. Familiar words, yet perhaps so familiar that we miss their grandeur. This day, my heart and mind have been stirred anew at the awesomeness of their message and I pray that yours will be as well.

Note, first of all, that it is from God that all of these blessings flow. “For GOD so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...” The salvation of sinners was all His idea. He is the grand initiator. He is the first cause. He is the spring from which this grand fountain flows. He is the great and divine mover who gets salvation’s ball rolling. We owe all to Him and to His love.

Secondly, note how great this love that begins with God is. “For God SO loved the world…” Have two tiny letters ever communicated as much as the word “so” does in this verse. Bishop Sanderson is quoted as saying, “How much that ‘so’ containeth no tongue or wit of man can reach.” God SO loved the world. We see the enormous depth of that “so” when we see the end that it accomplished. “God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” God loved sinful, fallen, rebellious man SO much that He gave Christ to die for us!! Can it truly be? Could God have loved the world so much that He gave Jesus to die in our place that we might live in His? “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!”

Ryle writes in his commentary notes the following regarding verse 16:

“A more startling declaration is impossible to conceive. A more wonderful verse is not to be found in the Bible! That God should love such a wicked world as this, and not hate it – that He should love it so as to provide salvation – that in order to provide salvation He should give, not an angel, or any created being, but such a priceless gift as His only begotten Son that this great salvation should be freely offered to everyone that believeth – all, all this is wonderful indeed!”

Were it not “impossible for God to lie” I’m not sure that I could believe it. It is beyond amazing. It is beyond miraculous. It is beyond comprehension. Yet its truth is that which has changed my life and scores of others! “God so loved the world – and me as one who lives and breathes His air in this fallen world – that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

This is indeed amazing love. Christ came not to judge us but to save us (vs 17). The channel through which this salvation is applied to us is by the means of belief. “…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” It is not of works, lest any man should boast. It is not of blood line or wealth or education or any THING. It is of faith – “and this is not of yourselves it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8-9).

I turn again to Ryle and his comments on these verses for they ring forth as a clarion call to those in need of saving mercy.

“Faith in the Lord Jesus is the very key of salvation. He that has it has life, and he that has it not has not life. Nothing whatever beside this faith is necessary to our complete justification; but nothing whatever, except this faith, will give us an interest in Christ. We may fast and mourn for sin, and do many things that are right, and use religious ordinances, and give all our goods to feed the poor, and yet remain unpardoned, and lose our souls. But if we will only come to Christ as guilty sinners, and believe on Him, our sins shall at once be forgiven, and our iniquities shall be entirely put away. Without faith there is no salvation; but through faith in Jesus the vilest sinner may be saved.”

Dear ones, – God loved. God SO loved that He gave. God SO loved that He gave His only begotten Son. God So loved that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. God loved and God gave. The crucial question for each of us is have we believed? That is the question of questions. At the end of this life it is the only question that will matter of all the questions ever asked of us. Our answer to that question is the hinge pin upon which the gates of heaven and hell swing. There is no other question of such inestimable value. There is no answer which will bring about such eternal consequences. Oh sinner, do you believe?

Believing, and praying that you will as well,

No comments:

Post a Comment