Undoubtedly the most loved and most often quoted verse in all the Word of God is John 3:16. Children memorize it early, and many songs have been written based on it.
This verse contains eleven ultimate truths. Nicodemus asked Jesus questions, and He had answers that covered everything from the Father’s planning of salvation, to the importance of believing in Christ alone, to the possession of eternal life.
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Below is an outline and brief notes on this great verse:
For God The ultimate Potentate
Whenever "God" is mentioned in Scripture, the reference is normally to God the Father unless there is something in the context that tells us about the Holy Spirit or Jesus. It is obvious that it was the Father Who sent His Son here.
God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things. He is holy, eternal, and omniscient. Because He has done all this and has these amazing attributes, He is also the sovereign Ruler of all things. This is why He is listed here as the "ultimate Potentate."
so The ultimate plan
The word "so" does not mean "so much," but rather "in this way," and that suggests a plan from God the Father. In some existence known only to God, long before He created the heavens and the earth, He came up with the plan of salvation. No doubt Jesus and the Holy Spirit agreed, and the plan was made sure.
Jesus was to be virgin born, live a sinless life, bear the sins of the whole world in His body, shed His blood to pay for man’s sin, be buried and in the grave for three days, and be raised from the dead to make the offer of eternal life legitimate.
loved The ultimate passion
This is the agape love that was discussed earlier in the chapter concerning the fruit of the Spirit. How could a holy God allow His Son to die for sinners such as we all are? The only possible answer is His amazing love!
the world The ultimate population
The blood of Christ is sufficient for all mankind, no matter how old, no matter whether they lived in ancient, medieval, or even modern times, no matter what an individual’s situation might be. God loves the entire world, and Christ dies for all in it. It certainly breaks the great heart of God when people reject His Son and the message of the Gospel.
that He gave The ultimate present
What more valuable gift could God give than His Son, our Savior? He gave His Son with Whom He had close fellowship from all eternity, knowing that when He would bear our sins on the cross the fellowship would have to be broken for a period of time. What love!
Any parent reading this book realizes that seeing your child suffer is much more agonizing than going through the pain. God the Father endured that as well, willingly giving His only Son!
only begotten Son The ultimate Person
The word translated "only begotten" is monogenes in the Greek and should be understood to indicate His special relationship with the Father and ability to save mankind.
He created all things, as did the Father (John 1:1-3), He is the Son of God (John 3:16), and the idea of His being begotten of His Father is expressed earlier in this Gospel:
No man hath seen God at any time: the only begotten (monogenes, as in John 3:16) Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him (John 1:18).
Jesus is both God (having been begotten of the Father) and man (having been born as a human from the womb of Mary).
The point, however, is that Jesus Christ is the only One Who could save mankind. He is God, and therefore sinless; He is man, and therefore capable of dying for man.
No other person who ever lived (or ever will live, for that matter) meets those requirements.
that whosoever The ultimate potential
It really doesn’t matter to God how rich, poor, educated, ignorant, or famous a person might be. God invites people from all backgrounds to the wonderful salvation He offers through His Son Jesus Christ.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely (Revelation 22:17).
believeth in Him The ultimate placement
Some people have the idea that it takes a tremendous amount of faith in order to be saved. Frankly, it is far more important that whatever faith a person has be placed in the right Person (our Savior, Jesus Christ) than how much faith he might have.
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).
What Jesus meant here is that even the smallest amount of faith, if it is genuine and placed in God, can accomplish great things. A mustard seed is extremely small, but it grows into a plant in time.
God can take a little and make it into much!
The question is this: will a man place his faith in Christ or in some other place? This decision is crucial, for there is no other way to be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).
should not perish The ultimate panacea
A "panacea" is a "cure all." Jesus can and has cured all kinds of diseases of the body, and He is surely the only remedy to the diseases of the soul.
Imagine that a medical researcher one day soon comes up with a great breakthrough, announcing to all that he has discovered a cure for lung cancer. It is a sure cure, and it is relatively inexpensive.
People from all over the world would be thrilled and give great honor to that man.
Jesus, however, offers a total cure that lasts forever, no matter how great the sin might be! It does not matter what the nature of the sin is, whether it was committed at a young age or an old age, or how awful man may think it is. Jesus paid for that sin, and belief in Him carries with it the promise that such a person will not perish! Surely God cannot lie about a matter like this!
but have The ultimate possession
The Greek verb here is in the present tense. This means a believer continually has the eternal life God offers!
everlasting life The ultimate promise
For hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, man has sought a "fountain of youth." Of course, the efforts have failed to prolong life much, and eventually all pass away and must face God.
The promise of this verse is that the salvation that comes by faith in Christ produces eternal life.
The simplest way to explain the last three phrases in John 3:16 would be this: if you are genuinely saved, your eternal salvation is as sure as the promises of God—you will not perish; you have an enduring possession; God gives you eternal life! What a verse, what promises, and what a salvation! To God be the glory, for He has done this for all of us who are truly unworthy!
I Know Whom I Have Believed by Daniel C. Whittle
I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love,
Redeemed me for His own.
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith within.
But I know Whom I have believed,
And am persuaded
That He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day!
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