For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
This verse reveals the heart and purpose of God-the great truth that motivated his plan of salvation for humankind. God’s love is deep and wide enough to embrace to all persons.
God “gave” his Son (who also gave himself willingly) as an offering to pay the price for the sin of all humanity. This act was one of complete, undeserved love. God did not have to provide this sacrifice for us; it was not something that was forced upon him.
To believe (Greek “pisteuo”) includes three main elements: (1) a faith and confidence that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the only Savior for a spiritually lost humanity; (2) an act of surrender that turns over to Christ the leadership of one’s life and an attitude of submission that continues to obey Christ; and (3) the trust and assurance that Christ is both able and willing to complete a person’s salvation by bringing him or her to live with him forever in heaven. Keep in mind that to “believe” in the true Biblical sense is not just a mental exercise; it is an active trust that surrenders the leadership of one’s life to Christ. Real faith continues to show trust through selfless action, obedience and service.
“Perish” is a term in this verse that can be easily overlooked in the context of the wonderful gift of grace that God offers. It is the tragic consequence of rejecting God. To perish does not point to physical death but to the dreadful reality of spiritual death and eternal punishment.
“Eternal life” is God’s gift to those who accept Christ’s sacrifice and forgiveness for sins and become “born again” spiritually. It is not something that can be earned by good works or personal effort; it is a gift that must be received. “Eternal” is more than simply living forever; it is a quality of existence that begins even in this life-it is the opportunity to know God now. It is a life that frees us from the power of sin and Satan and allows us to live spiritually beyond earthly things in order to develop an eternal relationship with God. And that is what Easter is really all about.
Today’s Bible Readings:
Joshua 11-12, Luke 17:11-37, Psalm 84:1-12 and Proverbs 13:5-6