Saturday, February 11, 2012

A strange favorite verse of multitudes

A strange verse of multitudes indeed is John 3:16, and why pre tell would I say that such a widespread love for this verse is 'strange'? Well my dear reader it has much to do with our times and perhaps the human heart in general, for man has and has always had a relativistic understanding. By relativism I mean what was said by Plato "The way things appear to me, in that way they exist for me; and the way things appears to you, in that way they exist for you" and such is a good summary of the wisdom of a fool! It is quite the norm to see someone throw out a quote from history and to derive whatever meaning they feel suits their our opinion despite the fact that the original author hadn't the slightest ounce of harmony with such a view.

To have one's words relatively interpreted may indeed be quite annoying, but O how dangerous and even sinful is it to do so with the words of GOD! This my dear reader brings us to our text and favorite memory verse: John 3:16
*For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life*
(yeah I brought out the KJV on this one)
In this beautiful scripture contains the great love by which God has provided eternal life for us. Unfortunately this scripture is rarely explained and even rarer is how often it's explained correctly.
Sure we could get into the exact meaning of 'world', but that isn't my purpose, although I do believe the strongest support is found in understanding the emphasis on the 'whosoever' in the overall book of John, for in this gospel (and even in this chapter '3:8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”) we find numerous examples of Sovereign election and the gift to believe given not by the "will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13).
And now back to our regularly scheduled program: It is quite normal to find John 3:16 used as a springboard to present God as a snugly teddy bear who wants to help you and make you feel better while at the same time giving you a free ticket to heaven! Yes even though this verse contains a reference to eternal damnation, few EVER see it as such and even fewer consider that they themselves are being confronted with a reality that they are indeed sinners who are headed towards damnation UNLESS they believe in God!
Yes it's quite remarkable how many times in this chapter Jesus mentions Hell directly or indirectly ("unless you be born again, you shall NOT ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"= You will go to Hell if God doesn't supernaturally transform you into a new creature!). See what i mean? that squeamishness people (perhaps you) experience when they hear such words and it's intended meaning?
One major rule of biblical interpretation is CONTEXT, CONTEXT, CONTEXT, and RELATIVISM is lord of ripping words/phrases out of context, and the people of God MUST not allow themselves to fall prey to this! Biblical illiteracy is indeed at an all time low, and few EVER study the word of God let alone read it enough to become familiar with it, and when this happens people will either look for some pastor to take the role of an apostate POPE and blindly follow him as an infallible vicar of Christ OR they will revert to discovering truth by relying on their subjective understanding (typically mixed with some truths that they do understand) and such is extremely dangerous!
Yes John 3:16 is a strange passage for some many to love who are quite uncomfortable with the doctrine of Hell and of Justice, even a beloved verse of those who don't walk with God! It is this reason why we should not be satisfied with merely quoting this verse, nor hearing someones appreciation for it, rather we should always be wondering 'but WHAT do they THINK this means?'.
Furthermore in CONTEXT, we find Jesus going further to point out the condition of mankind although many stop short of reaching such an explanation. Some will go as far as reading verse 17 "
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."
Can u hear it now? All the 'AMEN!!!'s and "PRAISE THE LORD"s, yes the 'that's right, Jesus didn't come to beat us down, and to make us feel horrible, He knows our heart, He came to spread LOVE (peace sign), He came to help, He came to save us from...whatever we want' Ugh! However this scripture is NOT saying "Jesus didn't expose sin" or 'Jesus didn't tell anyone directly that they were sinners and would go to Hell' because Jesus did exactly that and did it often! What this means is that Jesus didn't bring a final judgment upon each man while He was on this earth, for if He did no man would be alive now, in otherwords Jesus didn't come to give men what they presently deserved, for all would have been sent immediately to Hell! How do we know that this is a better understanding, a more precise interpretation? CONTEXT! CONTEXT! CONTEXT! John 3:18 (next verse)
"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."
Consider then the charge against all men BEFORE they 'choose' which way they shall go, they are ALREADY condemned! The Lord isn't withholding His verdict, it's already been made and the scriptures are clear that the wrath of God abides (hangs over) everyone who doesn't believe! Furthermore we see in the next verse that the verdict upon each individual has to do specifically with their relation to God and His words, His laws: John 3:19
"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."
It all comes down to sin, it is the fact that we are sinners and we love our sin, this is what condemns all men, this is the unmistakable common bond of all mankind, we are rebels against God. God then in His justice, in His unalterable holiness will not allow such treason to go unpunished, therefore all sin will be fully paid! This is what makes the love of God to those who believe so amazingly grand, that God orchestrated a way for His enemies to be reconciled to Him, to be saved from HIM, not saved from a place called Hell and it's fury but to be said from the wrath/fury of God who sends men to His Hell. Yes this Jesus, His beloved Son did the unthinkable, he took on human flesh, obeyed the Father perfectly, and gave His life as a ransom for many, Jesus DRANK THE HELL men deserve, so that those who believe, those who turn to God, those who submit to the Lord Most High will be saved and given eternal life (life in and with Christ)!!!!!!
We could even go further and point out that to 'believe' entails much more then simply speaking some words, or agreeing with truth, for what we find in this chapter and confirmed by numerous passages throughout scripture is that a supernatural change must and will take place. A change so dramatic that the title 'born-again' fits perfectly, a change from 'loving darkness' to 'loving light' in otherwords if we truly believe we will LOVE Jesus and HATE our sin, we will come into the 'Light' and walk in the light!

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