For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Some might say, well there you have it, all one must do is believe and everyone who believes will be saved. A friend once told me that if one reads this verse and believes it, then he is going to heaven, nothing else is required. But wait a minute, James 2:19 says, “Thou believest there is one God; thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble.” If all one must do is believe, then it stands to reason that the devils will also be saved, right?
John 3:16 is a powerful truth of the love of God for man and is probably the most quoted verse in the bible. Let’s look for a moment, not at what it does say, but at what it does not say. I don’t see a word about repentance, yet Luke tell us, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Another thing that is not found here is confession. In Romans 10:10 we read, “for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” Is confession done away with by this one verse? Hardly. And there is not so much as a hint of the going down into that watery grave of baptism (Acts 8:38 Rom. 6:4). However, Peter tells us that it is baptism that saves us (I Peter 3:21). Baptism is not simply done away with in one verse. Where is the mention of the grace of God? That free gift sent by God through Christ to all mankind (Rom.5:15). Since grace is not mentioned in John 3:16, does that make it of non-effect? Of course not. There is no mention of us loving Christ and keeping his commandments either, but John 14:15 says, “if ye love me keep my commandments.” God’s word does not contradict it’s self, it is man who is in contradiction, as they twist God’s word to try and make it fit their own preconceived ideas. No amount of belief, no matter how sincere, will get you to your desired destination, if you never get on the right road.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God”(John 1:12). That includes the power to believe, the power to repent, the power to confess, the power to be baptized, the power to love Christ, and the power to abide in his love by keeping his commandments (John 15:10). We have the power to choose to walk in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior for as long as we may live upon this earth. And when this life is over, God also gives us the power to face that king of terrors, death, calmly and without fear. We know that Jesus will be with us every step of the way, for he has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). May each of us believe and obey.
We invite all who would, to come together with us each Sunday morning at Kedron on the Coopertown Road, Russellville, Kentucky, to worship God in spirit and in truth. We neither add to God’s word or take from it. Bible study at 10:00 and Worship at 11:00.