John 3

John 3 gives us a couple very famous passages in Jesus’ early ministry.  First we see Nicodemus, a ruler and member of the Pharisees “came to Jesus by night” to get some answers.  He has some deep questions about salvation and how to enter heaven.  Jesus makes it very simple when He says “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”.  Try as he may Nicodemus can’t find any wiggle room here.  Jesus says it again “you must be born again”.  There is NO other option to enter eternity – none – nada – just this one way.  As Nicodemus tries to understand exactly what that means and entails, he presses Jesus to clarify.  It is a difficult concept to grasp.  So Jesus gives us one of the most famous verses in all of scripture when He tells Nicodemus “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”.  There you have it.  It is about having a relationship with Jesus – a faith believing trust in the Son of God – that leads to eternal life because of God’s love.  Have you thought of the reality that Jesus came to earth for only a couple reasons – God loves us that much to sacrifice His only Son on our behalf – and it is the only way for us to enter eternity and spend the rest of it with God.  That is the story – His motive is pretty clear – He wants you and me to have a personal relationship with the Savior – His only Son Jesus Christ – and spend eternity with Him.  What a fantastic promise He gives us.  But just because God sent His Son doesn’t mean we automatically are in.  We still have to take that step of belief.  We have to enter into a personal relationship and receive God’s gift of grace.  That is where so many stop short.  But it is a critical step.

Jesus goes on to explain the difference between His appearance on earth being one that was to condemn man versus save us.  Check out what He says: “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”.  The reality is that the result of Jesus coming does condemn the world – those who don’t have a relationship with Him – because that is the standard by which eternity will be based.  But that wasn’t God’s purpose of sending Him.  It wasn’t to punish those who refuse to receive the gift and believe.  God sent Jesus to save us – that was the motive.  Those who fail to receive that and believe in the Savior will be condemned but it will be by their choice – not the design of God’s plan.  That is how so much of what happens and goes wrong really works.  We make choices all day every day and that determines the outcome of our day and our life.  That is exactly what the situation is with Jesus being sent to earth.  His coming is not the problem – it did not create the condemnation – but our choice certainly can if we don’t act as God intends.  John the baptizer is busy doing his work and some of his followers question this new guy Jesus being on the scene.  John makes it very clear again that his job is to point to Jesus.  He is not the main event – Jesus is.  And John says this: “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life”.  The thing you have to love about John is his clarity and to the point message.  You either believe and have life, or you don’t.  No middle ground.  No questionable position. You do or you don’t.  It is interesting that John qualifies obedience as part of the equation here.  And scripture is full of examples about just how important that is.  God wants us to believe and obey – that is the solution to the sin problem of our world and our life.  If we take those steps we experience eternity with Jesus and God the Father.  It really is that simple!

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