“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
— John 3:16, New King James Version
This verse is quite possibly one of the most well-known verses in the Bible, known by both believing Christians and non-believers alike. It’s contents, therefore, can get cliche; after one has read it time after time, its Truth loses its touch, its meaning.
Yet, this verse still is the Truth; in all of its simplicity and grandness, it invites those who feel they could never believe such Good News to do just that: believe. It is my prayer that, by the Holy Spirit’s help, I can expand on this verse about three main questions: Who is Jesus? What did He do? and Why does it matter?
This post seems long, but I promise you, it is worth it. Although I am just a person, I hope that the words read here grant answers to some of these questions.
Let’s dive in with the first part of the verse: “For God so loved the world.”
“For God so loved the world.” This takes us all the way back to the beginning, when God first created “the world.”
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
Mankind, this creation of God, is incredibly important to Him: because, unlike the rest of creation, mankind is made in His direct image, meaning that mankind was created with an eternal soul, the ability to make decisions, and the ability to have fellowship with God, his Creator.
Genesis gives us a picture of humankind: mankind was placed into the perfect garden God had created (Genesis 2:15). Within this perfect garden, though, God put two trees: the Tree of Life, and the Tree of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:8-9). Putting both Adam and Eve within this garden, God blessed them, and commanded them, and said, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Adam and Eve listened to God, at least for a little while. But, tempted by “the serpent,” in a moment of disobedience, pride, and doubt in what God had said, Eve took and ate of the fruit– with Adam soon following after (Genesis 3:6).
In one bite, everything changed. Having made their own decision to stray from God’s Loving command, Adam and Eve’s “eyes were opened”: “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:7). In their disobedience, Adam, Eve, and all of their descendants lost all fellowship with God. Sin entered the world. Mankind, just as God had promised, was now overcome by death (Genesis 3:9-19, 24).
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Having sinned, humanity lives in a fallen state, completely unable to know a Sinless, Holy, Just God (Exodus 19). But God, in His foreknowledge, Great Love, and Mercy, pointed to a sacrifice that would forgive and remove people’s sin (Genesis 3:21).
From the very beginning, as God’s people, God laid down the laws for by which the Israelites should come to Him; this always included a perfect animal, such as a lamb or bull, covering their sin by being slaughtered, and offered on an altar to God (Leviticus 16). These people slaughtered many, many sacrifices: because, though they tried, they were never able to lead sinless lives. While these animal sacrifices covered the people’s sin, it never truly removed it (Genesis 3:21; Romans 3:23). Something more had to be done.
The Son had to be given.
The one main thing that came from God choosing the Jews was that the Messiah was to be a Jew (Isaiah 9:6-7). Jesus came to Earth somewhere between 4-6 B.C. Although He was born, He was not created; being God the Son, equal in nature and status with God (Philippians 2:8-9), Jesus was God Himself– fully God, and a fully Jewish man (John 10:30; Isaiah 9:6-7). Why is Jesus’ deity significant? Because God Himself determined to be the Ultimate Sacrifice that would forgive all the people’s sin, and remove all that separated men from Himself.
Living a sinless life, Jesus was crucified, put to death, for mankind; and although He could have aborted the whole mission to save Himself from such a fate, He laid His life down willingly (John 10:18). Read more here about Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion. But Jesus did not stay that way.
On the third day, Jesus rose from the grave, proving that sin and death had no power over Him! After this, He was seen by His disciples, and later ascended to “the right hand of the Father,” where He now prays for us to the Father, and allows us to come boldly before God the Father Himself in prayer (Acts 2:33; Romans 8:34; John 16:27; Hebrews 4:16).
As Romans 4:25 declares, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” On the cross, He yelled out, “Tetelestai,” meaning, “It is finished”– forever doing ALL that was needed for believers to be reconciled with the Father. This is the essence of the Good News: “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
This complete and eternal salvation, founded in Jesus, His death, and His resurrection is a gift. Freely given, and freely received. Do you want to receive the Ultimate Gift?
Romans 10:9-10 says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
If you would like to accept Jesus Christ into your heart and life, as your Personal Lord and Savior, you can say a simple prayer like this one:
I have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed (Romans 3:10). I do not deserve to be with you forever in heaven; I deserve the payment for my sin, but Jesus, I believe that You are God, that You died on the Cross for all of my sin, and that You rose again on the third day, and ascended to the Father, so that I could have eternal Life in You (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus, I ask that You would come into my heart and life. Thank You, Jesus, for becoming my Savior, and for using my life for Your Glory (Ephesians 2:8-10). Amen.”
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and truly believe and trust in what Jesus did, you have received this gift of Salvation, and it will never be taken away from you! It is by Grace, through Faith in what Jesus Christ did for you, that you are able to have a personal relationship based on Love with God. In this new, Love relationship, you have been brought close to Jesus, and are now a new creation in Him (Ephesians 2:13). “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here” (2 Corinthians 5:17)!
In this new-found Life in and with Christ, I encourage you to tell everyone you know about Him! This is not a have-to– there are no have-to’s. But, when we love Jesus, like a Loving Father, friend, or even as our boss, we obey Him (1 John 5:3)! We have the honor of freeing people and bringing them the One and Only True Light!!!
If you have recently accepted Jesus Christ into your heart and life as your Lord and Savior, please contact Annalee at ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY by clicking here! We would love to pray for you, celebrate with you, and provide you resources to help deepen your relationship with Christ!