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.
This website has received lots of comments and e-mails over the years asking, and sometimes even challenging us to debunk faulty interpretations of “proof texts” that seem to contradict the freeness of grace, or the availability of eternal life to anyone who will believe, or to backload the gospel with works.
The questions and comments, which often start with the phrase “what about,” have been so common that we have a work in process section entitled “Difficult Verses” (aka “Some Lordship Salvationists’ Pet Passages Explained”). Please see link to that section below:
Following are examples of some of the “what abouts” that we have receieved:
- What about James 2:14-26?
- What about the fruits of the spirit? Isn’t that proof or is that more what changes in a person after belief for salvation?
- I would also strongly encourage you to study the Book of James for a better understanding of Salvation and the works that accompany it, and what about Jesus and the teaching of trees and fruits?
- And what about 2 Peter 3:9 and Acts 3:19 and Luke 13:3? Does this mean that we are not supposed to say” you got to repent(turn from your sin), and trust in Jesus Christ” when proclaiming the Gospel?
- JACK I was reading the comments before my first comment and i was reading where Cheryl on Aug.24, said that we don’t need to ask the Lord to save us or to ask him to forgive us???? what about Romans 10-9-10?
We have to address the “what about” questions in order to defend the gospel, to help believers grow in understanding of scripture and to equip them in defending the gospel. We also answer the “what about” questions to plant seeds with religious unbelievers in the hope that they might understand the gospel and believe in Jesus as Savior.
“What about” questions can also be used to proclaim the gospel. To that end, I would like to focus on John 3:16.
John 3:16 is perhaps the best known Bible verse in all of professing Christendom, including among those who do not understand it, and therefore cannot and do not believe it.
So lets break it down:
Who is God?
God is the Creator of all things. He eternally exists in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God.
So loved the world that He gave…
Why did we need God to give us something?
We needed God to give something for the world, because all of mankind has sinned against God.
Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
No man can get into heaven with any sin still charged to his account.
Revelation 21:27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Who did God give, and why?
God is a God of perfect love and perfect justice. Our sins have to be paid for, and we cannot pay for them ourselves. So, God provided the answer to our need by giving us Christ Jesus simply because He loves us and would rather die than spend eternity without us.
Romans 5:8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God did not give us Christ Jesus to help empower us to earn eternal life through good works. He gave us Jesus to save us.
Luke 2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
His only begotten Son…
Who is His only begotten Son?
His only begotten Son is Jesus – the eternal Son of God,; God our Savior; God in the flesh; the Lamb of God. Jesus is the eternal creator God, who took on human form to redeem us.
He was born as a man through the virgin Mary. He lived a perfectly sinless life. He died for our sins and He was raised from the dead.
He came to save us.
Luke 19:10: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
John 3:17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Who is whosoever?
It is anyone who will believe in Jesus as Savior. Not whosoever God chooses to believe, as the Calvinists falsely teach, but whosoever will believe in Jesus as Savior.
Revelation 22:17: And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
Believeth in Him…
What does it mean to believe in Him?
It means believing that we are in need of a Savior. People who don’t know Jesus as Savior are condemned to spend eternity separated from God, in a state of endless torment.
John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
It means to believing that He is God.
John 8:24: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
It means to believe that He is the only way to receive eternal life.
John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
It means to believe that He paid the full price for our sins – all of them (past, present, and future) – leaving us nothing to pay.
John 19:30: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
It means to believe that He was raised from the dead, proving that His payment for our sins was complete.
Romans 4:24-25: But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
It means to believe that Jesus is not only necessary to save us, but that He is enough. It means to trust in Christ alone as Savior. It means to understand that eternal life is a free gift, offered without cost or obligation to the recipient.
We must understand that our good works, or good intentions will not help us get into heaven. Only Jesus could atone for our sins.
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We must rely on Christ’s righteousness, and not our own, for eternal life.
Believe in Him for what?
Eternal life. We must believe that Jesus offers us eternal life as a free gift. We do not have to believe that He is going to make us better or make us sin less. We do not have to believe that He is going to change our lives. We need only believe that He made the full payment for our own sins – that His payment was good on our behalf.
Should not perish…
This literally means the believer in Christ, even if he dies physically, will never experience the second death of being consigned to hell, but will have eternal life with God.
Non-believer’s eternal destiny:
Revelation 20:14:15: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Believer’s eternal destiny:
John 11:25-26: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
But have everlasting life…
What is everlasting life?
It is eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited, no matter what we do – or don’t do as believers, and regardless of whether or not our faith persists. The life of God cannot be extinguished. Therefore, if we have the life of Christ, our eternal life cannot be extinguished.
John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
When does eternal life start?
Eternal life for the believer starts the very moment he believes in Jesus as his Savior. We do not have to wait until we see how we did, or whether or not we have persevered in faith and/or holiness.
Ephesians 2:4-7: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
So, there you have it: WHAT ABOUT JOHN 3:16?
If you would like further detail, please click here: The Gospel