Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
The best known verse in the Bible is widely misread. It's John 3:16, which says: "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." Let's see what it actually says, not what we may think it says.
(1) God loved a bad, sinful world. That means His love is different from our love. We love nice people; God loves bad people, selfish, mean people. That doesn't mean He loves their meanness, their selfishness; no, He loves them. And when they learn of His love, many of those bad people with become changed.
(2) He gave His Son--not lent Him. There's an eternity of truth in that world "gave." He gave Him even to hell. The price that Jesus paid for our salvation was infinite. He did not measure His gift and say, thus far and no further. There was no stopping place in His giving of His Son. And the gift is eternal--Christ is forever our elder brother, a member of our human race. He has joined divinity to humanity.
(3) That whoever believes in Him … There is one thing only that God asks us to do--believe. Some people get upset about that, but there it is in John 3:16. God didn't say, "that whoever does a lot of things," no, He said, "whoever believes in Him." It is clear therefore that to believe means to appreciate God's love for a bad world, and to appreciate His giving of His Son, not merely lending Him. Isaac Watts said, "When I survey …" When one believes in that true sense, his heart is changed and he is reconciled to God. His enmity is gone. And when one is reconciled to God, he is also reconciled to God's holy law. And so obedience is the natural result of true faith.
(4) The one who believes should not perish. Millions of people have not seen that little word "not," and they believe that the lost will be tortured in conscious agony for all eternity. But that is a false doctrine, not taught in the Bible. Jesus plainly said that those who do not believe will perish at last. Sin and sinners will be no more, and the entire universe will be clean forever.
(5) But have everlasting life. You were not born to perish--you were born to inherit everlasting life. That everlasting life has already begun for you in Christ. The Lord has already given you that gift in the gift of His Son. He is given to you, not merely offered to you.
It's time for us to say, Thank You, Lord, for saving my soul! Believing that simple Good News will turn your entire life around in the right direction.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: 1994 Phone Message.
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