FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
John tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
There are many lessons in this short verse. First of all, it tells of the matchless love of God for his creation. He loved mankind to the extent that he was willing to let his only begotten Son die on the cross that we might
have life everlasting. A greater love than this could never be expressed.
This passage also tells us that salvation is offered to all people. The word whosoever is all inclusive. Since Jesus used this kind of language, we know that salvation is offered to each of us. We can know that it is not possible that we were excluded without possibility of salvation. Jesus tells us that whosoever believeth on him may have everlasting life!
Some have, however, abused this passage and have said that this scripture teaches that we are saved by faith alone, apart from any works. This is a misunderstanding of the scriptures. Jesus never intended to teach that obedience is not necessary. The intent of John is to show that all who desire salvation may have it. All those who will believe on the Lord may be saved. Those who believe in the Bible sense of “believe” will be saved, because this kind of faith leads to the obedience necessary to salvation. This passage does not nullify other passages of scripture. Jesus who made the statements of John 3:16, also made other statements. He said, “Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish.” (Lk.13:3). He said, “Whosoever will confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven.” (Matt.10:32); and he said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved…” (Mk.16:16). While John is a beautiful and wonderful promise from the Lord, it does not give God’s complete plan of salvation. If we believe, we may be saved; yet, we will have to obey the commands of the Lord in order to have that salvation. Heb. 5:8,9 tells us, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” This obedience includes repenting of our sins, (Lk. 13:3); confessing our faith before men, (Matt.10:32); being buried with the Lord in baptism, (Acts ), and then living a faithful Christian life so long as we live upon this earth. (Rev.2:10 ff). Whosoever includes you! You may be saved if you will serve the Lord as he has directed.