John 3:16, Part I

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.

In this two part series, we are going to examine: #1: For God so love the world, #2: that whosoever,

# 3: believeth in Him will be discussed in the second post.

We will not address the nature of Christ, perdition, and eternal life here. Those can and should be addressed separately to my understanding.


This post will review sections #1, 2, & 3, “For God so loved the world, that whosoever

Post two will address # 4, what does it mean to believe in Jesus.


Some of these elements will be broken down into subsections such as “For God” because it addresses a very specific moment in time, a very specific people in the past, and it is applied generally in the future.


For God so Loved


I have always believed that this verse said that God loved all of creation; even the animals, plants, and oceans. Studying this verse more closely, I have learned that this is true. But it means so much more.

In the words “For God, ” we have have a trifold revelation: The first application a very specific span of time and a specific people. The second application is very general, addressing the character of His creation, and the third, His relation to all of mankind.

For” meant: In this manner, in this way or in this fashion, in accordance with this description (corresponding to what follows); in keeping with; along this line, in the manner spoken; In this manner as described in the wilderness, by Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea . . . God provided a way to salvation.

It points to how God loved us while we were yet sinners and sent his Son: in this manner or in this way.


But God demonstrates his own love for us,

in that while we were still sinners,

Christ died for us.

~ Romans 5:8


The First Application of “For


We have to look at the preceding two verse to see the first application showing His love.


As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 

so that whoever believes  in Him

will have eternal life.

~ John 3:14-15


To the Jews of Jesus’s day, the brazen serpent was considered very highly. It represented a type of resurrection. Because by looking upon it, the dying lived.

When the people in the wilderness cried out for salvation (Numbers 21:4-9), God provided a way for them. He did not take the serpents away when the serpent was lifted up. They remained in the midst of the people.

The serpents represented the immediate consequences for their sin, just like death represents the immediate consequences or wages for our sin. 

Like the serpents in the wilderness, God will not take away death from us. We still have to die. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God expects us to cease from our sinning. Because sin brought forth this judgment.


 

In John 3:7, Jesus saidMarvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus was speaking to Israel through a representative, Nicodemus, a Pharisee. Secondarily, He was speaking to the rest of mankind.

When Jesus said Marvel not that I said untothee, He was speaking to Nicodemus (by the use of thee). When He said Ye must be born again, He was speaking to the whole world because ye is plural. This nuance is lost in the newer versions of the Bible.


The Second Application of “For


The second application is very general and I believe it includes every part of the creation story. God loved Adam and Eve, and during creation He called what He made Good six times.

After He finished His work and looked at the whole, God said it was Very Good!

We know God loved His creation and everything in it. We also know the whole of creation groans, waiting salvation.

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains

of childbirth together until now.

~ Romans 8:22


Even creation is waiting its rebirth, both the heavens and the earth. 


See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

The former things will not be remembered,

nor will they come to mind.

~ Isaiah 65:17


The Third Application of “For


Because God loves all of humanity even while we are yet sinners, He devised a plan of pardon for us all.

 

Jesus was lifted up on the cross to atone for our sins. His purpose was to set us free from sin, the power of sin, and the wages of sin, which is not fully consummated until the second death occurs.

Anyone whose name

was not found written in the book of life

was thrown into the lake of fire.

~ Revelation 20:15


Our fall into sin, pointed to the crux of God’s complete plan of salvation: 


The Fall into Sin


God hates all sin and would not make anything sinful. God is not the author of sin. He is holy and only holiness, purity, truth, and justice come from Him.

Nothing wicked or corrupt was ever found in Him or in His immediate creations. His angelic beings, humanity, and creation were all created in righteousness and perfection (in relation to the absence of sin).

The angels and mand sinned after they were created by the perfect hand of God. This shows that the angels and humanity had the ability to choose or the capacity of free will to serve God or to rebel.


Yet this capacity is not fully understood. Nor is the first revelation of sin. This passage describes when sin was found in Lucifer.


Thou wast perfect in thy ways

from the day that thou wast created,

till iniquity was found in thee. 

~ Ezekiel 28:15


When God created Adam and Eve, they were the apex of His creation: created in perfection. Neither was sin found in them until after the the creation.

This passage describes when sin was found in Adam and Eve.


She also gave some to her husband,

who was with her, and he ate it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened,

and they realized they were naked;

so they sewed fig leaves together

and made coverings for themselves. 

~ Genesis 3:6-7


In the above passage, mankind is described as having their eyes opened. They could discern between good and evil. The discovery of personal sin was realized by the disobedience of God’s will.

Sin brought with it, shame, guilt, and death. It also altered the order of the entire creation. The makeup of the our world was completely stained and spoiled by the works of sin. 


Now, I do not claim to understand how the darkness of sin enters every living soul after Adam and Eve, but I do not ascribe to the concept of original sin as defined by Augustine of Hippo.

Augustine’s attempt to frame the mystery of sin in mankind was built around his earlier influences from Manichaeism, Gnosticism, and Augustine’s own sinful proclivities.

These influences are clearly corruptive in nature. Man’s unscriptural philosophies do not belong in the train of Christian thought for they increasingly distort our understanding of God, create false doctrines, and our understanding of His plan and will for our lives.


Sin in Mankind


God created all of mankind after the likeness of Adam and Eve. Procreation is one of the many ways we are created after God’s image. So is the knowledge of good and evil.


And the LORD God said,

Now that the man has become like one of us,

knowing good and evil,

he must not be allowed to stretch out his hand

and take also from the tree of life and eat,

and live forever.

~ Genesis 3:22


We are conceived by parents who sin and are born into a world full of sin. We have a natural disposition to sin because the corrupted world in which we are conceived demands our corroborative effort in order to exist. 

It is as natural for us to sin as it is to breath. The deeper we go into sin the easier it is to do. Likewise, the deeper we live in God’s righteousness, the easier it is to be righteous.


Little Children


He called a little child to him,

and placed the child among them. 

Truly I tell you,

unless you change

and become like little children,

you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore,

whoever takes the lowly position

of this child is the greatest

in the kingdom of heaven.

And whoever welcomes one

such child in my name welcomes me.

If anyone causes one of these little ones

who believe in me to stumble,

it would be better for them

to have a large millstone hung around their neck

and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 

See that you do not despise

one of these little ones.

For I tell you

that their angels in heaven

always see the face of my Father in heaven.

~ Matthew 10:2, 4-6, 10


Age of Accountability


We are told by Jesus that heaven is filled with the likes of little children. It is clear that children go to heaven because their sin is not counted against them for their capacity of good and evil is not yet developed.

Consider Genesis 3:7 where Adam and Eves eyes were opened and they had an awareness that sin had become a part of who they were. Before that, in a sence, they were like little children who did not comprehend good and evil.

Children eventually reach an age of accountability, when child-like innocence fades and the sinful characteristics that have taken a hold of their life, are awakened by their their consciousness.

Then Jesus goes on to describe the 99 sheep and one that was lost. I believe one application of this parable is linking children as sheep who enter into sin after they have become accountable. Then God goes looking for them.

We all like sheep have gone astray. Since the whole context of Matthew chapter 10 leading up to this parable was in reference to children, this is a likely contextual application.

Like the prodigal son, we fall and utter sinfulness and are accountable to the judgment due if we remain in our sins by disbelief and disobedience.


 The rest of Matthew 18 describes brothers in Christ who sin and servants of God who fall into sin and lose their position with God (lose their salvation because of sin).

There is a clear development of accountability, and increasing levels of responsibility described in this chapter. It is likely Jesus was describing accountability and responsibility in the context of the Jewish life.

And this is why God sent His son to us; To give us the opportunity to correct our sinful disobedience and change our dispositions (our heart) by “believing” in the gospel of His son.

Later we will discuss the key word of the verse, “believing.” It is very important to have a correct understanding of its meaning and application.

I was led astray from the Lord and fell back into the practice of sinning after initial salvation due to a common misunderstanding of the word believe in the church today.

That is why the next section only discusses the concept “to believe.” It is my understanding now that if I died in that state, I would have perished. Thanks be to God’s grace alone I am alive today and believe in Him.


The World


World – κόσμος or kósmos literally means something that is ordered, or more properly it means an ordered system such as the human body, the Earth, our solar system, the universe, even the whole of creation.

Order demands intimate and precise functioning of everything. The English word “cosmetic” comes from kosmos and describes an ensemble or garnishments, which enhances the order and details of the face as a whole.

So God does loves everything that he created and wants to make it all Very Good again. Mankind was creation’s garnishment: the perfect ensemble added completing the magnificent and expansive universe.

It is right to add: God did not create anything that He hates. And we know what God hates. 

God wants not only to restore us but to exalt us to a heavenly nature. Those who serve God are not a partaker of this corrupt world. We live in it but do not ascribe to its characteristics or nature.


If you were of the world,

the world would love its own;

but because you are not of the world,

but I chose you out of the world,

because of this the world hates you.

~ John 15:19

———-

Do not love the world

or anything in the world.

If anyone loves the world,

love for the Father is not in them.

~ I John 2:15

———-

Whereby are given unto us

exceeding great and precious promises:

that by these ye might be

partakers of the divine nature,

having escaped the corruption

that is in the world through lust.

~ 2 Peter 1:14


Whosoever


The word whosover in Greek is (πᾶς) pronounced pas. Literally means all, the whole, every kind ofany, everyone.

The emphasis in the Greek considers the total picture and then focuses on “one piece at a time. The context is the world (the emphasis) and every person in the world (one piece at a time) is the effect.

Since God loves the whole world and everyone and everything He created in it (Satan and the angels are not of this world). 

Whosoever is clearly a call to humanity for we are the only thing in the creation of the universe that is fashioned after His image with moral and intellectual capacity to receive the gift of salvation.

Although the whole creation groans for redemption, man is given the honor to receive Jesus’ act of redemption. As a result, the whole creation will be made anew, perfect in God’s eyes because Jesus gave mankind salvation.


For God did not send the Son

into the world to judge the world,

but that the world might be saved through Him.

~ John 3:17

———-

For we know that the whole creation

groans and suffers the pains of childbirth

together until now.

~ Romans 8:22

———-

But in keeping with his promise

we are looking forward to a new heaven

and a new earth,

where righteousness dwells.

~ II Peter 3:13


In the new heavens and new earth, only the righteousness will dwell: God, His Angels, Humanity, and the rest of living creation living in perfection order with God in glory forever.


In Part II, we will explore the word Believe.

Keep the faith!