The most famous Bible verse is what? Yes, John 3:16. It is seen at sporting events and at other public venues around the world.
What is John 3:16 all about? Is only about salvation?
“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)
I want you to be materialistic for a moment; go ahead it’s okay (some of us will slip into the role quite naturally). I want you to imagine the most awesome “thing” someone could give you as a gift, free of charge, no strings attached. Now I want you to imagine how thrilled you would be to receive it. Got it?
Okay, now I want you to put that gift up on one pedestal and then on another pedestal I want you to put eternal salvation. As you look at the two; how do they compare? Can you even imagine the gift of eternal salvation? What comes to mind, what do you see in your mind’s eye gazing upon the pedestal that holds eternal salvation? Do you see anything believer? Do you even know what to look for lost person?
A gift is freely given; no one earns a gift. Imagine you saving and saving to buy someone you love the “perfect” gift. And imagine that someone opening it and saying, wow, that’s really nice. I know you believe that this is the perfect gift, but I’ve actually bought my gift. This gift will meet all my needs and it will be just as good as your gift. Thanks anyway.
That would be foolish, no? That is what we do when we reject the truth of John 3:16.
But there is so much more involved than just salvation, not that it alone would not be wonderful! As Paul has written to the Corinthians:
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
And to the Ephesians he writes:
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Yes, no doubt those are wonderful realities about the gift of salvation. But what does this gift entail? In his first pastoral letter John writes:
“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (1 John 5:11)
Read that last part again…”and this life is in His Son.” We have eternal life in Christ Jesus! So what does that mean Bro Dave?
Here, let someone much more qualified explain it. Oswald Chambers once described it this way:
“Salvation is not merely deliverance from sin, nor the experience of personal holiness; the salvation of God is deliverance out of self entirely into union with Himself. My experimental knowledge of salvation will be along the line of deliverance from sin and of personal holiness; but salvation means that the Spirit of God has brought me into touch with God’s personality, and I am thrilled with something infinitely greater than myself, I am caught up into the abandonment of God.”
Dear Christian are you thrilled? Are you excited about something infinitely greater than yourself, or is your only knowledge of Jesus deliverance from sin, and maybe, just maybe personal holiness?
Or have you come into contact with God’s personality? We so often sing “Friend of God” and most times it makes me very uncomfortable. Why, you ask? Because rarely do I abandon myself to God to the point of realizing that He hears me when I call or I find it amazing that He loves me. That is because I’m too busy with this world, with stuff, with my “perfect” gift.
Why do I do that?! Do I not realize what I have in Christ?! Paul tried to explain to the Roman church:
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
Why do I search for things, work and toil for them, when I have already been freely given all things? Because Dave knows best that’s why!
What, you really believe that Bro Dave? Of course not! But that is how I live my life most times, “O wretched man that I am.”
Perhaps one day I shall truly embrace the freedom from bondage found in Christ:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
Yea! There is no condemnation…oh wait, there’s more…who do not walk according to the flesh.
Perhaps there is my problem. If I will walk according to the Holy Spirit instead of the flesh then the Spirit will bring me into touch with God’s personality.
Now wouldn’t that be thrilling?!
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers