John 3:16-17 (KJV) 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
That we SHOULD NOT perish. Those are two very deep words. Unthinkable really. Even though He knew the beginning and the end His love was so great for us that He chose to come here, to live among us and die for us. Agape love. God sent His Son for me! Jesus is the light of the world; the way and the truth and the life. If we choose life…. If you go back a few verses to John 3:3, he quotes Jesus as saying “unless a man is born again he CANNOT enter the kingdom of God.” That’s clear isn’t it?
It is not enough to believe that Jesus is the Son of God; even the demons believe and tremble. To believe is to believe what you hear Him speak to you; believe the Word you read. enough to heed and obey. Jesus is the Word of God and the way and the truth and the light. We must come through Him. As we read (19,20,21): “And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world (every man), but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds (sins) hates the light (so hates Christ, who is the light) and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced (effected, formed, prompted, energized) through God.” To have eternal life we must repent, we must have ours sins washed away in baptism in Jesus name, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. We show our faith, believing and obeying Jesus’ word in all of its fullness.
If we journey back to Numbers” 21, we see how the people murmured and complained against God. Verse 6 records, “Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. Yet Moses prayed and God showed them mercy. When Moses set up the serpent on a pole as God told him to, “if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.” Within only a few verses we can see God’s justice and mercy. He does not change. He calls us to be holy as He is holy and that can only be done with a perfect, sinless, sacrifice ~ Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.
The snakes were sent to bring judgment but Christ was sent to SAVE!
To believe is to obey; if you are not obedient, your belief is nothing more than lip service. Obedience leads to repentance, it leads to baptism, and the receiving of the Holy Spirit. Obedience leads to righteousness. Obedience leads to salvation. Jesus tells us that we can only be His disciples IF we continue in His teaching (8:31). True faith must persevere to the end, only then is it saving faith.
Salvation is a gift God freely offers to every one of us but we must be willing to receive it. We must see the value of it. Have we read the instructions and followed them? It is only in this way that there is true saving faith in our life.
C. S. Lewis wrote, “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.”