Everybody hears the words “John 3:16” and it usually just skims across their sub-conscious like music playing in the background, you hear it, and know it’s their but your not really paying any attention to it… So when was the last time you actually read it word by word and meditated on the intended meaning? I think with a lot of other verses as well, we skim over them just to get in our “daily reading” quota, and then get on with our normal worries throughout the rest of the day. This time lets break it apart to look at this verse in a different light.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
What does it mean to “believe in Him”?
The word believe in this verse means to, commit yourself or completely rely on, as if your life depended on it, not to simply say “I believe that God exists”… Satan also believes that God exists, but he does not put his trust in God, that is what separates us from eternal punishment, set aside for satan and his deceived, and a life that extends into eternity.
A simple prayer is not the same as a decision to trust and follow. “O God, come into my heart, save me from my sins, Amen”.
One has no commitment at all and leads you down the same path that you have been living in up until the time of your “prayer” and the other requires repentance and turning from your current path, redirecting your life and going in a completely different direction.
A test of your commitment to Christ is this; From the very first complaint and every one thereafter, means you haven’t put your complete faith in Him and that alone requires repentance.
So how do you trust or put your faith in God.
Repent and be baptized…
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Turn from your ways…
Ezekiel 18:30 Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.
Present yourself as living sacrifices…
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Take up your cross…
What did Jesus do on the cross? Die. So we must die (to self) Take on His life. Or (“Believeth in Him”)
Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Count the cost…
Luke 14:25 Now large crowds were traveling with Jesus. He turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as his own life, he can not be my disciple.
27 Whoever doesn’t carry his cross and follow me can not be my disciple.
28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. He will first sit down and estimate the cost to see whether he has enough money to finish it, won’t he?
29 Otherwise, if he lays a foundation and can’t finish the building, everyone who watches will begin to ridicule him
30 and say, ‘This person started a building but couldn’t finish it.’
31 “Or suppose a king is going to war against another king. He will first sit down and consider whether with 10,000 men he can oppose the one coming against him with 20,000 men, won’t he?
32 If he can’t, he will send a delegation to ask for terms of peace while the other king is still far away.
33 In the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up all his possessions.”34 “Now, salt is good. But if the salt should lose its taste, how can its flavor be restored?35 It is suitable neither for the soil nor for the manure pile. People throw it away. Let the person who has ears to hear, listen!”
Study to show yourself approved…
- What did He do during His life?
- Dig thru the Holy scriptures to find out, and follow His example.
2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
When you join the military or get a job, you take on the task of doing what you were assigned to do, if you don’t, you face court-martial or getting fired. It’s pretty simple and straight forward. You do this or you get that… Why would it be any different with joining the army of God.
Some believe (in the cheapest most watered down form of the word) in order to gain a free ticket into Heaven and not do anything to get there.
What about not having to do works to get to heaven? or our best works are as filthy rags?
You are correct in believing that you don’t have to do works to get to Heaven but if you are not driven to want to do works, because God has done what He has done, than ask yourself this question… is your belief real, or did you just take out a fire insurance policy?
Everyone puts there faith and trust in something, Money, Houses, Cars, Jobs, etc. but all fail because they are unreliable material possessions that are inevitable to leave us empty and disappointed. Money runs out, Houses have there share of problems, Cars break down, and Jobs are lost… But we continually go back into trying to find another way to trust those very things that keep letting us down time after time.
So instead of trusting your money to pull you out of debt, trust God thru faith in Jesus. (faith is acting as if it has already happened).
Instead of trusting your house to protect you or your car to get you places and a job to supply you with all of “what you need”,… trust God to supply all of your needs and if you are left without “things” than believe that you don’t need it at this time, or at all. God knows that a particular thing will bring you harm down the road or lead you to a place that will sink you. Or it could just be the fact that God knows what He is doing and is leading you in another direction altogether, but He has to take from you what is keeping you from that new direction.
Trust with a trust that will shatter your comfortable little bubble of “warm fuzzy”.
The differences between believing and trusting:
You believe that firemen are holding a net 3 stories down to save you from a burning building,… You trust when you jump out of the window.
You believe that someone packed your parachute to work correctly, to save you from a 5,000 ft. crash landing,… You trust when you strap on the chute and jump out of the plane.
You believe that God will bring you to Heaven when your body dies,… you trust when your faith in Jesus requires you to Love the unlovable, forgive the unforgivable, give until your left with nothing, serve when you think you deserve to lead, bless when you want to curse, and do it all without complaining or murmuring, do it with a heart of compassion, and if there is no compassion in your heart, bend your will until it hurts and make it line up with what tasks God has written for us in advance. We live by faith and not by sight ( or feelings, or circumstances, or reactions.)
What happens to the first sentence if the second is not implemented? What happens if your belief is not made whole by trust which is not put into action?
Belief doesn’t take affect until you fully trust in what you believe in. If you don’t prove your belief by trusting than your belief is in vain. The two go hand in hand, one is worthless without the other.
Belief is like a validation card, you have to activate it with trust in order for it to work.
If someone comes up to you and says to you “Give me $1000.00 dollars and I will invest it for you and make you $2000.00 overnight”. You say “ok, I believe that you will do that for me”, but you don’t hand the money over, are you trusting him? You say you make me the $2000.00 first and I’ll give you the $1000.00 Does that make sense. No. You step over the line of belief when you add the ingredient of risk. There is risk in trusting. If you say you believe in something or someone but there is no risk involved then you simply do not believe.
Also means that you no longer have the right to be full of anger, bitterness, malice, rage, etc. because as soon as you step over the line of all of those said traits, you no longer believe or trust that God is in control. It all starts with complaining. Complaining also means you don’t believe God is in everything, and before long ungratefulness and discontentment leads you back to all of the above.
Ephesians 4:1-32, The whole 4th chapter of Ephesians gives us an insight on how to live the “set apart” “Christian life”.
If you are doing the same thing as the people that claim to be atheists or unbelievers just to fit in and say your just being “open minded” about their lifestyles, then you are not doing them or yourself any justice for the soul.
In 2nd Timothy 3:1-17, it gives us an example of what not to act like and if we are, then we need to re-examine our lives to line back up with the way we are to be.
2 Timothy 1:5 ….So by claiming you’re a Christian you take on the form of godliness , by complaining about anything your denying His power.