Nearly everyone memorized John 3:16 as children.

"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."

What does this scripture verse mean to you today?


"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" (John 3:16).

How familiar, and yet how precious is this best known of Bible texts!  And yet, how long has it been since we have truly thought about what it says?  All too often we must confess that the passages of Scripture we know 'by heart' are those least contemplated by us. John three sixteen is a case in point.

"For God so loved. . ."  Some translate it "so dearly," "so greatly," or even "so much."  The Greek word houtos is a demonstrative adverb meaning "thus," "in this manner," or "in this way."  John 3:16 does not primarily speak of the quantity or amount of God's love (infinite though it is), but of the kind of love wherewith He loved the world.

"For God loved the world in this manner---that He gave His only-�begotten Son. . ."

True love always results in "giving."  Those who have love for the poor and needy "give" to meet their needs.  Just so did God's love reach forth to this poor and needy world with the precious gift of His Son, to provide. . . To provide what?  To provide for our great need of salvation. Salvation from what?

". . . that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish. . ."

The first occurrence of the word perish is found in Matthew 2:13 where it is translated destroy.  "For Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."  The word is also sometimes rendered lost.  But the glorious truth is that though we were in such a perishing condition the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).  God gave Him, and He came to save us, that we "should not perish, but have everlasting life."

            Certain of God's promises are exclusive, and not universal.  This verse of Holy Scripture tells us that "everlasting life" is for a certain group of people, and not for all.  It does not say that the Christ came in order "that no one in the whole world should perish," but that "whosoever believeth in Him should not perish."  The promise of salvation from eternal de�struction is only offered to believers in God's Son.  Do you have faith toward God's Son?  If so, your great need not only can be met, but it has been and is met.

But our salvation is not only FROM something, it is FOR some�thing else.  We who believe on the Son not only are saved from eternally perishing, but we are given everlasting (eonian) life, "Life,., which is life indeed" (I Tim. 6:19).            Everlasting life is not only "existence for ever and ever" but a life to be lived and enjoyed and employed for the eternal glory of God.  We are not saved from perishing only to have an eternal breakfast-in-bed existence, but we are given a new life, new joys, new happiness, new duties, new pleasures, and, most wonderful of all, it is all centered and found in Him, who is God over all, blessed for the eons.

Do not our hearts gratefully and worshipfully respond to our blessed God who sent His only Son to save us from perishing and to give us eternal life.  Can we withhold, even for a moment, our affection for such a one who delivered up His life for us all, and who died that we might live?

                Praise the Savior, ye who know Him!
                                    Who can tell how much we owe Him?
                                Gladly let us render to Him
                                    All we are and have.

"Trust in the Lord; . . . Delight thyself in the Lord; . . . Commit thy way unto the Lord; . . . Rest in the Lord, and Wait patiently for Him" (Psalms 37:3-7).

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