John 3 Reflection: Whosoever believeth in Him

Posted: March 22, 2012 in John 3, John 3:16, Lent, Pastoral ministry, Sermons

In Sunday’s sermon, based on a text from John 3, I offered the challenge to reflect each day for the next week on John 3:16.  In keeping with my part of the challenge, I’m posting some reflections on this key verse.

As a reminder, here is John 3:16 (As found in the King James Version):  “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.”

Today, we concentrate on “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish.”

What else needs to be said?  It’s about as straight-forward as it comes.  If you believe in the son, you’re not going to perish.

The problem though is that maybe we have trouble accepting that it can be that simple and straight-forward.  So, we start to add additional requirements and qualifications to what that verse is saying.

We do thinks like think it involves a special prayer that has to be said a certain way.  Or you have a set of beliefs about life that you have to hold to really be considered one of the Christian group.  Or if you really are a believer, then you vote for certain candidates in elections.  or, only the people that attend this specific denominational flavor of church are really safe.

The more I’ve reflected on the verse this week, the more convinced I become that God doesn’t need our help in figuring that out.

He takes us all. He takes the rich and the poor and everyone in between.  He takes Republicans, Democrats, independents and people who don’t even vote.  He loves Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and everything else in between. God doesn’t seem to be nearly as concerned about a lot of the things that we spend a whole lot of time arguing about.

God loves.  God loves the people we love and God loves the people we struggle to love.  God even loves us.

And Jesus’ invitation in John 3:16 is for us to simply believe and thrive in it. 

I love this restatement of John 3:16 in The Message (It’s actually 16-18!):

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

Can you simply believe in that God without qualifications?

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