Reading Past John 3:16

by Perry Hall

Do we sometimes miss a powerful point because we stop reading? John 3:16 is so well-known that people stop reading. What happens if we keep reading?

Notice these contrasts:

  • "For God loved the world" (John 3:16) vs. "People loved the darkness" (John 3:19).
  • "He gave his one and only Son" (John 3:16) vs. "Their deeds were evil" (John 3:19).
  • "will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16) vs "This is the judgment" (John 3:19).
  • With God, we have loving the world, which equals giving and sacrificing, while with the world, we have loving equals darkness and evil.
  • With God, we have eternal life, while with the world, we have judgment.

Now notice this comparison:

  • "Everyone who believes" (John 3:16) and "But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light" (John 3:21).

If we are willing to believe, live by, and practice truth, our "works may be shown to be accomplished by God" (John 3:21 CSB). "Faith only?" Or is it believing unto eternal life here and now by living the truth and practicing God's works? No credit is due because our works are accomplished by God. But it is still not "faith only." Keep reading past John 3:16 and see how the chapter ends:

"The one who believes in the Son has eternal life; but the one who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36 NASB).

We are of the world, but by believing, living truth, and obeying the Son with God, we can perform works allowing us to become of God and inherit His eternal life.

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