Week Two – Day 2 – Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Read JOHN 3:16-21 (ESV) SOAP v 16
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
O – This passage is not only one that contains one of the most quoted verses of the Bible, and our basis for speaking of eternal life, but it also is a series of contrasts.
- If we believe, we will NOT perish, but have eternal life (v 16)
- God did NOT send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (v 17)
- Whoever believes in him is NOT condemned, but whoever does NOT believe is condemned already (v 18)
- People do NOT love the light because their deeds are evil, but those who come to the light are doing what is true (v. 19,21)
- People do NOT come to the light – because their deeds will be exposed, but when we come to the light – we see that God’s works have been carried out in us (v 20,21)
It is interesting to note that the King James version states: For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (v. 20). Practicing evil comes out again – repeated, habitual, continued.
19 This is the judgment [that is, the cause for indictment, the test by which people are judged, the basis for the sentence]: the Light has come into the world, and people loved the[c]darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned. 21 But whoever practices truth [and does what is right—morally, ethically, spiritually] comes to the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are—accomplished in God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence on Him].” (AMP Version – v. 19-21)
NIV Study Bible – John is not speaking of momentary beliefs and doubts, but of continuing, settled, convictions.
From David Guzik – BlueLetterBible
- We learn the objectof God’s love: For God so loved the world. God did not wait for the world to turn to Him before He loved the world. He loved and gave His only begotten Son to the world when it was stillthe world!
- We learn the expressionand the giftof God’s love: He gave His only begotten Son. God’s love didn’t just feel for the plight of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son.
iii. We learn the recipient of God’s love: Whoever believes in Him. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it believes in Jesus, the gift that the Father gave. Believes in means much more than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to.
- We learn the intentionof God’s love: Should not perish. God’s love actually savesman from eternal destruction. God looks at fallen humanity, does not want it to perish, and so in His love He extends the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ.
- We learn the durationof God’s love: Everlasting life. The love we receive among people may fade or turn, but God’s love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity. – David Guzik – BlueletterBible
A – As I read and thought about the difference between darkness and light, I remembered an incident when I was a summer missionary in Hong Kong, when I was a college student. We came home from an evening out, and turned on the light in the apartment in which we were staying. There were lots (it seemed like dozens, then…) of cockroaches crawling on the floor. When the light turned on, they all scurried away – in holes in the walls, down drainpipes, out the door…. Everywhere. But, they scurried out of the light. That was the image impressed on me as I read this passage today. Do we, like cockroaches, scurry out of the light, as it reveals our evil deeds? It is interesting to compare our reaction to evil deeds to cockroaches!
BUT – God loved us enough that He sent His Son, His only Son, to die for us. And as icky as I think cockroaches are, our sin is even worse. It is EVIL. He loved the world, every one of us, SO MUCH that He gave His all, His most precious relationship, His only Son – for us. It wasn’t to judge us, or condemn us – our sins already did that. It was to save us. So that there would be no “judgment, no rejection, no condemnation” (AMP).
If we allow God to reveal to us (in the Light) our sin, and we confess it, He forgives us. The judgment is passed over. It is the revealing of our sin that we hate. It is what we scurry from. BUT, facing my sin is what God wants us to do. To see ourselves as we are.
So – for me – today? I already believe. But, do those around me? Do I reflect His light to those around me that do not know Him? Am I open and ready to speak to those who do not know Him? I think of the relationships that I have – our neighbors, some friends on Facebook, some relatives – that do not believe. May I be someone who reflects the light – and love – of God today. And – may I keep that image of cockroaches in mind when I am tempted to sin.
P – Father God, thank You for Your love, Your unconditional love. You have saved me from my sin – and revealed the “icky” part of me. Thank You for Your saving power, Your cleansing power, Your gift of love – to me. Keep me from practicing sin – to repeatedly, continually, habitually, dwell in my sin. Help me to practice truth. As I walk through these next days, help me to reflect Your light and love to those around me. I want to be cognizant of my words, my attitudes, and my actions. May my life be “divinely prompted, done with YOUR help, and in full dependence on You.” Amen.
God So Loved The World (John Stainer – classic music) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5Akz6J8Rw0
God So Loved the World that He Gave (Hillsong) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIvf238Vh3c
God so loved the world
That He gave
God so loved the world
That He gave His only Son
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
He’s risen from the dead
He is risen!
He’s high and lifted up
Heaven and earth adore