The last days of history – Part 39
What Next? Repentance! Cont.
To believe means believing that He forgives our sins, makes us His children, gives us the Holy Spirit, and is present with us always to help, guide, comfort and lead us to heaven. (2) Saving faith is much more than believing truths about Christ. It causes us to draw near to Him, remain in Him, and commit our troubled lives to Him with assurance that He, His Word and the Spirit will lead us through this life to the Father’s eternal presence.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16)
“God so loved the world.” This verse reveals the heart and purpose of God. (1) God’s love is wide enough to embrace all persons, i.e., “the world” (cf. 1 Tim 2:4).
(2) God “gave” His Son as an offering for sin on the cross. The atonement proceeds from God’s loving heart. It was not something forced on Him (Rom 8:32; 1 John 4: 10).
(3) To believe (Gk pisteuō) includes three main elements: (a) a sure conviction that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and the only Saviour for lost humanity; (b) a self-surrendering fellowship with and obedience to Christ (cf. 15:1-10; see 14:21); (c) a fully assured trust in Christ that He is both able and willing to bring you to final salvation and to fellowship with God in heaven.
(4) “Perish” is often the forgotten word of v.16. It points not to physical death but to the dreadful reality of eternal punishment (Mat 10:28).
(5) “Everlasting life” is the gift God bestows upon us, when we are born again. “Everlasting” not only expresses perpetuity, but also quality of life—a divine type of life, a life that frees us from the power of sin and Satan and removes us from what is merely earthly in order to know God (cf. Jn 17:3).
Read Jn 1:12,13. Christ Accepted “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name” (Jn 1:12) NKJV
“received … believe.” This verse depicts clearly how saving faith is both the act of a single instant and an ongoing attitude of a lifetime. (1) To become a child of God, one must “receive” (Gk elabon, from lambanō) Christ. The aorist (past) tense here denotes a definite act of faith. (2) Following the act of faith, there must be a continual action of believing. The word “believe” (Gk pisteuousin, from pisteuō) is a present participle, describing continued action and indicating the need for perseverance in believing. In order for one to be finally saved, true faith must continue after the initial act of accepting Christ (Mat 10:22, 24:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Heb 3:6, 12-15).
“children of God.” People have the right to become the adopted children of God, but only if they are believing in the name of Christ. When they receive Him, they are born again and become God’s children (3:1-21). Not all people are “children of God,”
“believe.” It is important to note that John never uses the noun “belief” (Gk pistis). Yet, he uses the verb, “believe” (pisteuō) 98 times. For John, saving faith is an activity, something that people do. True faith is not a static belief and trust in Jesus and His redeeming work but a loving, self-abandoning commitment that constantly draws one near to the Lord Jesus Christ in spiritual intimacy (cf. Heb 7:25).
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