When you hear or read John 3:16 as a reference or start to hear or read, “For God so loved the world…”, what comes into your mind?
I’ll admit, that with this being the most cited verse growing up, in all the church camps and bible studies I went to, it unfortunately had become rather mindless to recite or read, as if simply tapping into the rote memory of it, all while passing over the comprehension of it.
As I grew into adulthood and into a deeper personal relationship with Jesus, I started to relook at that verse and slow down as I read it to let it sink in better. And wouldn’t you know it that many, many years later, as I recently read over it again, the living and active Word of God has jumped out with a fresh look again.
When I read Spurgeon’s commentary on this verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16), he had outlined a few things: This one verse outlines God’s love for us, His gift to us, His Son, and hope for our souls. This really got me thinking through this, the life of Jesus, His purpose for coming, and how it relates to us and our life and purpose.
Jesus was sent by the Father on a mission of redemption, He lived a sinless life, He died a brutal death, and He was raised to life to live as our King and High Priest. So in short, He was sent by God, He lived, He died in His flesh, and He was raised to life.
We, being dead in our trespasses, have been raised unto new life in Christ, are called to crucify our flesh daily, can live an abundant life in Christ, and have been sent on a mission as His servants to labor in the good works He prepared for us. So in short, we were raised to new life, we die to our flesh, we live for Christ, and we’re sent by God.
Did you catch that?
Jesus = sent, lived, died, raised
Us = raised, die, live, sent
We are following the same things that Jesus did, except that we couldn’t do it in the same exact order because of our sin separating us from God. It was God’s immense love, in which He SO loved us, that He worked out a way of redemption that not only covered us, He forgave us of our sins because Jesus had taken the punishment and satisfied our just God, but additionally so that we would be able to walk in Jesus’ footsteps that leads us to the Father, where He was sent from in the first place.
He went from being in heaven with the Father and living perfectly to becoming sin on the cross as He paid the price to cover the cost of our redemption. We go from being buried in sin to being redeemed, getting closer and closer to perfection the more we walk with Jesus, to eventually ending up perfect in Heaven with our Father. Jesus, Immanuel, God with us – He came down to be with us, while we were still sinners, in order to make a way to bring us up with Him where He is in perfection. Jesus paved the way as He came down and we only need to follow Him along our way to the Father in Heaven. We don’t need to reinvent anything, we just need to follow the pattern our Creator gave us in Himself.
Where are you in this life cycle?
If you have placed your faith in Jesus, you’re definitely raised as a new creation in Him. Only you and the Lord know whether you’re dying to your flesh the way Jesus calls us to, living in the abundant life that comes from abiding in His word, and walking in the upward call in which He sent you. I encourage you to make time to sit before the Lord and together access where you are in your spiritual life cycle. Are you on track with abundant living and mission mindedness? Have you grown stagnant? Now is the time to revive that weary or complacent soul and be renewed and refreshed in the God of your salvation! Rise and make the best use of your time in these evil days while you still have breath in your lungs on this side of eternity.
If you’ve not yet placed your faith in Jesus, surrendering your will and life to Him, TODAY is the day. Your day of salvation awaits you. Do you see Christ following friends, family, acquaintances, and co-workers, that go through the hardships of life yet have a joy and peace about them that you just can’t understand? It’s because they have new life, they die to their natural tendencies of pride, hate, deceit, fear, etc by the empowerment of God’s Spirit. They live for the God who loves and created them, and they’re on a mission doing the things God has prepared for them to do. You too can experience this, which comes from having a personal relationship with God. He loves you SO much, and He is waiting for you to turn away from sin and to Him because He has the gift of His Son and is ready and willing to give you a new heart, forming you into a new creation in Him. Talk to God today, confess and acknowledge that you’ve not kept all His commands perfectly, and ask Him for forgiveness and to come into your heart. I guarantee this is one decision that you’ll never regret making.