John 3: 16-17

12 Nov

I would just like to make a brief comment on the passage of John 3: 16-17. The KJV of the Bible renders the passage like this:
“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.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Now, many people like to use this passage to prove that all we need to do is believe to be saved, thus do away with any need to actually obey the commands of God or to even act in a generally decent manner. After all, I believe, so I am saved.

To this point I would like to point out a few aspects of this passage that show how much in error this interpretation really is. I will focus a just a few words that actually make the passage say something much different.

First, in verse 16 it says “should not perish.” This is very important to note as the term ‘should’ does not give a guarantee. It is not saying that those who believe will be saved, but that they have no reason why they shouldn’t be saved.

Second, in verse 17 we read “might be saved.” Again this makes nothing guaranteed, but gives only the possibility of salvation. Because of Christ and his atonement there is the possibility of the world being saved, and this was his mission. He was not sent to kill the wicked, but to make it possible for them to become the righteous.

With these two notes in mind we can see that what this passage is saying is not that all we need do is believe. What it is saying is that if we believe then we have no excuse not to be saved, for we understand the gospel and the commandments of God. Our faith should lead to obedience, and thus “whosoever believeth in [Christ] should not perish but have everlasting life.” Christ gave us all the possibility of salvation, providing the way and means for us to achieve it, however this does not mean we are not required to do our part.

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2 Responses to “John 3: 16-17”

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