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Insights & Encouragement

Is John 3:16 an extreme verse?

We had a great time of worship on Sunday, as always. One of you requested that I share my notes here, to continue meditating and worshiping through our theme verse:

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

This verse is so well-known, but have you ever thought of it as extreme? In so few words it describes the most extreme extents possible – I think we mistake this for generality. Let’s look at and worship through each part.

GOD SO LOVED – who are we talking about and what is he doing? God, the unlimited, unimaginably powerful, perfect being who drives the universe from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the farthest galaxy and dwells in unapproachable light…so loved…so extremely expressed his favor, desire and action to help, compassion, sacrifice, character, involvement, nearness, and realness.

THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON – this one true God gave, it wasn’t taken from him, he wasn’t trapped, or forced, or coerced, or desperate, he didn’t just think about giving, he didn’t just say he would give – in and from his power, he gave his only Son – not just a miracle of wealth, or power, or favor and success (which is what we would have asked for instead of his Son), not a blessing, not an angel, not an arch-angel, he gave HIS…ONLY…SON. That is extreme.

That his chosen people the Jews should not perish…that’s certainly what Jesus’ audience expected in the context of this section of scripture. No, bigger, more extreme, what is the craziest extent possible to whom he could offer his love – he so loved THE WORLD…and WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM will not perish. That means there is not a single person in this room, not a single person who has ever lived, from whom salvation from perishing in sins has been withheld. Your wall of sin cannot be high enough to keep the love of God from pouring over and saving you.

Notice the last extreme – NOT PERISH BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE - we are saved from perishing eternally and he has secured for us eternal life. He did not buy us temporary, earthly, limited, fun life. No, we are saved to a life cannot be taken away from us because it cannot be taken away from him. We are saved to the realest, truest, highest quality of life you can imagine, no – keep going – higher than that, and it will never ever end, it will never be stained, it will never be reduced, it will just keep growing and abounding and flowing in ceaseless joy and vibrancy. When we ask each other in heaven, “how was your week?” as we often do at church, we will be met with eyes wide with amazement, fulfilled descriptions of wonder, huge smiles, and will receive an embrace back because that’s exactly how the other person will feel, and it will be that way every day!!!

There is no more extreme life possible, than the eternal life that awaits those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

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