(Article for publication week of 11-20- AD 2013)
“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”(John 3:16).
Lord willing we will be considering the subject of saving faith for the next several weeks (perhaps months). I know of no better place to start than John 3:16. Some have called this verse “the little Bible” for it contains so much truth and so many cardinal doctrines in a short verse. John 3:16 no doubt has been used of the Lord in millions of conversions, and perhaps He will be pleased to use it in millions more. I pray he will use it to convert some of you even as we send out the Narrow Way.
To set the verse in context, we must go back to the beginning of John 3 and see that verse 16 is a continuance of our Lord’s meeting with Nicodemus. He began by telling him of the necessity of regeneration and then began to tell him of the evidence of regeneration. This is fundamental to our understanding of John 3:16. When we look at the whole passage from verse one through John 3:16 we will see that regeneration precedes faith (see also John 1:12-13). This is an important doctrinal point that we shall consider in detail later. But for this week, rather than trying to plumb the depths of the doctrine of regeneration we simply wish to see the glorious truth that whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ is saved with an everlasting salvation.
Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way that salvation comes to sinners. Now that is what the Bible says. God has not ordained any other way for a sinner to be saved except by a true and living faith in the Eternal Son of God. You cannot be saved by your good works, for the best of your noble deeds are filthy rags in the sight of God. You cannot be saved by just hoping in the mercy of God. There are many people who are making that fatal mistake. They hear of the mercy and love of God and they suppose that God will in the end just have mercy upon them because He loves them too much to send them to hell. No my friend, do not make that fatal mistake. You cannot be saved any other way than by God’s grace which comes to a poor sinner by faith alone.
Now let us be sure that we understand that saving faith is in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our text says, “whosoever believeth in HIM”, that is the Lord Jesus Christ Who is the eternal Son of God. Saving faith is not believing in some “deity” of your choice. It is believing in the Christ of John 3:16, the Christ of the Bible. “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). You must believe in God’s coequal and eternal Son that He gave to be the savior of sinners. You must believe in the Christ Who died on a cross as a Substitute for all who would believe in Him. You must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead the third day and has ascended to His rightful Throne in heaven.
And John 3:16 says that “whosoever” believes in the Lord Jesus Christ has eternal life. Whosoever reaches to the four corners of God’s green earth. It reaches to the very depths of depravity. The gospel message reaches to the most vile. John 3:16 reaches to the uttermost and to the “guttermost” as someone has said. The whosoever of my text reaches to the very young and the very old. It reaches to the rich and the poor. It reaches to kings and to peasants. It reaches to masters and to slaves. Whosoever is a mighty big word and it reaches to you my dear reader if you will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.