Speaking the Truth in Love
The Believer of John 3:16
Tonight we would like to study about the believer of John 3:16. Please open your Bibles and read John 3:14-16 with us. What does verse 16 mean? Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. So from this verse we’ve established that those who believe in Christ, whom God gave up to die for us, should not perish but have everlasting life. Let’s test this premise by looking at some other verses. Let’s turn over to Luke 8:27-29. Now wait a minute, why would this demon be scared of Jesus tormenting him? He obviously believes in the Son of God – verse 28 calls him “Son of the Most High God”. Would he not have everlasting life? Have a look at Luke 4:40-41. Here again we have demons that believe in Christ. They know who He is. Will they also have everlasting life? Someone might say, God was talking about man in John 3:16, not demons. Let’s explore that idea (Matthew 26:24, 47-50, 27:1-5). Will Judas have everlasting life? He believed in who Jesus was. He saw numerous miracles performed by Jesus. Even when Judas came with soldiers, Jesus called him a friend. Ananias and Sapphira were believers (Acts 4:32-5:10, especially verse 32). They saw the great power of the apostles giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. They believed that Jesus was the Christ – yet they will not have everlasting life. In John 12 we can read about other believers (John 12:42-43). These believed, but were afraid they would be thrown out of the synagogue. So what does all this mean? How do we reconcile John 3:16“whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” with these other examples we’ve just looked at (of demons and men who believed but were lost). We know that the believer of John 3:16 will receive eternal life. So what KIND of believer is John 3:16 talking about?
1. The believer that comes to God by faith. Faith that he receives by hearing the Word of God (Hebrews 11:6, John 20:30-31, Romans 10:17, John 6:44-45, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Matthew 11:28-30). Any honest person will admit that a true believer comes to God through faith produced by hearing God’s Word and by learning what He has taught us.
2. The believer with a pure heart (Matthew 5:8, Acts 15:7-9, 1 Peter 1:22-25). Not like the hearts of Matthew 13:15. Earlier we talked about Ananias and Sapphira. Did they have pure hearts? (Acts 5:3). No; and because of their impure hearts, they lost eternal life.
3. The believer who is penitent (sorrowful, repentant, humble)(Acts 17:30-31, Acts 3:19, Acts 2:38, 2 Corinthians 7:10). The believer must have a remorseful attitude in order to have everlasting life. Not the unrepentant (or impenitent – one who has no sorrow for his sins) heart either (Romans 2:5). No one could argue that the believer of John 3:16 is an unrepentant one. God demands repentance, so He will not give everlasting life to someone who will not repent.
4. The believer who is baptized for the remission of sins (Mark 16:15-16, Acts 2:38; 8:12-13; 8:35-39; 22:16, Romans 6:1-5, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:26-27). Notice how intertwined baptism is with belief.
5. The believer whose faith works through love (Galatians 5:6, James 2:14-26, Philippians 2:12-13). The Bible definition of faith implies action on the part of the believer. Abraham is the great example of one having Bible faith (Romans 4:9-16). Those who have Bible faith are those “who also walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham”. Our faith must be a faith that is working to be acceptable to God. Romans chapters 12 and 13 described many works that Christians are to be busy doing. Will God allow the believer of John 3:16 to have everlasting life if he does not do His will? No; only those who love God and KEEP His commandments will have that reward (John 14:15, Romans 2:5-11, Galatians 6:10, Titus 3:8, 1 John 5:1-5).
6. The believer who is saved by grace (Ephesians 2:5; 2:8-9, Titus 2:11-12). Christians are often accused of believing we are saved by works because we emphasize verses like Acts 2:38. Many in the world today emphasize John 3:16. Are we saved by belief in Christ only? No; but we know belief is as important as grace. Are we saved by baptism only? No; but it is as important as belief and grace. Are we saved by grace alone? No; we need all of these things and the other things we’ve been talking about (repentance, a pure heart, etc.). We need to take in and obey the whole counsel of God. Without belief, grace, or baptism, we will all be lost eternally.
7. The believer who is saved by the gospel (Romans 1:16, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 4:17-18, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)! Is the believer of John 3:16 one who will be disobedient to the gospel? No; we just read how God will take vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The believer of John 3:16 has faith, a pure heart, is sorry about his sins and wants to do better, has been baptized, works by love, is saved by grace, and is saved by the gospel. Not every believer is the kind referred to in John 3:16. If you are not the kind of believer that Jesus had in mind in John 3:16, you should do something about that today. Why not become a Bible believer? One who obeys whatever the Lord commands. We hope to see you next time on “Speaking the Truth in Love”.