For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
– John 3:16
“Researcher George Barna has reported 51 percent of people in America believe if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in Heaven. But the infallible Word of God says that just isn’t so! People who put their faith in their own earned way are mistaken.
“In the apostle Paul’s day, many Jews believed their only entrance into Heaven was obeying the Ten Commandments (and another 600-plus as well). But zeal for the law was misdirected then, and living by the Commandments or the Golden Rule is not salvation’s means today.
“Jesus, who is God, said the only way to God was through Him. Some quarrel with “easy believism.” They say there has to be something more. But Jesus is enough. He is all in all. He is the door, and there is no other way. And the way is open to whoever – no one is excluded.
“Share your gladness at being a “whoever” with one of the 51 percent who need to find the Truth. Pray for them to hear, have faith, and believe in God’s provision through Jesus Christ…while there still is time.”
– Presidential Prayer Team Devotion
Okay, for those keeping track, I used the encounter with Nicodemus not that long ago. Then you have a statement from A. W. Tozer, “I have never had the courage to prepare and preach a sermon with John 3:16 as the text.” (from Christ the Eternal Son.) I quoted from this same book a couple of days ago, about Tozer’s feeling of inadequacy. In not preaching on John 3:16, he said that he became so overwhelmed by the genuine love of God. He said that just thinking about those words ‘For God so loved the world’, he felt that he was on hallowed ground just thinking about it. He wanted to take off his shoes any time he mentioned the verse. Yet, he did admit that he’d written about John 3:16 in at least 15,000 to 20,000 prayers, testimonies, and in his writing.
The devotion focuses on two words in the verse. First, the word ‘believe’ being the one thing that we must do. I am not in the quarreling camp against ‘easy believism,’ but I do agree with Lee Strobel, who says that a better translation of the word ‘believe’ is ‘trust in.’ As C. S. Lewis said, you can believe that a cord will hold a box closed when shipped. It is another thing entirely to believe that a rope will suspend you above a precipice. I did my share or rappelling in the Army. You treated your rope with great care. If you stepped on a rope, grinding sand into the fibers, you were not to use it for rappelling again. After all, it was the only thing keeping you from falling. The difference in the words ‘believe’ and ‘trust’ is often referred to as head knowledge and heart knowledge. Yes, you believe that Jesus existed 2,000 years ago, but can you stake your life upon His sacrifice for you? That eighteen inches between head and heart makes all the difference.
As for the other word ‘whoever’, I only sit in utter amazement. I was the proverbial ‘good kid’ going up, but I had my moments. Most of them stemmed from the attitude that I could do it all myself. When I got into a jam, I quickly started praying. From my wrestling with God over the first commandment, I shake my head, wondering why He chose me.
Have you ever sat down and thought about just that? Why did God pick me? There are others more handsome. There are others more successful. Then there are others who are downright ugly and not successful at all. When I look at all the people in the world, I may be pretty smart, but all other markers place me into the ‘average’ category.
Some may argue with that. “You are an Eagle Scout. You were a Captain in the US Army. You are an ordained elder in the church. You are far from ordinary.” Yet, you can reach each of those things by putting in the effort and setting the goal.
I am indeed a ‘whoever’.
Does that describe you?
Maybe you have a skill set that no one on earth has, but couldn’t someone else have achieved that skill set also? The fact that some of the whoevers of this world have special gifts, we should share those gifts for the Glory of God.
But as someone said in Sunday school recently, believing in Jesus Christ gets us in the door, with belief we have salvation, but once we are saved, we will want to share our gifts with others. If we are rewarded, that’s fine, but if Jesus is dwelling inside us, His love will pour out, as long as we don’t get in the way.
From one whoever to another, pass the word. “Jesus saves!”
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.