“For God so loved the world”
What an intensely thought challenging set of chapters we have today. The highlight of course is John 2,3, but first we have that marvellous 1 Chronicles 28 in which David, in his old age, charges Solomon his son to build a house (Temple). David declares that the LORD “has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel” (verse 5). Then, in verse 7, the Lord adds to this promise, but uses that significant little word, “if”:
“I will establish his kingdom forever if he continues strong in keeping my commandments and my rules, as he is today.” This is also a powerful exhortation for us; it is even more powerful in verse 9! “Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches all hearts … If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever” (verse 9). Ponder this! “The LORD searches all hearts!”
Next we have the heart-inspiring chapter 37 in Ezekiel of the kingdom age when God tells the prophet of the kingdom age when, “My servant David shall be king” and “shall be their prince forever” (verses 24,25). And then God “will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them …” (verse 26). And then a wonderful climax is described in the last verse! “Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore”. Surely this will then be “a house of prayer for all nations” (Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:17).
At that time, it will be truly said by all then alive: “For God so loved the world …” This brings is to the climax of our thoughts in the final verse of John 3. But first I took note of verse 16. Jesus says, “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 is the most wonderful promise that has ever been made. Do we appreciate God’s love? Do we live so that we show this? Let us all meditate at some time every day on the most powerful message with which the chapter concludes. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”
In what sense do fully committed believers have eternal life now? It is when their names “are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). Remember what we read two days ago in Paul’s words to the Philippians about those “who have laboured side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life” (4:3). Let us fully, without reservation, “believe” that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.