Monday, January 22, 2007

HE MADE THE BLIND TO SEE

He Made the Blind to See

The Lord Jesus was not attracted to this beggar because of his poverty, or because he was blind. The Lord Jesus sought out this beggar, as He said in John 9:3, in order “that the works of God should be made manifest in him”.
In this article we shall see how the works of God were made manifest in him. But before we turn to John, let us take some time out to see what God says about beggars in 1 Samuel 2:8. Here again we have an unnamed beggar, which means he represents a group of people, namely the people whom God has elected unto salvation. God is addressing not all beggars in 1 Samuel 2:8, but God is addressing only:

Certain Beggars

1 Samuel 2:8
He (the LORD) raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.

What is this verse saying?

Our God delights in mercy, and His gifts of grace are unbelievably great. Those whom He loves He gives the grace to realize that we are sinners on the way to Hell. But He saves every one of those sinners. He makes us realize that we are poor in spirit, and that we have nothing to offer to Him as payment for His favors. He makes us realize that we are beggars on the dunghill, begging for His favors. We were those beggars on the dunghill, where the dunghill refers to this sin-cursed world.

But when He saved us He also raised us up with Christ and we are seated with Christ in the heavenlies, waiting for the blessed moment of Christ’s return. Presently He calls us “pillars in the temple of God”, (Revelation 3:12) and God has set the course of this world for the revealing of His pillars. Pillars! From beggars to “pillars in the house of God”!

What an incredible gift that God has given us!

And when this world ends He will make us inherit the throne of glory in the world hereafter. That is why I said, God’s gifts of grace are unbelievably great.
Here we are meeting another beggar, who is also representing God’s elect. This man, who was blind from birth, was made seeing by the Lord Jesus. It was an act of creation, where Christ had to give the man new eyes and a new brain to process the images formed on his retina. This miracle of healing the blind man by the Lord Jesus Christ was a type or a picture of the salvation of every one of His elect. We all were spiritually blind, children of wrath, but now we can see clearly, and we can see how others remain in their blindness, because we have been there. God wrote here in John 9:24-41,

John 9:24-25
Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.
John 9:26

Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? How opened he thine eyes?
John 9:27

He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? Will ye also be his disciples?
John 9:28

Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples.
John 9:29

We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is.
John 9:30-31

The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
John 9:32-33

Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. If this man were not of God, he could do nothing.
John 9:34

They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out.
John 9:35

¶ Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
John 9:36

He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
John 9:37

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
John 9:38

And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
John 9:39

¶ And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
John 9:40-41

And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

We see here astounding contrasts. On the one hand we see in the Pharisees the ugliness of the carnal mind. God says that:

Romans 8:7
“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed CAN be.”

They refused to believe that Christ performed a miracle, and that this miracle was from God. On the other hand we see the blessed fruit of Divine grace in the formerly blind beggar. The first fruit of this grace was his unwavering faith in the One who opened his eyes.

John 10:27
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

On the one hand we see how the wickedness of the Pharisees reached their climax when they excommunicated the formerly blind beggar. And this forecasted their treatment of the Lord Jesus Christ about 6 months later. And think about this: Their hatred of Jesus was rooted in their envy of Him. It shows us what envy in a carnal mind can do. And this tells us that we can expect a similar treatment today from those who pride themselves in their degrees from prestigious seminaries.

They were graduates from honored seats of learning, and so it is far beneath their dignity to be instructed by an unsophisticated disciple of Christ. They claim to have all the answers because they are the experts in theology. Glorying in their seminary education they cannot allow that an ignorant layman has light on the Scriptures which they do not possess. And on the other hand we see what Divine grace can do: It brings the beggar to the feet of the Savior. It brings him to realize who his great Benefactor is, who has lifted up similar beggars from the dunghill and has made them sons of God.

The story of this beggar also anticipated the history of the Lord’s disciples, and how they too had to suffer under the hostility of their church leaders.

But what was the single evidence the formerly blind beggar held on to tenaciously?

He said, “I was blind, but now I see”. Look here at verse 25,

1. I Was Blind, But Now I See

John 9:25
He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or not, I know not: One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.

Look again here at the contrasts between the Pharisees and the man who was blind from birth. The Pharisees called again the man that was blind, and tried to intimidate him. They pretended to have discovered that the man Jesus was a sinner. The word they used for “sinner” is not the one that we use to indicate that we are born sinners like everyone else. The word for “sinner” that they used is the same as in the expression “publicans and sinners”.

It is the same word as used for harlots, and thieves, and murderers, and blasphemers. In other words, it is a title used for people who deserve to die because they are so sinful. The Pharisees were so blinded by their conviction that Jesus was from Satan that nothing could convince them otherwise. But they have not owned the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus said in:

Luke 16:31
“If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead”.

And when Jesus rose from the dead they still believed that this too was a work of Satan. On the other hand, when we see the simplicity and the honesty of the beggar, we realize that this was a child of God. He refused to join the Pharisees in putting down Jesus. He refused to be intimidated by his church authorities. He believed that Jesus was sent from God. He said in verse 33, “If this man were not of God, he could do nothing”.

Clearly, a miracle of grace has been done in him. Clearly, he showed all the signs to have been “Born Again”. Clearly, he defended the name of Jesus, and held high the name of Jesus, even if he thereby inherited the wrath of his church leaders. Clearly, he knew what Christ has done for him, and he was not letting anyone take this away from him. “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see”.

These are words which every saint must apply to himself. God converts every one of His elect from a sinner to a saint. This man had become a saint. There are many things of which a young believer has little knowledge. But one thing a young believer does know: He knows that the eyes of his understanding have been opened. He knows this, because he has discovered that he was a sinner, on a slippery slide into Hell. And he has seen that God made a way out of his terrible predicament. God appointed the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue us from the wrath to come. God appointed our refuge in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross.

God appointed John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ with the same message, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

Can a man repent and not know it?

Can a man believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and not know it?

Can a man pass from death unto life and be delivered from the stranglehold of sin and not know it?

Can a man be delivered from the power of darkness and be translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, and not know it?

Absolutely not!

The saints of God are a people that know.

We know whom we have believed (2 Timothy 1:12). We know that our Redeemer liveth (Job 19:26). We know that we have passed from death unto life (1 John 3:14). We know that all things work together for our good (Romans 8:28). We know that when the Lord Jesus shall appear we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2). The Christian Gospel is not a set of theories and hypotheses, but it is of certainties and realities. And therefore we join this formerly blind beggar in the words, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see”. Then they reviled this beggar and they tried to shake his faith. Look in verse 28. They said, “Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses' disciples”. This was a severe test for this man. Do we obey:


Moses or Christ?

This was a hard choice for this man, because he did not have the NT. All he knew were the Old Testament Scriptures. But he did not back down. The Pharisees clearly saw that this man was a genuine disciple of Jesus. This man had not claimed to be Jesus’ disciple, but he was easily recognized as such. His entire attitude was so different from the other Jews who looked up to the Pharisees as their masters. And therefore they drew back into their shell of expert religionists. We see this a whole lot these days. There are many who claim to be Calvinists, but Calvin would be ashamed of them. There are many who call themselves Lutherans, but they do not any more believe what the great Reformer had to say about election and Christ’s atonement. There are many who call themselves Baptists, but if John the Baptist would be here today he would say to them, “Flee from the wrath to come”.

There are many who call themselves “Reformed”, but they barely know what the term implies, or what the Reformers stood for. Many hide themselves in their shell of religionists, giving themselves a cloak of legitimacy. But God is not fooled by orthodox creeds. God looks at the heart.

Is our heart changed, and has our new heart affected our lives?

That is the real test of whose disciple we are. We may claim that the Bible is the infallible Word of God, but if we allow women to be Deacons and Elders and Pastors in our church, then the Bible does not seem so infallible any more. We may claim that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, but if we believe in the theory of evolution then the first 11 chapters of Genesis do not seem to be so inspired any more. We may claim that we give God all the glory, but if we claim to have a part in the process of our salvation, or if we believe that we must work together with God to get us saved, then God does not seem to get all the credit and all the glory any more. What we claim is not important, but what God has done in our hearts and lives that is important.

Do we know what it means to tremble at His Word?

Do we know what it means to have our worship service and our walk of life regulated by His commands, both from the Old Testament and from the New Testament?

Do we know what it means to do those things that are pleasing in His sight?

If we do not know these things, because God has not put these things in our heart, then the intellectual things we learn in church will only increase our condemnation.

If we do not know how to discern between Moses or Christ, then we have learned nothing in church. What is the difference between Moses and Christ?

We read in:

John 1:17
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.

What does this mean?

It means, if the Law is foremost in our mind, and we are always worried about breaking the Law, and we are counting how many times we broke the Law this week, then it means that we are no better off than the orthodox Jews of these days. Then it means that we are still under the Law, and it means that God’s grace has not touched our heart. “But grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”.

God’s unmerited favor was bestowed upon us, and the truth of the Gospel of grace was communicated to us. Yes this is found also in the Old Testmanent, but the atonement of Christ on the cross made it all much clearer. If we are disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ then what is foremost in our mind is the love of God for us, and our love for God as it is manifested by our constant striving to do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

But we know that the Pharisees had no love for God, because they had murder in their heart. They claimed to be disciples of Moses. They claimed to have searched the Scriptures so that they would obey Moses. But we know that they have not searched the Scriptures with a learning eye, but with a prejudiced eye. The Lord Jesus hit the nail on the head when He said in John 5:45-47:

John 5:45-46
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust.
John 5:46

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
John 5:47

But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

And so, since in their carnal minds they had judged the Lord Jesus already, they cast out the formerly blind beggar. It means his church excommunicated him. Happy man! These Pharisees, though they knew it not, had done him a real service. They had thrust him out into the most honored position of identification with Christ as the despised and the rejected One. But the Lord Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orphans, and He would never leave us nor forsake us. So,

2. Jesus Found Him

John 9:35
¶ Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?

As soon as the Pharisees had cast out the beggar, Jesus sought him out. The compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ is great. Christ knew full well the trial of this newly born soul, and Christ proved to be a very present help in trouble. The Lord Jesus comforted this man, and He revealed Himself to this man as “the Son of God”. We need to remember that this beggar was cast out before he knew Christ as “the Son of God”. Now he was on the outside of organized Judaism. While he was on the inside of organized Judaism Jesus did not reveal Himself to him. Can we see, this tells us where Jesus finds us and reveals Himself to us. It is necessary for our salvation that Jesus finds us, and not that we find Him. We will not search for Him. God says in:

Romans 3:11
“There is NONE that seeketh after God”.

But where did Jesus find this beggar?

In the world! He was kicked out of his church and was now in the world. The providence of God dictated that these Pharisees would kick him out. God did not commit that sin. This sin was fully of the Pharisees. But God set the stage, and then the Pharisees performed their evil work according to their evil nature, and everything fell in place according to God’s plan. You see, there is a message here for those people who are inside so called churches, which have drifted into another gospel, and where much of the truth of the Word of God is denied.

Christ will not reveal Himself to them while they are in a position that is dishonoring to Him. Nowhere in Scripture has God promised to honor those who dishonor Him in a false gospel. Our God is very jealous of the honor of His Son, and He withholds many spiritual blessings from those who fellowship with a religion that is an offense to Him. Therefore, it is far better to be cast out of such a false church, or to come out when we see how unfaithful that church has become.

God says in:

2 Corinthians 6:17-18
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean (thing); and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”.

God commands us to leave unscriptural and worldly churches.

We do not serve God when we attend such churches where God is not present.

When we are on vacation, and we are tempted to worship in such false churches, be aware that God is not pleased with our presence there.

We do not serve Jehovah in a temple of Baal. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate”! The beggar was kicked out and was in the world when Jesus found him.

Where did the Lord Jesus find us?

We too were in the world, outside the mainline denominations, when Jesus found us and drew us into this church, which is His church. God is not honored when His elect are wandering in this world. This world is a sin cursed world. This world is mostly under the dominion of Satan, except for a few places where there are saints. In Revelation 20:3 God calls this world “the Bottomless Pit”, where Satan dwells. God designed it this way. The Lord Jesus Christ saved us out of this Bottomless Pit, so that we cannot claim we had anything to do with it. It was 100% the work of God.

And although we presently still reside in this world, we do not dwell in the darkness of this Bottomless Pit. We dwell in the light because Christ gives us light. We must use our light to give light to our church and to give light to people in the world through our witness. But we too must be on our guard that we do not become a lukewarm church, and from there drift into apostasy, which seems to be the direction every church in history has drifted into.

And so, what was the response of the beggar to Christ revealing Himself?

And He Worshipped Him

The Lord Jesus asked him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God”?
A wonderful sensation went through the beggar when he heard this voice. He heard this voice before when he was still blind. It was the voice of Him who made clay and anointed his eyes. It was the voice he obeyed, because there was such an authority in that voice that he had to obey. We understand this, because the Bible tells us that He heard the voice of God. And is it not true that we are thrilled to hear this voice, because it is the voice of our Bridegroom. Be careful now. We do not hear His voice in our ears. Only those who believe that God is still bringing revelations today will imagine that they hear someone speaking in their ears. But God said in Revelation 22:18 that God finished His revelation to mankind, and from that point in time on God will not bring any further revelations. All those who claim to have additional revelations from God, after the Apostle John received this message from God, are liars whose end shall be in the Lake of Fire.

All those who follow the teachings of those who end up in the Lake of Fire, shall also end up in the Lake of Fire. Presently they have the time of their life listening to others who claim to have this revelation and that revelation from God, and who claim to have received messages in a dream, or in a vision, or in an angel visitation, or in a tongue.

These are not messages from God, but they are messages from Satan, who comes disguised as an angel of light. Near the end of time when Satan is being loosed for a while, Satan is allowed to break the barrier between the natural and the supernatural. Therefore we are on our guard for supernatural messages because they cannot be from God. But we hear the voice of our Bridegroom when we read and study the Bible. We hear His messages not in our ears, but in our hearts and in our minds.

We hear His messages clearly, without confusing gibberish, and we can relay those messages to other people without fear that we are adding to the Word of God. Jesus communicated with the beggar in clearly understandable words. Jesus asked the beggar, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God”?

John 9:36
He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
John 9:37

And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
John 9:38

And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

And he worshipped Jesus the Christ.

Did Jesus know that we must worship God alone?

Of course He did. Jesus did not say, “please do not do that; you must worship God alone”. Jesus did not stop him. Jesus admitted hereby that He was fully God. What a lovely climax is this in the spiritual history of the man who was born blind. God has begun a good work in him, God continues it through the process of sanctification and God will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. The story of this blind beggar is the story of almost every soul that is saved by grace.

At first a wretched and helpless man is sought out by the Lord; then God operates supernaturally on the man’s soul and gives him faith and an understanding of God’s Word. The next phase is when the man testifies to his acquaintances of the merciful work of God that has been wrought upon him. Then he is severely tested by the Lord’s enemies, which gives him the opportunity to grow in his faith, and to witness to them a good confession. He is denied the support of his parents, arraigned by the religious authorities, boldly telling them of the miracle wrought in him, and they revile him.

When he confessed that Christ was of Divine origin he was cast out of the religious systems of his day. Then he is sought out again by the Savior, he is taught the excellency of Christ, and as a result he takes his place at the feet of his Savior as a devoted worshipper, and there he will be forever. This is the historical narrative of almost every elect soul saved by grace, God’s irresistible grace. Then Jesus said:
3. For Judgment I Am Come Into This World

John 9:39
¶ And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

What does this mean?

I thought that Jesus did not come to Judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him?

Is that not so?

Did He not come “to seek and to save that which was lost”? (Luke 19:10).

Why then does Jesus speak of Judgment?

How can we understand this?

You see, the message of the cross is both that of salvation and of judgment. The objective of His mission was atonement unto salvation for all His elect. And when Christ completed His atonement, God committed Himself to save each one of His elect; not one could be added and not one could be forgotten. Therefore the consequence of this atonement was judgment on all those who were not elect. When Christ atoned for His elect He judged no one, and yet He judged every one.

God says in:

1 Corinthians 1:18
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God”.

From the human point of view the cross reflected weakness and foolishness. But looked at from God’s point of view it was a display of power and of wisdom. The display of Christ crucified was to the Jew a stumbling block. And to the Greek, from the fancied heights of philosophy, the cross was a contemptible thing. But from he vantage point of a poor sinner, looking at the cross from the depths of enormous guilt and need for a Savior, found in the cross a Divine answer to every question, and a Divine supply for every need. Therefore from our vantage point we can easily understand why Jesus said, “I am come that they which see not might see”.

We were those who did not see. We were those who were spiritually blind. By God’s grace He made us see our need for a Savior and He made us see Christ on the cross, who suffered and died in our place that we might be saved.

But why did Jesus say, “and that they which see might be made blind”?

It means that they, who in their self-righteousness claimed that they could see, would be made blind for the work of salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. They who do not need a Savior shall die in their sins, and they shall most certainly be removed to a terrible place called Hell. But those who have been hardened in their unbelief do not know that they are on the way to Hell. Those who are blind do not know that they are blind. So if Christ has hardened them in their unbelief, they do not know that they are perishing, until it is too late.

Then the question arises: What is the difference between these two groups of people? The difference is God’s mercy and grace. One group, those who have been saved, have received the mercy of God for their sins; Christ has satisfied the righteousness of God for all their sins. Moreover they have received the unmerited favor of God, who lifted up the beggars from the dunghill and set them on high as sons of God. The other group of people has not received any mercy or grace from God.

Only God knows why. But they do not know that they are outside the mercy and grace of God. Then the next question is:

How do we know to which group we belong?

How do we know if we are among those who have been made to see by Jesus?

This is a fearful question. Legitimately the Pharisees asked:

Are We Blind Also?

John 9:40-41
And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

The Lord Jesus explained this answer in John 15.
Jesus gave His farewell speech to the disciples in John 14, 15 and 16. Since Jesus was departing from them He packed together in these three chapters the most important principles for them to remember. He said,

John 15:22-23
If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.
John 15:24

If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

The simple meaning then of these words of Christ to the Pharisees is this:
“If you were sensible of your blindness and really desired light, salvation would be yours and no condemnation would rest upon you. But because of your pride and self-righteousness you refuse to acknowledge your wretched condition and your guilt remaineth”.

If we would leave it at that, it sounds like a “Do it yourself salvation”. However, we know that it is only by the grace of God that anyone might be sensible of their blindness and really desire light. Only God the Holy Spirit can make anyone see that they are in need of salvation.

Therefore, how do we know if we are among those who have been made to see?

We have to be honest and see what the desires are that are in our heart. God says in:

Psalm 37:4
“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart”.

What are the desires of our heart?

If we are children of the Most High, and if we truly love God with all our heart, then we desire to do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

Do we have that desire every day, not only on Sunday?

We always look for things to do that are pleasing in God’s sight. It is not something that we impose on ourselves, but it comes naturally. And if we see this blessed sign within our heart, then we know:

Philippians 1:6
“that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ”.
AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff


FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD

A study of John 3:16

For God So Loved the World

Today I would like to venture on a project that is far too big for an article, and that is perhaps far too big for a preacher like I am, for with his sermon I am taking on the majority church establishment, and they would rather have me dead than alive.

The sermon I am going to preach is titled “For God So Loved the World” from the well known verse John 3:16.

The reason I am preaching on this is:
I have been asked by many if I can give them a list which will prove our doctrinal stand from the Scriptures concerning

The Sovereignty of God


And to have a defense against the Arminian free-will gospel, which is an unbiblical position to hold. My advice to all those people is this: Keep listening to these messages, for in everyone of these messages the sovereignty of God is preached, and this sovereignty of God is found throughout the whole Bible. Keep listening to my past messages, for I have preached on the Sovereignty of God for 11 years. But if your Arminian friends choose not to listen to your quotations from the Scriptures because they have already labeled you a Hyper-Calvinist, then no reasoning whatsoever from the Scriptures will have them change their mind, for they choose not to listen because they are spiritually deaf and spiritually blind. We must rest our case with God, for God says in Proverbs 20:12,

Proverbs 20:12
¶ The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.
Only God can give them spiritual ears to hear, and spiritual eyes to see. Do they sin if they are born spiritually blind and deaf? O Yes! Man sins voluntarily.


That is why God says in Proverbs 28:9:

Proverbs 28:9
¶ He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

And if you search out in your concordance what “the Law” means, you find that it means the whole Bible. A grievous condemnation rests on those who refuse to listen to what the Bible says. And so, I decided to preach today on the most popular verse for those who are in an Arminian gospel, and I will try to erase the apparent contradictions that this verse seems to raise. But let us begin to notice the context:

1. What Is the Focus of John 3?

Most of the apparent contradictions in the Bible are generated by quoting verses out of context. It is a favorite pastime of those who are in an Arminian gospel to quote verses out of context. So let us see what wisdom we can glean from the context of John 3:16, and let us start at the beginning of this chap.

John 3:1
¶ There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
John 3:2

The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
John 3:3-4

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
John 3:5-7

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Nicodemus did not come to Jesus to praise Him for doing miracles, but Nicodemus came to Jesus to know His teaching about salvation. That is why Jesus answered him the way He did. Paraphrased Jesus said, “Before anyone may enter eternal life with God, he must first be born again”. Actually the term “born again” is an inaccurate translation. The proper translation from the Greek is “born from above”, to indicate that it is an action from God. The Lord Jesus explained this in verse 6 where He said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh”.

In other words, if you are only born of the flesh then you have experienced the first birth, and you have not experienced the second birth. But then He said, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. In other words, if you have been born of the Spirit of God then you have also experienced the second birth, and you have been born from above, which makes you fit to see the Kingdom of God. Can anyone make himself be born again? Of course not!

Can anyone, by making a decision to follow Christ, cause himself become born from above?

Of course you cannot! It is altogether God’s action if you are made fit to see the Kingdom of God. This was already expressed in chapter 1. Here in the introductory statements to the Gospel according to John, which is a synopsis of the Gospel of John, the Lord says in verses 12-13,

John 1:12
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Who are those who are eligible to become sons of God?

The answer is, “They that believe on His Name”.

And who are those who believe on His Name?

“Not they who were born in the right bloodline, and not they who were born of the will of the flesh, and not they who were born of the will of man, but they who were born of God”. They who were born from above, or born from the Spirit of God, are the only ones who believe on His Name. All others actually do not believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; instead they have put their trust in another god, whom they blasphemously named Jesus Christ, but who is not the God of the Bible. They who have called themselves “sons of God” have done so by the will of the flesh, or by the will of man. They have usurped the title “sons of God”, but they were not entitled to it. In other words, those who claimed that they by their own free will have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior, have, by their own admission, declared that they belong to the “born again” generation, not by the will of God, but by their own will of the flesh, and by their own will of man. They have stolen the name “sons of God”. This is clearly the meaning of John 1:12-13. And thus the focus of John 3 is Salvation.

How does God save someone?

First you must be born from above!

And what is our contribution to that event?

Nothing! We cannot make ourselves born again.

Can we force the hand of God?

No! Just like in our first birth, our second birth occurs to us without our control.

What Is God’s Action in This?

In the next verse the Lord Jesus Christ explains the action of God the Holy Spirit in this process of becoming “born again”. He says in John 3:8,

John 3:8

The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

This is an unfortunate translation, for this translation does not do justice to the work of God the Holy Spirit. Nor does it tell us how or what the operation of the Holy Spirit is. Literally the Greek text says in:

John 3:8
The Spirit breathes where He wills, and thou hearest His voice, but ye know not from where He comes, and where He goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
In other words, we can hear when the Spirit of God has touched someone, but we cannot know from where the Holy Spirit has come, or why He has come, and where He is going next. He simply breathes life into a soul here or there where He wills and not when we will, and then we can hear His voice, for His voice in praising the Lord Jesus comes through loud and clear in the ones whom He has made born from above. Even so, or on this wise, or after this manner, does it occur to every one who has been born of the Spirit. And these last words are in the passive voice, just like in verse 6, which means that the person who has been made born from above is passive in all this action of God the Holy Spirit. God’s irresistible grace is given to whom He will, and not to whom we will. That person being born again is born of God, and not born of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh. Again God emphasizes that we have nothing to do with our second birth. Then we read in verses 9-10,

John 3:9-10
Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

Nicodemus are you a teacher of Israel and you do not know these things?

You are supposed to know these things, because these things have been taught so clearly in the prophecy of Ezekiel, and in Psalm 51. In the first half of Ezekiel 36 God speaks to “the Mountains of Israel”, and God promises that these Mountains of Israel shall be the permanent inheritance of “My People Israel”.

Therefore, since this earth will be destroyed, this land cannot refer to some real estate here on this sin-cursed earth. This land must refer to the Kingdom of God on this earth. Then beginning in verse 16 God addresses the house of Israel, and how the house of Israel was really unworthy of receiving God’s grace of salvation. But then God speaks of His mercy and grace upon those whom He called “the House of Israel”, and God says in verse 25,

Ezekiel 36:25-28
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Clearly, God teaches here that He will infuse a new heart, or a new soul, into those whom He calls “the House of Israel”. Clearly, God is doing all the action, for He said, “I will put my spirit within you, and I will cause you to walk in my statutes”. And “the land” in verse 28 does not refer to the physical land of Canaan, but refers to “the Mountains of Israel” that He spoke of in the first 15 verses of this chapter, which is the permanent Kingdom of God in the hearts, or souls, of those whom God saves. Therefore those in whom God infuses a new heart are only those who become saved, because they are “born from above”.

Obviously, in this context “the House of Israel” does not refer to all the physical descendants of Jacob, for most of them remained unsaved. And neither does it refer to all the Jews in Babylon who were going to be delivered by the Medes and the Persians, for God saved only a remnant of them, and their children went apostate as much as their forefathers have done.

We now return to John chapter 3. This was the passage that Jesus referred to when He said, “Nicodemus, are you a teacher of Israel and you do not know these things?” God has taught these things in more places in the Old Testament. For example, He says in:

Ezekiel 11:19
“And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh”.

And God said in:

Psalm 51:10
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”.

And so we see that the concept of being “born from above” was already given in the Old Testament, but the teachers of the nation of Israel picked and chose only those passages that they liked, and thus their eyes remained closed to the real meaning of the Word of God. Just like today, when the teachers in the church are seeing only the historical tread through the Bible. When they are seeing only the storyline, both in the Old Testament and in the New estament, they are missing 90% of the emphasis that God placed in the Bible; emphasis that focuses on the sovereignty of God and on the real meaning of salvation.

What have we seen thus far in this chapter?

We have seen that the first step to salvation, from man’s perspective, is that we must receive a new heart, or a new soul, or equivalent to this: our soul must be regenerated, which means our soul must be made alive because the soul that we have from the time of our physical birth is a dead soul. It is a soul dead in trespasses and sins. Only God can give us a new soul, a soul that is alive to God. We have no control over this process of being “born from above”. And if God is not a liar the remainder of this chapter should harmonize with what we have found in these first ten verses. Let us now consider the heresy that has plagued the church for many centuries. And that heresy is that we must do something for our salvation. It is the heresy of:

Look and Live

John 3:11-13
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

In verse 11 the Lord Jesus said, “We speak that we do know”, referring not to Himself and the disciples, but to Himself and God the Holy Spirit. Then in verses 11 and 12 the Lord Jesus addresses “ye” and “you”, saying, “ye receive not our witness”, by which He refers to all mankind, including the Pharisees as well as the disciples.

God says in:

Romans 3:11
“There is NONE that seeketh after God”.

Therefore, if anyone does seek after the true God, like Nicodemus did, it is a sign that God has already done a miracle in his heart. We see the evidence of it when Jesus has died, and Nicodemus was not afraid to openly defile himself with the dead body of Jesus. Here again in verses 11 and 12 we see man’s inability to come on his own to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, and to know the Father who has sent Him. Only by the grace of God can we know Him. Then in verse 13 the Lord Jesus declared one of the divine attributes He has as the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. He said, “even the Son of man which is in heaven”. He did not say, “which was in heaven”, but “which is in heaven”. Since the Lord Jesus was fully God,

Colossians 2:9
“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”

He continued to retain His omnipresence as a divine attribute, and thus He was able to be present in the body of the carpenter of Nazareth as well as be in heaven. And then we read in verse 14,

John 3:14-15
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord Jesus referred here to an event that is described in Numbers 21:4-9. The scroll of Numbers is so called because therein the children of Israel are numbered. They were numbered twice: once when they left Egypt, and again 40 years later before they entered into the land of Canaan. Even the number of their camping sites was recorded in Numbers. But also all their sordid sins were recorded in Numbers. And one of those sins is what we are going to read presently.

Numbers 21:4-5
And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.
Numbers 21:6-7
And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people.
Numbers 21:8
And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
Numbers 21:9

And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

This story was written for the purpose of giving us a picture of what salvation is. The Lord Jesus draws from this picture the analogy of Him being lifted up on the cross. And so, what we see in verse 9 is that anyone who was bitten by the fiery serpents, was condemned to die unless that person went outside his tent and looked at the brass serpent on a pole, and then he was cured from the deadly venom of the fiery serpent. In other words, in order to save his life that person must look at the serpent on a pole. If he did not look he would certainly die. From this many churches have derived the heresy: “Look and Live”.

The Lord Jesus clearly draws the parallel between the Old Testament looking and present day believing.

Is this then the small thing that we must do?

Just like the children of Israel who were dying of the venom of the serpent had to look at the brass serpent on a pole, and save their life, even so today every one of us who is dying of the venom of sin has to look up to Jesus, believing that He can save us from our sins, and presto: we are saved.

Is this how God saves?

We must look to Christ, or believe on Christ, who is lifted up on the cross, and by taking this action we shall look and live, or we shall believe and have eternal life.

Is this then the small thing that we must do?

But this conclusion is altogether opposite to what we have been reading in the previous verses.

What is the correct interpretation?

The key is that there were two groups of people in the camp of Israel. The first group of people is characterized by verse 6, which says, “and much people of Israel died”. In other words, God was not merciful to these people. They rebelled against God and they died in their unbelief and in their sins. The second group of people is characterized by verse 7, who repented of their sins, and they said to Moses, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us”.

Now, where did this repentance come from?

The Bible says in Acts 5:31 that only God is the Author of repentance. All by himself, in his sinful nature, man cannot repent. But through the illuminating work of God the Holy Spirit a man is led to see himself as a sinner in rebellion against God, and as evil in nature. Therefore, a man’s repentance is always preceded by the work of God the Holy Spirit in his soul. Just think of the situation there in the wilderness. God gave the grace to some to live long enough so that they were alive until the serpent of brass was made and put on a pole Those who died were many, but those who were saved were few, for God says in Hebrews 3 that most of them died in the wilderness in unbelief.

Therefore, those who repented were saved, and those who did not repent died in unbelief. The serpent on a pole was not like a magic potion to give life to whosoever wants to exercise this magic. Likewise, the Lord Jesus lifted up on a cross is not like a magic potion to give eternal life to whosoever wants to exercise this magic. That is idolatry. To give the name of Christ to the idol that we are serving is blasphemy.

And so, what did we learn from this event of the fiery serpents in the wilderness?

We learned again how God saves. And we learned that we must read the Bible carefully, for God wrote the Bible in such a way that if we are bound and determined to go on a wide road that leads to Hell, we shall surely succeed. Also we have learned from this event that:

2. Salvation and Condemnation Is the Issue

John 3:16
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 3:17-18

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20-21

For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

I have read verses 16-21, because these verses belong together. But our focus will be altogether on John 3:16. The first thing we notice is that the second half of verse 16 is an exact duplicate of verse 15, and verse 15 is pointing to verse 14 where the Lord Jesus said that “Just like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up”, meaning “He must be lifted up on the cross”. And so, it should be kept in mind that in John 3:16 the cross is in view. And so the meaning of the words, “God gave His only begotten Son” should be understood that God gave the Lord Jesus as a sacrificial offering on the cross of Calvary.

Why did God have to do that?

It is widely understood that Christ’s offering of Himself was a substitutionary atonement, a satisfaction of God’s righteousness, for the sins of all those whose sins He came to pay. All those sins are insults to God. If you slap a policeman in the face you go to jail for a few days. If you slap the president in the face you go to jail for a long time. If you slap God in the face you go to Hell for a very, very long time. That is the penalty for sin, for any sin, great or small. This penalty for sin is in the Bible also called “the Second Death”, for God warned Adam that this penalty would be “dying you shall die”.

It is an eternal torment of dying and never coming to the end of it. That is why the word “perish” is in the text of John 3:16, but annihilation is not in view. More precisely, God says in Rom 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death”, and the death that God has in view is the Second Death in the Lake of Fire.

So far all these things have been agreed upon by almost all the churches in the world. What we have covered so far is not at all controversial. The words that are controversial are in the sections, “God so loved the world”, and “that whosoever believeth in Him”. Most churches have drifted into the understanding that God so loves every human being in the world that He gave His only begotten Son on the cross of Calvary for their sins. They have drifted into this interpretation, which is an Arminian interpretation, but from the beginning it was not so. In the 17th century almost all the Protestant churches were either Lutheran of Calvinist. The teachings of Jacob Arminius were considered an abomination. But when the Methodist movement began, also the teachings of Jacob Arminius became more and more acceptable. And today most people do not even know there is another view. So let us see what we can conclude from the context.

If God indeed loves every human being in the world, then why does God in verse 19 say that He condemns a portion of human beings?

Verse 19 answers, “Because their deeds were evil”.

Does this mean then that if their deeds were good, they would receive credit for these good works, and thus they would be rewarded?

But verse 21 says that those good deeds reveal that they have been worked in God. In fact, the Greek text says clearly that those good works exist because they have been worked in God. In other words, God is the Author of those good deeds. God has used human beings to perform the good deeds He wanted done. But this means that God favors some people by making them His servants. This means that there is such a thing as election, and that God bestows His favors primarily on the elect. On the other hand, there is such a thing as reprobation, for God says in verse 19 that there is a portion of the world of mankind that God hates. For Light has come into the world, Christ has come into the world, for John 1:4 says that Christ was the light of men, and men loved the darkness of sin more than Christ, who is the Light. This “world” in verse 19 is the same word for “world” in verse 16. It is the Greek word “kosmos”. Can you see the controversy between verses 16 and verse 19? In verse 16 God loves the world. But verse 19 speaks of the condemnation that comes upon the world.

Is it possible that there are two different kinds of world in the Bible?

And this is indeed so. Let us then consider now:

The Seven Meanings of the Word “Kosmos”

Many people suppose they already know the simple meaning of John 3:16 and they conclude that they do not need to study this verse. Such an attitude shuts out any further insight which they might obtain on this passage. If we just take our clues from the Concordance we can immediately see seven different meanings of the word “Kosmos”, which has been translated “world” in our King James Bibles.

1. Kosmos is used of the universe as a whole:

Acts 17:24
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;

2. Kosmos is used of this physical earth:

John 13:1
¶ Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

3. Kosmos is used of the world-system:

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

4. Kosmos is used of the whole human race:

Romans 3:19
¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

5. Kosmos is used of the world of the unsaved:

John 15:18
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
Believers do not hate Christ, so that the world here must mean the world of all the unsaved.

Romans 3:6
God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
Here the world cannot mean believers, for the saints will not be judged on the Last Day.

6. Kosmos is used of the world of the Gentiles, in contrast from the Jews:

Romans 11:12
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
Here the world cannot mean all humanity, for it excludes Israel

7. Kosmos is used of the world of the elect only:

John 1:29
¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 3:16
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 3:17

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 6:33
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

John 12:47

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.

1 Corinthians 4:9

For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

And so we see that God uses the word Kosmos in at least seven clearly defined different meanings in the New Testament.

Has God then used this word to confuse people who casually read the Scriptures?

No! But neither has He written the Bible for lazy people, or for people who are too busy with the things of this world. I have given seven examples for usage definition number seven, because this world of the elect is denied by those who adhere to an Arminian understanding of the Gospel. The Arminian gospel is a free-will gospel where everything depends on man’s own free-will. Man is the king-maker, and God is the servant of man. God waits and postpones His decisions based on man’s actions and desires. But let it be known that this is a different god than the God of the Bible. If anyone wants to serve the god of Jacob Arminius, let him be aware that this is an impotent idol. And idolatry is one of the most hated sins in God’s eyes. At this point in time all of you can clearly see that I have not finished this discussion of John 3:16. If the Lord wills, I shall pick up this thread next time where I left off.
AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM

A study of John 3:16

Whosoever Believeth in Him

We have seen that the theme throughout John 3 is: “This Is How God Saves”. And we have seen that the verses preceding John 3:16 are all agreeing concerning the sovereignty of God. They all agree that we cannot make ourselves become born from above, and we cannot cause ourselves become born of God by the will of the flesh or by the will of man, for this occurs only by the will of God.

We cannot force the hand of God or force the Spirit of God by making a decision for Jesus, or by making us be baptized in water, or by saying the sinner’s prayer, or by accepting the Lord Jesus as our Savior, for God the Holy Spirit breathes on whom He wills and not on whom we will. We saw, from Ezekiel 36 that God takes the initiative to put a new heart within us, which means that our dead soul has become alive, since it has become born from above. And God will take the initiative to put a new spirit within us, which means that we now have an ongoing desire to do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

We have seen that there were two groups of people in the camp of Israel in the wilderness. One group of people died without mercy from the venom of the fiery serpents, and another group of people was given grace unto repentance, and God gave them the grace to live long enough to see the brass serpent made and be put on a pole, and they were healed from the venom of these fiery serpents. We have seen, from the words of John 3:14-15, that this event whereby the Israelites looked on the brass serpent is equivalent to us believing that the Lord Jesus on the cross paid the full price for our sins.

But like the children of Israel were given the grace to see the serpent on a pole, so in like manner we are given the grace to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as our sin-bearer on the cross. But now we have arrived at a sticky issue. For in this century many churches hold to the doctrine that first we must believe on the Lord Jesus as our Savior, first we must accept Him as our Redeemer, and then in response He will save us from our sins and from the consequences of our sins. In other words, beginning with John 3:16, they conclude that we have an active part in our salvation: we must accept Him and believe, or else Christ’s blood will not cleanse us from our sins.

Is this really so?

Is it possible that the conclusions from John 3:16 run opposite to the conclusions from the previous 15 verses, and even opposite to the conclusions of chapters 1 and 2?

You very well know that this is impossible! God is not a liar in one place and speaks the truth ten verses later. Let us read:

1. For God So Loved the World

John 3:16
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.

Last week we looked carefully at the first half of this verse, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son”, and we saw that all the controversy around the first half of this verse centers on the understanding of the word “world”. Many people have said unto us, “Of course the word “world” means what it says; it is the whole world, it means everybody in this world;

is it not true that God loves everybody in this world?

Well, that means you are taking this verse out of context.

For the Bible does not say anywhere that God loves everybody in this world. We know how difficult it is to set aside the traditions of men. We have heard this verse explained from the days of our youth, and we have difficulty accepting that we have been wrong for such a long time. Nevertheless, if we are not continuously learning from the Bible, we set ourselves up for being sucked into a cult. If we hold the opinion of our former teachers higher than the opinion of God the Holy Spirit, we set ourselves up for a fall.
God says in:

Jeremiah 17:5
“Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD”.

In other words, if you put your trust in what man says rather than what God says you shall fall under the curse of God, for you have departed from listening to God.

Is it possible that the same meaning of the word “world” would remain constant through the Bible?

No! That is not possible.

If we assume that the word world in John 3:16 means everybody in the whole wide world, and that God loves everybody in the world so much that God caused His only begotten Son to be sacrificed on the cross for everybody in the world, then how do we explain a great many verses in the Bible which state that God does not love the world?

For example, we read in 1 John 2:15-17,

1 John 2:15-17
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Clearly, this is a world that we should not love, since God does not love this world either. You might say that this world does not include people but only things. We may not be overtaken by a desire to have more and more things of this world. That is true.

But can you see that this is one of the many different meanings of the word “world”?

On the other hand, we can find verses here in John where the word “world” refers to people who hate Christ and hate His people also, and whom the Lord does not love. For the sake of illuminating John 3:16 I will try to restrict myself to references just out of the Gospel according to John. Let us see what God says about the word “world” in the Gospel of John. We have here in chapter 17 the High Priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus, just before He went to the cross. He says in:

John 17:9
“I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine”.

This is surprising from two points of view. First of all, this is a world that Christ does not pray for, and thus it cannot be a world for whom He died on the cross, because Christ does not love this world, and this world does not love Him. Secondly, this verse lays down the principle that there are only some people Christ prays for and others He passes by. The Lord Jesus prays here for His disciples, and in verse 20 He prays for us.

John 17:20
“Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word”.

These two verses should be taken together, for in this entire chapter these two verses indicate for whom the Lord Jesus is praying and for whom He is not praying. He prays for His disciples, and He prays for all those who shall believe on Him as their Savior and Redeemer from sin and Satan. He is not praying for everyone else in the world who remains unsaved. This world of the unsaved is His enemy. This world of the unsaved hates the disciples because this world also hates Christ. We can see this clearly in verses 14-16.

John 17:14
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
John 17:15-16
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

What Is that World?

In John 15 the Lord prepares His disciples for the sufferings they are going to meet in the world that hates them. He says in John 15:18,

John 15:18
¶ If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
John 15:19-20

If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

There are three principles here. First of all, the Lord speaks here of the world of the unsaved; it is the world of people who will never become saved. Believers do not hate Christ, so that the world here must refer to a world of unbelievers, in contrast to the world of those who love Christ. Verse 18 refers to a world of people who hate God and who hate those who are children of God. In His omniscience God knows this. God knows that they are going to Hell and that they are going to spend an eternity there.

Would this then be the world of people that God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son to suffer and die on the cross on behalf of all their sins?

Should God so increase the sufferings of Christ that He must not only pay for the sins of all those who will certainly be saved, but also pay for all the sins of people who will definitely pay for their own sins in Hell?

Can you see that this situation is getting ridiculous?

Can you see that this is altogether insulting the perfect omniscience of God, for God knows the end from the beginning?

Secondly, the Lord says in verse 19, “ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world”.

What does this mean?

Does it not mean that the disciples belong to a different world than those who hate God?

We see here a world that hates God, and another world of which the disciples belong. And from John 17:20 we know that we who are saved also belong to that world of the disciples. The Lord Jesus says, “I have chosen you out of the world”. In other words, He chooses to bestow His favors on some whom He chose out of the world of the unsaved, and placed them into a world that He is going to save. There is a world of the unsaved and there is another world of those whom Christ has picked out of the world of the unsaved.

The world of the unsaved is going to be destroyed on the Last Day; that is not the world that Christ came to save, for it will not be saved; it will be destroyed. But the other world of those whom Christ has chosen is a world that shall be saved; it is a world that already exists now, but it is empty.

It is the world of the New Heaven & New Earth that shall be inhabited by all those whom Christ chose and saved, and whose soul is the dwelling place of God. That is the world that shall be saved. Thirdly, the Lord says in verse 20,
“The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you”.

It means that all the disciples would be persecuted and would suffer for the sake of Christ. However not only the 12 disciples, but all believers shall be subject to persecution and shall suffer for the sake of Christ, for these words of verse 20 apply to all believers throughout time. We who are saved are all servants of Christ; we are not greater than Him, and thus we shall suffer persecution as He did. And so, we see that the Lord Jesus painted a contrast between two worlds: an evil world of the unsaved who remain unsaved, and another world consisting of the ones chosen out of that evil world. This contrast becomes even clearer when we consider the following verse.

The Lord speaks here of the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit. We read in John 14:17,

John 14:17
Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Which world cannot receive the Spirit of Truth?

It is the evil world of the unsaved who cannot receive God the Holy Spirit, for to receive the Holy Spirit is equivalent to salvation. They cannot receive the Holy Spirit, for God did not plan to save them. That is why those who have been chosen out of this evil world, and are spiritually placed into another world altogether, do receive the Spirit of Truth. And so what we have seen from these few verses out of John 17, and 15, and 14 is that the word “world” has several meanings, but two of those meanings are the evil world of those who remain unsaved, and the world of those whom the Lord chose out of the evil world and placed into another world, the world of the chosen ones. Let us now apply these conclusions into the verse of consideration in this article, John 3:16. And here we see both of those worlds contrasted against each other. The first thing we observe is that the “world” in John 3:16 does not refer to every human being in this world, but refers to the world of those who have been saved. We read in:

John 3:16-17
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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:18
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:19
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

We see in verse 16 that the world which God loves is a world filled with believers. This is a world for which Christ shed His blood so that this world might be saved. We see in verse 17 that this same world will not be condemned, but will be saved. And thus, the world of verses 16 and 17 is the world of the chosen of God. But in the next two verses we see another world that is being condemned. In verse 18 the Lord speaks of those who will be condemned for their unbelief. And in verse 19 we see that this is the world of the unbelievers which will be condemned; it will be destroyed on the Last Day, and the men who loved the darkness of sin more than Christ, the Light of the world, shall also be condemned, “because their deeds were evil”.

They shall have to pay for their evil deeds in Hell, rather than have Christ pay for their evil deeds on the cross. And so, we have arrived at these conclusions because the meaning of the word “world” depends on the context. This is a principle which we must apply to all interpretations of Scripture. We must always let the context control our interpretations of Scripture, or else we would arrive at contradictions, which cannot be tolerated, for God is not a liar. Now let us look at the second half of John 3:16, and consider the second controversial subject matter:

2. Whosoever Believeth in Him

John 3:16
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.

Does “whosoever” really mean whosoever?

In this context, Yes! Whosoever means ALL those that believe in Christ as their Savior from sin and Satan have received everlasting life. It is not something reserved for the distant future, but everlasting life begins now, in this life, and it is given to whosoever believes in Christ.

But who out of his own initiative does believe? Have you heard of the Four Nones in the Bible?

Yes, let me tell you of the Four Nones that we find in the Bible. God says in Romans 3:10-12,

Romans 3:10-12
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (1st None) There is none that understandeth (2nd), there is none that seeketh after God (3rd None). They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (4th None).

Is God exaggerating a little bit here?

Absolutely NOT! God is driving home the principle that there is no one in the whole wide world who of his own accord will come to believe on the Lord Jesus as his Lord and Savior. No One! Just like Lazarus was dead in the grave (John 11), so is every person initially born into the world, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, incapable of doing any good work that pleases God. God considers our souls as dead. That is why we need to be “born from above” in order to see the Kingdom of God.

How did Lazarus become alive?

Well, the Lord Jesus called him: “Lazarus, come forth!” But a dead man cannot hear this call from the Lord Jesus. And thus it means that Christ first made Lazarus alive so that he could hear the call from his Lord. Lazarus did not come alive because he heard the call from Jesus. Lazarus first became alive and then he heard Jesus calling and then he came forth. And so it is with each one who becomes saved. Initially we are like stinking corpses in the sight of God.

None of us is able to respond to the command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Only when the Lord has made a person here or there alive is that person able to obey the command to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and show the evidence of his or her salvation by the faith to believe all that is in the Word of God. We are not saved because we decided to believe the Bible.

We believe because we were first made alive by God, and then we were able to respond to the Gospel call. We do not put our trust in our acceptance of the Lord Jesus as our Savior. Or let me say it in a different way. We do not put our trust in our own faith, but we put our trust in Christ and what He has done for us. Our faith is not the cause of our salvation. Our salvation is the reason for God’s gift of faith. Our faith is a gift from God.
There we read:

John 3:27
John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.

God gave us here a very basic principle. Everything that we have received are gifts from God. All things that we humanly call good or bad, both prosperity and adversity, are all gifts from God. And that includes faith. Faith is also a gift from God as is shown in John 6:29. The Jews asked the Lord Jesus,
“What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? In other words, they were asking, “What can we do that is pleasing to God?” They did not directly think of salvation for the Jews believed that they were all gong straight to heaven since they were children of Abraham and since they obeyed the Ceremonial Law.

And what was Jesus’ answer to this question?

He said in verse 29,

John 6:29
“Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent”.

This is the work of God. If you believe on Jesus Christ, this is the work of God. This is a very straightforward answer. Do not think that you can conjure up a true faith in Christ; it must be a gift from God, for this is the work of God to work in us that which is pleasing in His sight. It pleases Him if we have faith in Christ, but of our own selves we cannot bring forth such a faith. Salvation is entirely a gift from God, and thus the signs of salvation, including faith, are all gifts from the Almighty. If “whosoever believeth in Him has everlasting life” then ALL who are saved show as the outward sign of salvation that they believe.

And since none of the unsaved shall believe the true Gospel, for it remains hidden to them, none of the unsaved shall have this sign of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. But now we have to ask:

Shall everyone who has a superficial knowledge of Jesus Christ be saved?

Shall everyone who believes in the historical Jesus be saved?

This is a legitimate question, for even the Moslems believe in the historical Jesus Christ. They consider Him to be a prophet. Shall such superficial knowledge of Jesus Christ be sufficient to satisfy the righteousness of God? And right away we realize that there is a deeper meaning attached to the phrase, “Whosoever believeth in Him”. The Moslems believe in Jesus, but their Jesus is a different Jesus than the one you and I believe in. And so, the real question boils down to this:

Which Jesus?

Can we state unambiguously which Jesus Christ we put our trust in?

If God gave us the faith to believe on Christ, then which Christ is this that He made us believe in?

The answer is found in the First chapter of the Gospel of John. God introduces us here to the real Jesus Christ, the Christ of the Bible, the Christ in whom we believe if God indeed gave us that faith. He is the Christ who is not only the Son of God, but He is God Himself. He is the Second Person of the Triune God, God the Son, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. We read here in John 1:1,

John 1:1
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And as you very well know, “the Word” that is mentioned three times in this verse refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is called here the Word, for His name is also called, “The Word of God”. And what this name refers to is the Bible, the whole Bible. The name of Christ is the Word of God, because the Bible describes the Lord Jesus Christ in full, as far as we humanly can know Him. We cannot know Him in all His glory, but as complete as we can know Him in this life so the knowledge of Him can be obtained from the Bible, which is the Word of God. God spoke and the world came into being. Again God spoke, and the Bible came into being.

Now, if the description of God and of Christ is complete in the Bible, then it stands to reason that if we are adding something to the Bible or if we take away something from the Bible, then the image of Christ in the Bible has also changed. Christ and the Bible are intimately woven together as one tapestry. It means that in the phrase,
“Whosoever believeth in Him” must refer to putting our trust in the atoning work of the Christ of the Bible.

Not only do we trust that the Lord Jesus Christ made a full atonement for our sins to the full satisfaction of the righteousness of God, not only that He paid the full penalty that was due for our sins, the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, but also do we believe that everything in the Bible holds true, for this is a full description of the Christ in whom we trust. If there is anything in the Bible that we do not like, and that we eliminate from our minds, we end up with a Christ who is somewhat less than the whole Bible, and thus we have a different Jesus Christ than the one who is described by the whole Bible.

We have here a verse that is deliberately omitted or changed by many churches for this verse does not fit their view of end time events. The Lord said in John 5:28-29:

John 5:28-29
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

The Lord says here that there will be a time in history when at the same hour all that are in the graves shall be resurrected. This is the moment at the last trumpet call from heaven, just before the final judgment, that all the saints will be resurrected and raptured to be with Christ forever, and all the unsaved will be resurrected to stand before the great white throne, and will be judged, and will be cast into Hell. Many churches have inserted a thousand years between the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the unsaved. They have changed the meaning of this verse, and not only this verse but they have also changed many other verses in the Bible to make them fit their eschatology.

What have they done?

They have made themselves a christ who is smaller than the Bible portrays Him to be, but he is not the Christ of the Bible. He is an impotent idol. I dare to say this on the authority of the Word of God, for God says that we may not add to, nor take away from the Word of God. If we do so we have exchanged the true God for an impotent idol. But let us now turn to the matter of John 3:16. I have shown that the interpretation of John 3:16 completely fits the context of the verses preceding it.

The context states beyond any doubt that God is totally sovereign in His decision whom He will save and whom He will not save. And John 3:16 completely agrees with this context. It does not make God a liar, by stating two different things in the same chapter. In fact, the entire Gospel of John agrees that God is totally sovereign in salvation.

All That the Father Giveth Me

In this chapter the Lord Jesus laid down the principles of election in a very straightforward manner. There is no beating around the bush. These verses can only be interpreted one way. We read in:

John 6:37-38
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

Even though this verse needs no paraphrase, allow me to restate this in my own words: All those whom the Father has chosen to salvation have been given to the Lord Jesus, and they shall come to Him for God shall make them come to Him. Therefore all those who shall come to Jesus He will not turn away, for God has sent them. And then the Lord says: For this purpose I came down from heaven, not to do My own will but to atone for the sins of all those whom the Father has given Me. And thus we conclude that God’s electing love is on display in verse 37, and Christ’s atonement for His elect is in view in verse 38. God elects those whom the Father has chosen to give to Christ for a Bride.

John 6:39
And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

In other words, none of those whom the Father has given to Jesus for a Bride shall be lost. They shall all persevere as saints unto the end of their life, and Christ shall raise IT up on the Last Day.

What shall Christ raise up?

He does not say, I shall raise them up on the Last Day, but He said, I shall raise IT up on the Last Day. He refers thereby to the world of the elect, the New Heaven & New Earth, which He will have on display at the resurrection on the Last Day. Clearly, the resurrection of the saints and their following rapture will take place on the Last Day, and there will be no 1000 years after the Last Day. Next verse:

John 6:40
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
In other words, it is the Father’s will that everyone which sees the Son and believes on Him, shall have eternal life. This particularly applies to the 11 disciples who were eyewitnesses of the ministry of the Lord Jesus. They shall be resurrected with everyone else on the Last Day; not sooner & not later.

John 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:45

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

In other words, No one who is not among the elect shall turn to Christ, for no one who is not drawn by the Father shall come to Christ. They are not willing and they are not able to come to Christ. All who shall come to Christ have been drawn by the Father to come. Clearly, unconditional election is in view in verses 44 and 45. And all those shall be resurrected on the Last Day, not sooner and not later. Clearly, there is none who of his own accord shall come to Christ in faith.

God, in His omniscience, did not draw those whom He saw would turn to Christ, for no one is able to do that. Moreover, they shall all be taught by God, and that is why they shall come to Christ.

John 6:64
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
John 6:65

And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.

We see here in verse 64 that there are people who will not be saved, for Christ knew from the beginning whom He will pass by. These did not belong to the group of people whom the Father had given to Jesus. And if you perhaps still did not understand what Jesus was saying in verse 44, He repeats it here in verse 65. No one can come to Jesus except it were given him by the Father.

In other words, no one can be saved unless he was chosen by the Father unto salvation. No one who of his own accord accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior is saved, for it is a salvation program that does not bear the approval of the Father.

All those gospels whereby man must make a decision whether he will believe on the Lord Jesus, really do not save anyone, for they are man-made gospels. This really nails down the meaning of the phrase,
“Whosoever Believeth in Him”, for only those whom the Father has drawn to Jesus will believe on Him in a way that bears the approval of the Father.

Is this a Gospel that was popular among the Jews?


Absolutely not! We read in the next verse:

John 6:66
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.


And so it goes with the true Gospel that is preached today. It is not a popular Gospel. God is sovereign, and God will not be mocked. But people ignore the words that God wrote, and people will invent their own way of salvation. There is no fear of God before their eyes. The fact is that the interpretation of John 3:16 that I have given here is in conflict with what most churches today believe. They will refuse to believe the words of John 6, and many other verses that speak of the sovereignty of God. The fact that they refuse this does not change God. God is still sovereign. God is on the throne. And we must remain faithful to the Bible. We must remain faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him belong all the honor and all the glory.
AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff