Posts Tagged ‘John 3:16’

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. Romans 8:16-17

Are You a Child of God?

Sadly, the term ‘child of God,’ (or children of God), is far too often misappropriated. While it is true we are all of His making, we are not all His children. God’s word is explicit: all people childare God’s creation (‘For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth…All things were created through Him and for Him.’), but only those who are born again are children of God. That’s not to say God doesn’t love everybody. John 3:16 reminds us that God loves everyone and desires that all become His children. But know this: the ‘child of God’ designation is reserved for a very unique group of people.

Some will disagree.

To them I lovingly say that this isn’t my opinion; it’s the Bible, so we should examine what God has to say on the matter.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

This passage is pretty cut and dry: only born again believers have the right to be called children of God and subsequently are joint heirs with Christ Jesus. In fact it was Jesus who said,

“Truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ John 3:5-7

Born Again?

The phrase ‘born again’ literally means ‘born from above,’ signifying that it is something we cannot do ourselves; it’s 100% Divine. Our re-birth is in reality an act of God that we receive by faith; believing that God’s word (His Bible) is true and that God sent Jesus (our Lord and Savior) to die for our sins. Therefore (and because God has already declared it), we believe we are new creations in Christ, that Jesus did the work that we were unable to, and that it was all according to His Grace and His mercy. A born-again person is a saved person, and a saved person is a child of God.

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9


If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons (Hebrews 12:7a)

This verse reminds us that children of God (both sons and daughters) are willingly stusubmitted to their Father; it is a choice freely made. But don’t let the word ‘chasten’ frighten you away. While it’s true that chasten does mean to correct by punishment, that’s only part of the equation. The word used here [in the Greek] is paideiva,’ and it covers the entire scope of training and education, relating to holy cultivation of both mind and morals, employing direct commands, admonitions, reproof, and yes, occasionally punishment for the purpose of correcting mistakes and curbing passions.  In this regard children of God understand that whatever God does to us, is a benefit for us.

“If you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Hebrews 12:8-10

God’s Words, Not Mine

But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Hebrews 1:8 

Bastard is not a term I would have used, as it seems a bit unkind, but God uses it to drive home the point. Plainly said, if you’re not a born again Christian, you are illegitimate and cannot be considered His son or daughter, and therefore, you have no Heavenly inheritance. I’m not bringing it up in order to mock or belittle you, but rather to offer you a change and invite you into the family of God. As His child, I have His permission to do that. All that is required of you is that you believe (you don’t have to understand).

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

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“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

The verse is explicit: our minds (our will; our thinking) should line-up with God‘s will. The only question that remains is,

What is the will of God?

The first clue comes directly from the Ephesians passage. When the Apostle Paul instructs us, “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others,” he is effectively saying, “As it pertains to God’s will, don’t be selfish.” 

However, we’re still left with the question of God’s specific will for the individual. On that issue we turn to Second Peter.

“The Lord is…not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Before we go any further, do you believe the truth revealed in John 3:16-17?

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

If you do, and if you want your will to be aligned with God’s will, then do as I have done and reverently insert your name into the 2 Peter 3:9 passage:

“The Lord and (Dave) are not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

Let this mind be in you!

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1 Corinthians 10:23

All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

This verse is often taken out of its context in order [for some] to justify a questionable behavior or activity. I would suggest that before exercising any presumed freedom or liberty in Christ Jesus that you consider your honest responses to the following three questions.

1) Can I thank God for what I am about to do?
2) Will God be glorified? 
3) Will I stumble another person?

This is close to the spot where the ‘Name-it-and-claim-it,’ prosperity indoctrinaters get it all wrong. These false teachers would have us believe that life in Christ revolves around us having our best lives now. My Bible does not teach that. In fact it says (in Philippians 2:13), “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

That should give us pause. 

The truth is that God blesses everybody (yes, even non-Christians); He makes His sun rise on both the evil and on the good (Matthew 5:45), therefore let us never consider these benefits as something we’ve earned, are entitled to, or we can claim by faith.  That is just not the case at all. When God blesses, He does so that all the glory will come back to Him.


Is our God vain? No, He is not. Our God is loving and gracious and kind. While it’s true He blesses both the evil and the good; the saved and the unsaved, at the end of the day only those who believe in Christ Jesus will spend eternity with Him. The reality is that when evil people die, God’s blessings officially cease.

God’s plan, at least in part, is that by blessing all people, all people might singularly recognize Him as a faithful and generous provider, and thus commit [by faith] their lives to Him and be saved. One of the most cherished blessings God has given all people is His word, the Bible!

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

Our Father in Heaven consistently demonstrates that he loves us and that He desires not one of us will perish.

 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17

  • Can you see how you are blessed?
  • Can you see Who blessed you?
  • Do you wonder why?

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Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place Where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land…Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them…to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, And sin as if with a cart rope; That say, “Let Him make speed and hasten His work, That we may see it; And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, That we may know it.” Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man! Isaiah 5:8, 11, 18-23

Woe vs. Whoa

The word woe in the ancient Hebrew, means ‘alas’ or ‘lo,’ however in today’s Bible passage we can also appreciate the overt interpretation of ‘a passionate cry of grief or despair’ as spoken by God through His prophet Isaiah — we can say without a doubt our wicked behavior grieves our Lord.

Whoa, take ‘er easy there, Pilgrim.

That of course is not an excerpt from the book of Isaiah, but a quote from the character Tom Doniphon, as portrayed by John Wayne in the 1962 classic, ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.’ The quotation reminded me that although God grieves for His children, He also lovingly warns us to whoa; that is to stop those behaviors that will ultimately lead to our harm and destruction. For that reason this section of Isaiah, at its core, is a call to repentance, not just for historical Israel, but for us today.

The Six Woes

This might be an over simplification of the six woes, but essentially we get a glimpse of the aberrant social activities that were prevalent in those days. Take note that we haven’t changed much as a society in the three thousand years since this prophesy was given.

  1. Piggish Capitalism: consumptive hoarding at the expense and oppression of others.
  2. Hedonism: the excessive pursuit of selfish and perverse pleasure, rejecting all moral values.
  3. Spiritual Apathy: the false notion that God doesn’t care about sin or that He winks at our sin.
  4. Relativism: a concept that maintains there are no absolute truths; what’s wrong for you may be right for me.
  5. Intellectualism: the notion that man is wiser than God; evolution of species is our prime example.
  6. Substance Abuse: the addiction that always follows unrestrained perversity.

The Warnings

God is not mocked and (it’s a promise of God), we will reap that which we sow — those who practice these things and similar will suffer greatly – ancient Israel suffered and we will also suffer. We are already feeling the birth pangs of consequence. Corporately and individually, the unrepentive have these things to look forward to:

Desolate homes
Scant vineyards
Spiritual isolation
Spiritual blindness
Moral bankruptcy

Therefore the anger of the Lord is aroused against His people; He has stretched out His hand against them And stricken them, And the hills trembled. Their carcasses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still. Isaiah 5:25

Our Hope

But His hand is stretched out still. Isaiah 5:25

To those who would say that our God is a condemning God, we share this hope – the God who warns is the God who also saves. He came with outstretched arms to provide our escape and His hand He has never retracted. Ours is Jesus who willingly endured the cross for all humanity, for all who would confess, repent, and believe to receive His gracious gift of salvation and submit themselves to His loving and refining authority.

“…If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
  1. How does this relate to the United States?
  2. How does this relate to you individually?
  3. Do you see the way of escape?
  4. What is your prayer today?

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Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2
Elementary Principles

The most basic of Christian truths is found within the text of John 3:16. Coupled with the understanding that there is a sin-filled chasm between us and the Father and Jesus is the only bridge across, and we are left with the elementary principles to which every believer subscribes; the ABC’s of our faith.

However, the writer of Hebrews would also remind us that there are six (6) additional tenets that are basic and foundational to our faith, and as believers, we should possess an acute familiarity with them as well.

Do You Know Them

That is not an indictment, but an invitation. Honestly, I am not as familiar with them as I should be, so my re-listing of them here selfishly serves as a personal review and tutorial. In the order they are recorded in the Bible, the topics are: repentance from dead works, faith toward God, doctrine of baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Repentance from Dead Works

This is not pertaining to a turning away from our sin and a turning towards Jesus Christ. This repentance is the rejecting of the false notion that we can somehow earn our salvation. The basic element of this tenet is that we cannot purchase what Christ has already bought.

Faith Toward God

It is all about God. Everything good was created by Him and for His good pleasure. A faith toward God continually recognizes this truth and endeavors to put Christ Jesus first in every aspect of our lives.

Doctrine of Baptisms

The first thing we notice is the ‘S’; there is more than one baptism. In addition to water baptism which symbolizes our death and resurrection, there are also baptisms of the Holy Spirit, into the Body of Christ, of suffering, and of fire.

Laying on of Hands

This speaks of, but is not limited to the discovery of God-given gifts for the purpose of ministry and the empowering of individuals to move forward in service. I further believe it lends it self to both encouragement and judgment from one brother or sister towards another.

Resurrection of the Dead

We need to know the basics of end-times theology. If you are one who believes in a pre-tribulation rapture, you might ask why we need to know this. The reason is for the sake of others, the fear of the Lord, after all is the beginning of wisdom. If you are a mid-trib, or post-trib subscriber, then the ‘need to know’ is much more relevant to you.

Eternal Judgment

Speaking of the fear of the Lord…

Actually, there are two very basic things every Christian needs to know: believers are not judged for sins, unbelievers are; the sins of the Christian have been cleansed by the blood of Christ. However, the works of the Christian will be judged by fire. One day every believer will stand before Jesus and He will interpret what it is we have done with the time, talent, and treasure He has provided us.

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