If there is only one verse a child learns at some point in Sunday school, it is John 3:16. Considered to be the essence of the gospel in one concise statement, it is the gold standard.
16“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.John 3:16
Take a moment to notice the all inclusive, absolute words Jesus’ used in his concise statement of the gospel. One and only son – God didn’t have a dozen and Jesus was an extra. He was his only son. Everyone who believes – everyone means every, all – no one is excluded. Will not perish – another absolute phrase signifying that this is the result of believing. Eternal – something that goes on and on and never ends, another absolute.
We are encouraged to avoid absolute statements because, we are told, very few things are absolute. I do believe this is the exception. Jesus absolutely meant that he died so that everyone has the opportunity to live eternally in relationship with God.
There is more to what Jesus said that day to Nicodemus and it is equally powerful and yet dreadfully under utilized. Come back this week as I unpack a portion of Jesus’ teaching that evening. It will be encouraging and liberating. It might just change your life.
17God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.John 3:17-21