John Chapter 3 Part IV God Solution to Man’s Problems

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March 11, 2014 by directorfsm

John Chapter 3 Part IV
 God Solution to Man’s Problems
 John 3:13-16

In this final segment of John Chapter 3 we will look at the doctrines of Justification and Salvation as explained by our Lord Jesus Christ. We will see that salvation is solus Christus, “by Christ alone and that we are justified, made acceptable to God, by Christ alone.

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

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.

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Why would Jesus say something to Nicodemus that he might immediately think a lie? For we know that Enoch and Elias had ascended up to heaven. Surely Nicodemus would have also. There must be something unique about this “he that came”. It is an attention grabber. It would (and has) caused me to think and scrutinize Jesus’s words closely.

MHCC No one hath ascended to heaven. He again exhorts Nicodemus not to trust to himself and his own wisdom, because no mortal man can, by his own powers, enter into heaven, only those who go about under the guidance of the Son of God.  (1 Corinthians 3:18.) Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

For to ascend to heaven means here, “to have a pure knowledge of the mysteries of God, and the light of spiritual understanding.” For Christ gives here the same instruction which is given by Paul, when he declares that the sensual man does not comprehend the things which are of God, (1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned

Jesus is pointing out to Nicodemus (as I believe His whole ministry did) the need for Salvation through Christ at Calvary. Jesus is saying that it cannot be of your own wisdom, it cannot be of your own strength or goodness. Only through the Son of God can heaven be obtained.

            Paul makes a similar statement in Romans 10:1-11:

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.

For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doeth those things shall live by them.

But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)

Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)

But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Paul’s deepest desire is for his beloved nation of Israel to be saved, BUT, not according to the knowledge Paul had as a Pharisee, for he and they are ignorant of the truth. They like he must submit (surrender) to God and realizing that this surrender is not of their own; but God’s work in them. Calling upon the only name by which man can be saved being made righteous (justified) before God by the blood of Calvary,

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

First this is a clear reference to the OT passage in Number 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 .

Next it is a clearer reference to the need for Jesus to be “lifted Up” on the cross of Calvary. For just as the serpent on a pole was, by the power of God, able to “save” those who believed, so too the Son of Man will save God’s elect. How else has Christ been lifted up?

Through the Preaching of the Gospel

Through the sharing of the Gospel

Through singing and playing of Hymns

Through our daily walk being an example to unbelievers

Through the sacrament of Communion

            Son of man Jesus often uses this term to identify Himself. It shows His human nature while “Son of God” shows His divine nature. Christ is making a statement that he alone is the path to Salvation and Justification.

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

             What is this path that we must take? What must one do to be saved? Must we follow Jesus’s instructions to the rich man Matthew 19:16-21:

16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Note here Jesus makes it plain the key or path to eternal life is faith, to believe in Him alone.

Whosoever or Greek Pas: The words “world” and “all” are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the “all” means all persons, taken individually. The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts– some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile…

Matthew Poole in his commentary states:

Here our Lord openeth the instrumental cause of justification and salvation, that is, believing, in him.

It is one thing to believe in him as a teacher, another thing to believe in him as a Saviour. The object of the first is a proposition; we believe a person when we assent and give credit to what he saith, because he saith it. {We see this in everyday life, we trust the teacher to give us proper instruction, the mechanics to repair our vehicle properly etc.} The object of the latter is the person and merits of the Mediator. As the looking up to the brazen serpent healed the person, not by any physical operation, but from the goodness of God, {this is a key point in basic theology, it was not the image but God who healed(s)} as it was an act of obedience to the Divine institution for that end; so neither doth faith in the Mediator justify and obtain pardon for any soul from any meritorious virtue in that act, but from God’s gracious ordination, {Again basic Bible Theology 101, nothing we do in any way merits our salvation. It is only by God’s Grace one is saved} that so it shall be; he hath so ordained {Predestined same word in Greek}, that whosoever shall rest upon Christ {and who will they be? Those who decide on their own to follow Jesus? I dare say not for as we learned in the first sermon no one seeks God on their own}, and receive him by faith as his Mediator and Saviour, should not perish, but live forever.

But by this and other places, where faith alone in Christ is mentioned as necessary to salvation. Nicodemus was taught that no obedience to the works of the law without this faith in the Mediator would bring the soul to eternal life and salvation.

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.

             First let us look at some key words in this verse. Starting with loved:

Loved: Agapao      ag-ap-ah’-o             Verb

of persons – to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly

of things –  to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

The word world has a variety of implied meanings:

World: Kosmos         kos’-mos        Noun Masculine

an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government

ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:

the world, the universe

the circle of the earth, the earth

the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family

the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ

world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly

the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ

any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort

the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)

of believers only, John 1:29; 3:16; 3:17; 6:33; 12:47 1 Cor. 4:9; 2 Cor. 5:19

Begotten or the Greek Monogenes denotes singleness or one and only of kind, Jesus if the one and only (of God) Son of God. (Believers are all adopted sons and daughters)

Whosoever or Pas we looked at last verse and here could be translated as who ever

Believeth = Pisteuo usually translated believe but it’s much more than that it means to fully commit to.  Having faith in and committing to

            Next I would be doing y’all and injustice if I did not address the common error today by those quoting this verse. Many if not most quote this assuming and believing that everyone can be saved. Really?

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.  If world meant everyone why is there a hell?

John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  If world meant everyone why are some, unbelievers even unto death?

           This mistaken belief that this verse applies universally or collectively to everyone who claims to believe is not supported by scripture:

2 Corinthians 4:3-4  “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Psalm 33:12  Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Psalm 89:3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,

 Eph 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

            Again Matthew Poole’s comments on this verse

For God the Father, who is the Lord of all, debtor to none, sufficient to himself,

so loved the world, that is, Gentiles as well as Jews. There is a great contest about the signification of the term, between those who contend for or against the point of universal redemption; but certain it is, that from this term no more can be solidly concluded, than from the terms all and every, which in multitudes of places are taken in a restrained sense for many, or all of such a nation or kind. As this term sometimes signifies all persons, so, in 1 John 2:21, the Gentiles in opposition to the Jews. Nor, admitting that

the world should signify here every living soul in the place called the world, will any thing follow from it. It is proper enough to say, A man loved such a family to such a degree that he gave his estate to it, though he never intended such a thing to every child or branch of it. So as what is truth in that so vexed a question cannot be determined from any of these universal terms; which must, when all is said that can be said, be expounded by what follows them, and by their reconcilableness to other doctrines of faith.

God so loved the world that he gave his Son to die for a sacrifice for their sins, to die in their stead, and give a satisfaction for them to his justice. And this Son was not any of his sons by adoption, but his only begotten Son; not so called (as Socinians would have it) because of his singular generation of the virgin without help of man, but from his eternal generation, in whom the Gentiles should trust, Psalms 2:12, which none ought to do, but in God alone, Deuteronomy 6:13 Jeremiah 17:5.

That whosoever, &c.: the term all is spoken to above; these words restrain the universal term world, andall, to let us know that Christ only died for some in the world, viz. such as should believe in him. Some judge, not improbably, that Christ useth the term world in this verse in the same sense as in 1 John 2:2. Our evangelist useth to take down the pride of the Jews, who dreamed that the Messiah came only for the benefit of the seed of Abraham, not for the nations of the world, he only came to destroy them; which notion also very well fitteth what we have in the next verse.

John Calvin’s conclusions on this verse are worth noting:

Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith. Here, too, is displayed a wonderful effect of faith; for by it we receive Christ such as he is given to us by the Father — that is, as having freed us from the condemnation of eternal death, and made us heirs of eternal life, because, by the sacrifice of his death, he has atoned for our sins, that nothing may prevent God from acknowledging us as his sons. Since, therefore, faith embraces Christ, with the efficacy of his death and the fruit of his resurrection, we need not wonder if by it we obtain likewise the life of Christ.

Still it is not yet very evident why and how faith bestows life upon us. Is it because Christ renews us by his Spirit, that the righteousness of God may live and be vigorous in us; or is it because, having been cleansed by his blood, we are accounted righteous before God by a free pardon? It is indeed certain, that these two things are always joined together; but as the certainty of salvation is the subject now in hand, we ought chiefly to hold by this reason, that we live, because God loves us freely by not imputing to us our sins. For this reason sacrifice is expressly mentioned, by which, together with sins, the curse and death are destroyed. I have already explained the object of these two clauses, which is, to inform us that in Christ we regain the possession of life, of which we are destitute in ourselves; for in this wretched condition of mankind, redemption, in the order of time, goes before salvation.

We cannot and should not try and diminish the magnificence of this verse. Many try and water down this fact, claiming there are many paths to the Kingdom of God. Such fools are they. God the almighty creator of all loves His creation so much that He sent His only Son (Jesus Christ) to redeem it. At the same time the Sin that mankind has brought upon itself must be punished. Again this can only happen through Christ Jesus. Only Christ who lived a perfect unblemished life is a worthy sacrifice, the propitiation, for sin. Only in Christ can the need for punishment of sin and the Grace and Mercy of God be found. Only in Christ can man be Saved and Justified.

William S. Plumer in the 1850’s wrote a book called Theology for the People or Biblical Doctrine Plainly Stated1, wrote the following:

All men are just or unjust. All are saints or sinners; all are godly or ungodly; all re the children of God or the children of the wicked one; all are justified or condemned. All are now in favor with God, or they are out of His favor.

I have never seen a better definition than this: Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sin, accepteth and accounteth their persons righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them or done by them, but only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them and received by faith alone. This is true and clear.

By His grace and Mercy, through the work of the Holy Spirit, unaided by man’s efforts you too can be found just in God’s sight and have eternal life in the glorious Kingdom of God.

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