Reasons God Sent Jesus

 

Reasons God Sent Jesus

By David A. DePra

 

Back to the Goodnews

A transcription of the audio message by the same name found here:  689-mp3

 

Let’s turn once again to John, chapter three.  The title of this message is going to be, “Reasons God Sent Jesus.”  We are going to talk about this, and in doing so it will bring us into the Truth of the redemption of Jesus Christ. 

 

Just off the top, I am going to give two reasons why God sent Jesus.  I could list probably a hundred -- but I would just like to mention two that are going to form the discussion today.  They are out of a passage in John three. 

 

The first reason God sent Jesus is that man was dead in sin and had no way to help himself.  Man was, in other words -- as we are going to read here -- perishing.  The second reason that God sent Jesus -- which is built upon that first reason -- is that, “God so loved the world.” 

 

So what we will find is this:  Man is in a horrible condition through the sin of Adam -- with no way to help himself.  But God, who is love, “so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son” -- He sent Jesus into this world to make provision for salvation for all who have ever lived.  These are the two points that are going to be the banner under which the whole discussion is going occur in this message.

 

Jesus is the Solution for Sin and Death

 

I want to read John 3:14-16, but in doing so, we must also read the OT account to which Jesus is referring -- namely Numbers 21:4-9.  It is important to read all of those verses together because Numbers 21 and John 3:14-15 are the background for the well-known verse of John 3:16.  They tell us why Jesus spoke John 3:16, and what He meant by His words.

 

First read Numbers 21:

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 spoke 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 loathes this light bread.  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.  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 looks upon it, shall live.   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.  (Num. 21:4-9)

And then read John 3:14-16:

 

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.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  (John 3:14-16)

 

There are your two reasons WHY God sent Jesus, found John 3:16 -- which I stated earlier.  Man is perishing, and if left to himself he has no way of helping himself -- nor does man have any way of initiating his own salvation.  But because God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son -- so that whoever would believe on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

If we look at the account in Numbers 21, we see the type of shadow of these Truths.  In that account, we find that Israel had been brought out of Egypt through the Red Sea -- and now were in the wilderness.  It says there that, “the soul of the people was discouraged because of the way.”  The people spoke against God and against Moses and accusingly said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?”

 

There is a whole teaching here about those times when some of us have the same complaint against the Lord.  There are times when we trust God and things don’t work out the way WE think they should.  So we say to him, “God, I believed You; I followed You, I came out of where I was.  So why have You brought me out to simply leave me to die; simply to leave me alone; simply to abandon me?”  And so they (and perhaps WE) accuse the Lord.

 

It says in Num. 21:6 that the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people -- and they bit the people -- and much people of Israel died.  But then the people began to confess their sin because they wanted the plague to end.  In verse 8, the Lord said to Moses, “Make you a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole.  And it shall come to pass that everyone, when he is bitten, who looks upon this serpent shall live.”  Verse 9 says that it happened just that way.  Moses made a serpent of brass and put it on a pole.  And it came to pass that if a serpent had bitten anyone -- that when that person beheld that serpent of brass that had been lifted up on that pole then that person lived.

 

Now, this is the story out of Numbers 21 that Jesus is talking about with Nicodemus.  He is saying, “That just as Moses lifted up that serpent upon that pole in the wilderness, even so the Son of Man must be lifted up.”

 

But notice what is embedded in what Jesus is saying in John 3:14 -- He is saying that JUST AS the serpent upon that pole was the solution for the sin of Israel -- was the solution for death – JUST AS that serpent in the wilderness was lifted up as the solution – EVEN SO the Son of Man must be lifted up as the solution for OUR sin.  How many see a tremendous type and shadow of Jesus -- yes, in Numbers 21 as merely a type and shadow -- but nevertheless it states that He is the Savior; that He is the One who is the solution for sin?  John 3:15-16 verifies that this is His meaning.  He says, “JUST AS the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness – SO MUST the Son of Man be lifted up -- that whosoever believes on Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

 

Humanity ALREADY Perishing

 

There are a number of foundational Truths that emerge from these verses in John 3 and Numbers 21.  But sometimes I think that they are forgotten in our Christian faith.  I sometimes also think that they are blurred and corrupted by false teaching.  Front and center in this teaching, and certainly front and center in the entire John 3:16 passage, is the fact that man without Jesus Christ is ALREADY in the process of perishing.  Can we see that?  In a minute we are going to read this whole passage all the way through to John 3:21 -- and we are going to see that everything that is recorded here by John is predicated on the absolute fact that man in Adam is ALREADY dead; ALREADY in the process of perishing. 

 

Now this is an important Truth to establish – THAT humanity is ALREADY perishing -- because even though I don’t think that a lot of Christians who hear it would necessarily argue with it, or try to deny it, but many Christians pass over it and don’t REALLY believe it -- in the sense of having seen it in themselves.  I don’t think that a lot of us realize that we are ALREADY spiritually dead, and ALREADY in the process of perishing.  I think the evidence that we don’t realize this is in Christian teaching everywhere – because many still think there is a spark of life, a spark of righteousness in ourselves, whereby we can help ourselves.  Many professing Christians believe we can muster up out of ourselves what is necessary to please God -- or necessary to work our way back to God.  We still believe this is possible – but because we do -- we might not say the words, or even realize what we are doing, but we are, in that case, denying that we are spiritually dead. 

 

I think a lot of us believe that somehow we stand on neutral ground when we are born in Adam.  A lot of Christians who say that they believe that we are saved by grace -- still believe that we are born on neutral ground in Adam -- and that it depends on how we live as to whether we are going to be saved.  Again, this is heresy -- although I think many Christians would say, “I don’t believe that” -- that in practical experience I think that many people do live like they believe it.

 

Solely on the Basis of Christ

 

I think we are all going to have problems in this area until the day that we die.  For example, when you sin do you feel like God has forsaken you?  Do you feel like you are on God’s bad side?  If you do -- then why? 

 

Well, it is because you think that your works, in this case -- the sin -- has come between you and God.  Or on the other side of the coin, suppose you obey God and you have a lot of success on a particular day.  Do you then think that this makes you closer to Him?  Why is this the case?  It is the case because you feel good about yourself, isn’t it?  As opposed to feeling bad about yourself?

 

his kind of operation of feeling good about yourself when you obey, or of feeling bad about yourself when you sin, happens so automatically for most of us that we don’t even give it any thought.  We certainly don’t give it any doctrinal thought.  But can we see that whether we are under condemnation, or under the delusion of our own righteousness, that we, in both cases, may be blind to our true condition in Adam?  We are blind to our spiritual death -- and we are blind to the fact that the only righteousness we have is that of the righteousness of One Who is other than ourselves:  Jesus Christ. 

 

We have to get this settled and allow God to reveal to us the depth of it:  Our entire relationship with God – and you can include in that the reality of righteousness, life, Truth, and walking in the spirit – every part of our new life is fully dependent upon, and solely on the basis of Jesus Christ.  NONE of it is based upon, or operates out from, the old man in Adam.  Paul says, “Christ, our life.”  (Col. 3:4)  Jesus called Himself, “the Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end.”  He also said, “You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.”  He stated, “Yet not I, but Christ.”  The fact that Jesus Christ – Christ in us -- is the ONLY basis for relationship with God, and the only life from out of which we can live before God – is the foundation of the Christian life.  And it is exactly why the Christian life is a life of FAITH – faith in One who is OTHER THAN ourselves – indeed, faith that puts aside ourselves and fully lives from out of Christ as our ALL.

 

God’s attitude of love was never based on anything about you and me – and yet all I described a few moment ago -- about trying to find life or righteousness is ourselves – that delusion side steps this Truth -- and is essentially a walk in error.  It is a walk in a denial of our true condition – and a denial of the righteousness that is found only in Jesus Christ.

 

The fact of the matter is that absolutely nothing that Jesus did for you and me is based on how we feel -- good OR bad.  If you feel good about yourself -- because you have obeyed -- and you begin to walk in that feeling, you are walking in ERROR.  If you feel bad about yourself -- because you have sinned, and feel as if God is now mad at you -- you are also walking in error.  Your sin or your obedience – as well as your feeling about either -- have absolutely NO INPUT into the finished and final work of Jesus Christ. 

 

The Bible says, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  (John 1:29)  And the Bible also says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  (Rom. 8:1)  The Bible likewise says,  “If righteousness came by law, Christ is dead in vain.”  (Gal. 2:20)  The bottom line is that the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is finished for you -- right NOW.  In fact, I can say it this way just to make a point, the finished redemption is just as finished for you WHETHER you believe it or not.  Now of course, if you DON’T believe it, it’s not going to do you any good.  In fact, such unbelief is why people walk into darkness -- and it is why people are lost forever:  They WILL NOT believe it.  They won’t believe or embrace Jesus Christ and what He has done.  But what He has done is nevertheless finished.  How many understand that the reason God is just in sending people into eternal darkness forever is precisely because Jesus died for them -- precisely because it is finished for them -- precisely because it is fully offered by grace -- but they nevertheless walk away?  How many see that this is the basis for condemnation right there?  We are going to read that here in this passage in a moment.

 

This Truth of the finished work in Christ continually applies even to those who are born again -- as far as our daily walk with God.  You are saved only because -- by the grace of God -- Christ is in you:   “By grace through faith”…His grace…our faith -- and He is the only reason.  Our daily walk with God is on the basis of, and solely on the basis of, Jesus Christ -- who now -- if you are born from above -- dwells IN YOU.

 

All the sinning in the world cannot undo the finished work of Jesus Christ for you.  (Although if we are born from above we won’t WANT to sin.)  And all of the obedience in the world cannot add to the finished work of Christ for you.  (Although we will WANT to obey God.)  You can’t add or subtract from Christ or His finished work.  You can’t.  All you can do is believe and receive -- or you can choose to NOT believe and receive -- you can reject Him.  The finished work in Jesus Christ is an eternal truth -- eternally established -- and nothing will ever move it.  He simply says, “Here He is -- believe.”

 

Confessing the Truth

 

I am going to sin.  That is a given.  But what does the Bible say to do when I sin?  It tells us to do one thing and one thing alone:  Confess it and believe.  Confess and believe that it is finished.  Frankly, if you do believe that in Christ it is finished -- that forgiveness is finished; that redemption is finished – then you WILL confess your sin and you will recognize that confession is the only thing you can do with sin.

Real faith will result in a desire to be delivered from sin – and so it will result in a confession of sin.  But even our confession we be the outcome of seeing that it is eternally finished in Christ -- and that our works have no input into this at all.  This is what Jesus is getting at here when He said, “The Son of Man must be lifted up.”

 

Lifting Up Christ

 

Once you and I see that without Christ that we are ALREADY in the process of perishing then we will understand that God must offer all by grace – because those who are perishing cannot save themselves.  There is nothing in us by which we can help ourselves.  Grace is not, and never can be, dependent on anything about us.  We are born dead, lost and blind.  Have we recognized that yet?  If we are in the process of perishing then God must reveal to us that Jesus Christ is the only solution -- and if we believe and embrace Christ – He is the sole means of our salvation. 

 

Back to the passage.  Jesus says, “So must the Son of Man be lifted up.”  What does it mean to, “lift up the Son of Man?”

 

Of course, back there in Numbers 21, Moses cast a bronze or brass serpent and LIFTED IT UP physically upon a pole.  That is a type and shadow -- and is a very good picture and a good way to answer the question, “How is Jesus lifted up?”  He is lifted up by being revealed as the ONLY solution to sin -- and in that lifting up -- it shows Him to be ABOVE all sin -- in the sense of being a conqueror; and in the sense of being Lord; in the sense of having conquered all sin and death in His finished work.  He did this both on the cross and then through His resurrection.  So we lift Him up by revealing Him as the only solution for sin – in the way that the serpent in the story in Numbers 21 was the only solution, and was also lifted up. 

 

Lifting Up Christ by Our Faith

 

We can lift up Jesus Christ in a number of other different ways.  Certainly we can lift Him up by preaching, by conversation -- we can lift Him up even by singing, can’t we?  There are a lot of wonderful hymns to sing that lift up Jesus Christ.  But how many understand that maybe the best way -- the most effective way to lift Jesus Christ up as the solution for sin -- is to do so by our personal FAITH?

 

I know that there is a great deal of teaching in the Christian church today -- and there always has been -- about how to, “let your light shine;” how to show people by your good works that God is good.  (I sometimes question whether or not a lot of people are actually trying to show that GOD is good.  I sometimes think we try to show how good WE are by our good works -- but that is another subject.)  Let’s just say that in an ideal situation, it is good and right, by our good works to let our light shine -- and in doing so, give a witness to the goodness of God.  Absolutely!  But how many understand that just as powerful a witness, and in fact, often an even more powerful witness, is to lift up Jesus Christ as savior as the object of our FAITH?  In other words, even when we fail and sin and we can say, “I’ve sinned; I’ve stumbled; I’ve fallen.  But it doesn’t change the fact of what Jesus Christ has done for me.”  And likewise when we obey, by our faith we confess that our obedience doesn’t change the fact that Jesus Christ is our only righteousness.  We have none of our own to try to protect or to maintain.  

 

Our works do not change the fact that Jesus Christ IS our life – our works do not change the fact that Jesus Christ is our righteousness.  Our works do not create Truth, create life, or improve upon, or subtract from, the Person of Christ who is in us.  Rather, good works ought to be the outcome of Christ in us, and of our faith in Him.  It is always, “By grace, through faith….UNTO good works.”  Thus, our good works are really a witness of our faith in Christ – rather than a religious display that ought to point to ourselves.

 

If Christ is our life and our faith in Him has grown to govern us – this takes time – then perhaps the greatest witness to Christ – the way that lifts Him up the most – is our faith in Him.  Faith in Christ is dependence and devotion to Him as our ALL.  That is a great witness.

 

Planted into the Person

 

Christ in us – the new life -- is the product of resurrection from OUT of death.  How many of us understand this?  Do we grasp that Jesus Christ, through his resurrection, did not simply reverse death?  No.  He did not reverse the death of the old life.  Rather, He fully died that death -- passed through it -- and through His resurrection from OUT OF THAT DEATH -- conquered it and made a NEW life.  That’s total victory.  That is why Paul was able to write in 1 Corinthians 15, that the last enemy, death, has been swallowed up in victory.   

 

An essential Truth to see about what Christ has done is that, yes, He did finish His Redemptive work in history.  There was an actual crucifixion and an actual resurrection.  But our faith is to be in more than those historical events.  Rather, our faith is to be in the PERSON who accomplished them – our faith is to be in the Person of Christ today.  So, when we sin, we lift up Jesus Christ by absolutely putting our faith in Him – but not just in what He did -- but in Him as the Living Person with Whom we are one in spirit TODAY.

 

This is another point to which I think Christians are blinded today.  When we sin, when we stumble, we tend to put our faith in those historical events that Jesus accomplished two thousand years ago on the cross.  We may say, “My faith is in the Cross.  My faith is in what Jesus Christ has done.”  And certainly -- as I said -- if we don’t have that – those historical events -- we don’t have anything.  But how many understand that Jesus Christ today -- if you are a born again believer one with Him in spirit – that Jesus Christ today as He dwells IN YOU is Jesus Christ crucified?  Sure.  What I am saying is this:  That everything that Jesus Christ did on the cross – and through His resurrection -- is part of His very Person today.  He carries this finished work in Himself.  That is why if you come to Jesus – and become one with Him in spirit – that you are planted into His death.  If you are made one with Jesus Christ in spirit, you are, by definition, being planted into his death and made one with Him in His death.

 

That is not all.  Yes, today Jesus is Christ crucified -- but likewise, He is also Christ raised.  And that is why Paul said that if we are planted into His death we are also planted into His resurrection.  So we need to understand that Christ is a Living Person -- a Person who lives and moves in us today.  We are one with him in spirit and therefore one with Him in all that He IS --   in His redemptive work.

 

Therefore, when Jesus said that as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, these are the Truths behind His words.  We lift Him up – above our sin, above ourselves – we lift Him up as the answer for all – by our faith in Him as our life.  We are planted in the Person – and we lift HIM up above all our failures and above all of our obedience.  “Yet not I, but Christ…..”

 

The Brass Serpent

 

There is great significance in Moses molding a brass serpent.  In scripture, brass is always a type and shadow of JUDGMENT.  We are being shown that in Christ on the cross God was judging all sin – down into a final death.  Jesus was, through the molding of a brass serpert, being shown to be the sin-bearer, and thus, the judgment bearer – and yet, because He was LIFTED UP – He was shown to be the absolute VICTOR over all.

 

But also notice:  The serpent was the actual cause of death in that Old Testament story of Numbers 21 – and yet we are to lift up Jesus Christ as Moses lifted up that serpent.  Why?  Well, Jesus Christ is certainly not the cause of death.  Rather, He is the solution to death.  Thus, what Moses is picturing is that in Jesus Christ everything that speaks of death, sin and the devil was JUDGED – Jesus BORE sin on the cross and in Him sin was judged.  He died bearing sin – we might even say He bore US; He bore, “the body of sin;” the Adam race.  This judgment of God is what is symbolized in type and shadow by that brass or bronze serpent. 

 

I want to repeat that because we need to come to terms with, and understand, that when Jesus Christ hung on that cross, He was bearing all sin and all death and all the works of the devil.  He was, in fact, bearing the entire Adam race.  He was bearing the body of sin, the old man in Adam.  So rather than limit the Redemption to Jesus bearing the penalty for sin, we need to realize that Jesus was bearing SIN ITSELF down into the penalty for sin, which is death.

 

I covered this in an earlier message in this series from John when we talked about the Lamb of God.  Jesus became by identification -- not in the sense of becoming another person or that He wasn’t Himself -- but Jesus became; He took upon Himself and bore in His body -- as it says in 1 Peter 2 -- the entirety of the Adam race.  Or to put it another way, which gets right to the root of it, Jesus Christ on the cross became the Adam that had to die because of sin.  “In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.”  This was being fulfilled on the cross in the Son of God -- and judged as being fulfilled IN HIM. 

 

Therefore, when Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Adam race, as it were, died in Him.  How many see -- and again I covered this when we talked about the Lamb of God -- that this was therefore the END of the Adam race?  Absolutely!  That is why Jesus is called, “The Last Adam.”  He was, “The Last Adam,” because He filled up to the full what God intended in humanity – what God intended in Adam – and so in Him that was finished.  But then He offered Himself on the cross – He offered Himself as the perfected Adam -- and on that Cross when He died the Adam race died in Him.  It was finished as the creation – as the race – in which God was working.  But through the resurrection – which is NOT the resurrection of the Adam race – Jesus ushered in a new race of humanity – the new creation in Christ Jesus.

 

As an aside, this Truth is why Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Except a man be born from above all over again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”  You must be born from above all over again – you cannot be born from below a second time and possess eternal life.  No.  That blindness to the nature of the new birth is why Nicodemus did not understand -- he thought that Jesus was talking about a new birth that would be the resurrection of the Adam race.  He said, “How am I going to crawl into my mother’s womb and be born a second time?”  Jesus had to tell him, “Except a man be born of water” -- which means a death of the old -- ”and of the spirit” -- which points to the resurrection and newness of life -- “he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”  “For that which is born of the flesh” -- which is birth in Adam -- ”is flesh” -- and it always will be.  But “that which is born of the spirit is spirit.”  This is the birth from above.

 

So all that is of the first birth – the birth from below -- must die in order that there might be the birth of a brand new race from above -- a brand new kind of human being; a brand new creation in Christ Jesus.  Our joining to the Lord and becoming one spirit with Him is the new man; is the new creation in Christ Jesus.  That is it in a nutshell.  So when Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,” He was referring to the fact that in Himself God would judge the Adam race – the Adam race would DIE -- and thus, for those who come to Christ, we would be delivered from sin and death because we would be delivered from the Adam race – delivered from the Adam life – in which all sin is rooted.

 

How many understand that while God does FORGIVE us for all sin in Christ, He actually DELIVERS us from all sin?  He delivers us through death and resurrection in Christ from the body of sin; from the Adam race itself.  Now the fullness of that will not be fully realized and experienced until the resurrection of the body at the end of the age.  But it is a fact -- and it is finished in spirit right now -- because we are joined to the Lord and made one spirit with Him.

 

So this is what Jesus Christ is pointing to out of Numbers 21.  It is a wonderful picture of how God judged, in His own Son, down into death, everything symbolized by the serpent.  Jesus Christ Himself said, “The Son of Man came to destroy the works of the devil.”  Well, he did that on the cross, didn’t He? 

 

Jesus Died for ALL

 

Let’s get back here to John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world.”  Love for the world is a primary reason why He sent Jesus.  It is because, ”God so loved the world.” that He took the responsibility for Adam’s sin upon Himself, in His Son, “so that whoever would believe in Him should not perish,” -- for without Christ they already were perishing -- “but have everlasting life.” 

 

Notice something in John 3:16.  What we see here -- despite the heresy and abominable doctrines of Calvinism -- is the word, “whosoever”.  What does that indicate?  Well, just as in Numbers 21, when the serpent was lifted up out in the open for ALL to see -- so it is with Jesus Christ.  He is lifted up -- out in the open and made available to ALL -- not just to a few, “elect” -- but to ALL -- so that WHOSOEVER will believe will be saved.

 

The bottom line is that Jesus Christ worked redemption for every single human being who has ever lived, is living, or will ever live.  Period!  Not one human being is excluded.  Not one human being is denied that offer of redemption.  But as it says here, only those -- once God brings them light – only those who BELIEVE will be saved.  And, I might add, only those who deliberately refuse will be lost.  And for this age, there are a lot of people in between.

 

God Almighty sent His Son Jesus to die for ALL.  Everyone!  But only those who believe and take their place in His death can be resurrected as new creations in Christ Jesus. So, there is the, “whosoever” -- and this Truth is found all through the Bible.

 

I am thinking now of the scripture that says,  “God desires for all men to be saved and come into the knowledge of the truth.”  (I Tim. 2:4)  This verse from I Timothy, and God’s use here in John 3:16 of the word, “world,” ought to tell us plenty about God’s of Redemption.  It is offered to ALL.  

 

Note that John 3:16 does NOT say, “For God so loved the elect.”  But Calvinists DO say exactly that.  Calvinists teach that Christ died ONLY for an elect few -- and never intended to die for anyone except those elect few.  This is the Calvinist doctrine of, “Limited Atonement.”  Along with that error, Calvinists also teach the doctrine of, “Unconditional Election.”  They teach that before the foundation of this world -- and before any of us were born -- God specifically ordained who among us would -- by God’s own will -- be either saved or damned.  God willed this for each of us specifically – indeed, He causes the elect – through, “irresistible grace,” to come to Christ and be saved.  According to them, your choice to be saved and to belong to Christ is His election being worked out through you.  You think you are making the choice but it is really God’s divine election being worked out in your system.  Or to put it another way in laymen’s terms, if you are one of the elect, you are WIRED to eventually put your faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Add all of the doctrines of Calvinism up and you will discover that they amount to, “regeneration before faith.”  That’s right -- they teach that you have to be born from above BEFORE you can put faith in Christ – you have to FIRST be born from above through God’s sovereign election SO THAT you can believe.  They deny that you must FIRST believe to be saved.  Obviously, none of these errors agree with John 3:16 or the rest of scripture. 

 

Now, the biggest problem with Calvinism isn’t simply heretical theology -- although there is plenty of that.  The problem with Calvinism is a distorted, corrupt, horrible picture of God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  Well, let’s move on.  I don’t want to spend time on that garbage.

 

The Unpardonable Sin

 

I want to continue on with what I was talking about.  God has sent His Son to die for every sin ever committed by the human race -- except for one sin.  Jesus Christ did not die for the refusal of His death as the payment of sin.  How could He?  Or to put it another way, God cannot forgive the sin of refusing His forgiveness.  If God would forgive the refusal of His forgiveness – if He would forgive the refusal of Christ – then what is there He could offer as the alternative as the means of His forgiveness?  No.  If God forgave the refusal of His forgiveness in Christ He would be denying His own Son.

 

How many see that if God forgave the refusal of His forgiveness, it would make that forgiveness meaningless?  If God sent Jesus to also die for the sin of refusing that death, then it makes that death meaningless.  No, every sin ever committed by anyone is paid for in the cross of Jesus Christ, except the refusal of that cross. 

 

The sin of refusing God’s forgiveness in Christ is the one sin for which Jesus did NOT die, and it is therefore the reason people go to hell.  If a person wants to refuse Jesus Christ and His death as payment for their sins, they have committed the unpardonable sin.  Jesus said so.  It is, “the sin which does not have forgiveness.”

 

Now, don’t misunderstand, we are talking about something that is a final and sealed choice by a person.  The door back to God through Christ is eternally OPEN.  No sin can shut it.  The unpardonable sin doesn’t even shut that open door – rather, the unpardonable sin is the refusal to walk through that eternally OPEN door.  Even if you have renounced Jesus Christ, you can always turn back through repentance and walk through that open door.  But those who are guilty of the unpardonable sin WILL NOT.  That is the point.

 

God’s Eternal Attitude of Love

 

So, “For God so loved the world…” I want to take a look at Adam’s original sin, for in that sin, and in God’s response to it, we find the love of God expressed.  We know that Adam sinned AFTER God had directly commanded him to NOT eat of the forbidden tree.  We also know that   Adam sinned AFTER being told that if he ate of that forbidden true he would DIE.  But Adam sinned despite these commands and warnings.  And through his sin Adam fell into the clutches of the realm of darkness.  Do we realize that God would have been perfectly just in just walking away?  There was no obligation that God was under to save man.  Adam absolutely rejected God with his eyes wide open.  Remember, Adam did not have a sin nature.  He was tempted on another basis and he knew that he was rejecting God.  He chose himself over God.  So, God would have been perfectly just to simply walk away.  But He didn’t walk away – that is because, despite the sin, “God so loved,” indeed, God IS love.

 

I don’t want to turn and read the entire Genesis account, as it would take too long.  I trust that most of us know it.  How many realize that after Adam sinned, there is a wonderful picture of the attitude of God toward Adam?  Even IN his sin?  There is also evidence of Adam’s attitude toward God.  After Adam sinned, if you’ll remember, he had his eyes opened and he saw that he was naked. What did Adam do?  He went and HID from God among the trees of the garden.  He said he did so because he was afraid.  But what did GOD do?  God came looking for Adam.  He said, “Adam, where art thou?”

 

Now, just in that lesson there, do we see the eternal attitude of God toward humanity?  God is a seeking God who seeks out people – even in their sin -- and says, “Where art thou?”  He seeks out those who have rebelled against Him for the purpose of giving them a way back through Christ.

 

Through our own blindness, passed down through religious tradition, we have painted a false picture of God.  We have believed and taught that God is the one who has withdrawn from us, and that we are the ones who are pounding down His door to try to get His attention.  No.  We ought to read Revelation, where Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, and that if any man will open to Me, etc.”  God Almighty is the initiator of reconciliation between Himself and man through Jesus Christ.  Again -- who came looking for whom?  God came looking for Adam.  There it is.

 

Can we see this Truth as a thread all through scripture?  In fact, it says in 1 Corinthians 5:18-19, as it is so clearly pictured there in Genesis, that God has reconciled us to Himself.  It also says, “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Have we grasped the Truth here?  ALL humanity -- even those who hate Jesus Christ -- have, in Christ, been reconciled back to God.  That is finished.  But as we have seen, those who refuse what Christ has done will ultimately seal their doom.  It is precisely because God has done this in Christ and freely offered it to all that those who refuse will be lost.  Again, the basis for judgment is the finished work of Jesus Christ -- and the light given about it. That’s why God sends people to hell -- because it is finished, and offered freely, and they refuse it. 

 

God Almighty has done everything there is to do to reconcile man back to Himself.  Note that God never needed to be reconciled back to man.  No.  The problem between God and man was never God -- it was always man.  The Bible is perfectly clear about that.

 

Yet we ought to ask:  How many of us live governed by this Truth?  How many of us go through our day -- and though we would never say this or admit it to ourselves – we live as if the problem is God’s attitude towards US.  We live as if God is hiding from us.  We function as if God has withdrawn.  We are blinded to the Truth.

 

Here is what we need to do:  Seek God anyway and tell Him to do whatever it takes to bring you into His light and into the knowledge of Jesus Christ.  That is what we need:  An inward revelation of Jesus Christ.  God knows this and wants it for us more than we know to want it for ourselves.  Why?  “For God so loved the world….”  I think if you really look at that verse, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son” – you actually see the ultimate expression of God’s love.  It is the ultimate sacrifice; the ultimate act of love.  Therefore, on all of these lesser matters, how could God’s love be lacking? 

 

If God is love, He is not capable of doing anything but love everyone.  He is not capable of loving anyone less than another because He is the very personification of ultimate eternal love.  There is no fluctuation there.  There is no change in His love toward us.  God cannot love you more than He loves me, or visa versa.  It is because God so loved the world, and because He desires for all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth, that He gave His only begotten Son.

 

God’s eternal love is true for you and me in the sense that Jesus came to die for us.  But there is more.  You can expand this verse and apply it to the fact that right NOW -- if you are a born-again believer and you are joined to the Lord -- that God has given you His Son to dwell in you.  He has given you all that Jesus is, and you are one with Him in spirit.

 

As it says in Romans 8:32, “God has freely given us all things in His Son.”  This is more than just the redemptive act of hanging on the cross.  It includes all that the Cross, and resurrection, made possible – that God has freely given us His Son that we might dwell in Him, and He in us, and that we might share all that is in Him.  Why?  Because, “God so loved the world.”

 

The Basis for Judgment

 

Now, let’s read on here lest we chew up our time.  John writes in verse 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Now, notice verse 17 because it is important.  John continues, “For God sent NOT His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  These are simple words and everybody knows them, but can we see that we are being told WHY God sent His Son?  Love.  God did not want ANYONE to perish.  He desired that ALL be saved.  Thus, the God of love and grace has offered, by His grace, salvation to everyone through the Son He sent, Jesus Christ.

 

In verse 18 it continues, “He that believes on Him is not condemned, but he that believes not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the Only Begotten Son of God.”  How many see that John is saying outright that if you have not yet believed that you are already in the process of perishing?  He uses the word, “condemned” here regarding those who do not believe -- and earlier he says that they are perishing.  Everyone in Adam is perishing.  In Adam ALL die -- but God offers salvation through Christ to all -- so that those who will believe will NOT perish but have eternal life.

 

Now, verse 19 begins a passage that is full of Truth.  I have talked a little bit about some of what is said in verse 19, but notice how clear a statement it is.  He says in verse 19, “And THIS is condemnation…”  Note that -- he is saying that THIS is the basis of condemnation – it is the basis of God’s, “judgment against;” God’s basis for eternal judgment.  What IS?  What is the basis for judgment?  He answers, “That light is come into the world, but men loved darkness rather than light.”  Why?  “Because their deeds were evil.” 

 

Notice the clear words here.  If we want to know the basis upon which people will be condemned, here it is:  Light has come to them.  But they chose to love darkness rather than light.

 

Light is always centered in a Person:  Jesus Christ.  Those who refuse to be saved reject Christ.  They have not LOST their salvation – but have REFUSED salvation to begin with.  They have sealed their fate.  They will continue to perish.  But it is also possible that once we are saved that we might choose to love darkness rather than light.  Christians do that all the time.  If a believer chooses to love darkness rather than light, in some particular matter that God is working with them -- refusing for example, to pick up the cross -- then there is judgment.  But in the case of a believer – and I speak of one who is REALLY born from above – God’s judgment is a chastisement because salvation cannot be lost.  God will bring what is necessary to turn His people back to the Truth.  But ultimately, if a born again believer continually choses darkness rather than light, then God’s judgment will be to give them that darkness.  They can forfeit a measure of eternal fellowship with Christ – and any corresponding eternal inheritance.  It is unfortunate that believers make choices like that but we are capable of this. 

 

God is continually revealing to us His Son.  For those who would love darkness rather than light, Christ is the basis of CONDEMNATION or of judgment.  But God’s revelation of Christ is also the basis of ILLUMINATION – for those who will love light rather than darkness. 

 

Light is Come

 

Notice a couple of other things that are built into this passage.  First of all, LIGHT IS COME INTO the world.  How many understand that all that is of the world begins in darkness?  Included in the world is the mind of man and his earthly nature.  There is NO light in the earthly; no light in natural man.  Wasn’t that the case after Adam sinned?  In fact, I think it is Colossians 1:13, where it says that God Almighty has delivered us from the realm of darkness and into the Kingdom of His Beloved Son.  So, this verse states clearly that we start out in darkness -- but not just darkness AROUND us -- but darkness IN US.  Man is born into this world with no light whatsoever.  In fact, you can be very religious -- have a lot of religious tradition and religious righteousness -- and yet have no light at all.

 

So, every one of us is born in Adam -- in total darkness and blackness.  But, through Jesus Christ light has come.  Note that John does not say that light WILL come.  No.  He says, “Light IS come” -- not yet fully into every little nook and cranny of the world, or the mind of all men yet, but light IS presently come – light is invading.  The Truth of Jesus Christ is invading -- and if you are a Christian and you are joined to Him -- then Jesus Christ, The Light, is invading you.  It is through the inward revelation of Jesus Christ that God wants to topple all the strongholds in you with the Truth of God. 

 

So, light IS come into an otherwise blackened world.  But men have a choice.  And John says that there are people who will choose to love darkness RATHER than light.  Yet how many see that in order for a human being to love darkness RATHER than light that such a person must receive SOME LIGHT?   You can’t love darkness RATHER than light unless you receive some light.  There would be no, “rather,” otherwise.  Thus, we see once again that the basis of God’s judgment is that light is come to a person, and that person chose to love darkness RATHER than the light they were given. 

 

So, what is the basis of God’s judgment?  Light!  But not just LIGHT as a thing unto itself – but the Light who is a Person.  How many understand that the moment you and I receive light, we are accountable?  We can no longer say that we do not see.  Once you receive light, you can’t go back – because NOW you know.  Now you see.

 

Now, light is the basis of judgment eternally.  But as I’ve noted, it is also the basis for judgment for a Christian -- as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  A Christian is always being given more light.  But we can push it aside.  And while we won’t lose our salvation, we will lose – what?  Well, if we refuse light we will lose that light – and have the darkness we have chosen.  We will not fellowship with Christ in that light we refused, and could end up forfeiting some of the fullness of what we could have had in Christ.

 

Thus, light is the basis upon which God will judge all men -- the light of His Son, Jesus Christ. Indeed, the same light which God intends to set us free unto salvation -- if we would just embrace Christ by faith – that same light will be the basis of condemnation if we refuse it.  God will judge us all by Jesus Christ who is The Light.  This is essentially what is being stated here.  “This is judgment; this is condemnation -- that Light has come into the world -- into my darkened world if we want to personalize it.  The light is going to judge the darkness.  May we not choose darkness rather than light!

 

The Truth of Eternal Security

 

Now, let’s read on here because there is a lot more.  “And this is the judgment or condemnation, that light is come into the world but men loved darkness rather than light.”  How many see that right there we are being told that those who are condemned eternally are in that condition because they DID receive light and refused it?  Of course, read it:  Men loved darkness RATHER than light.  You can’t love darkness RATHER than light unless you have received light.  So, John is not talking here about people who never heard the gospel.  He is talking about people who have received light -- but loved darkness RATHER than light.  In short, John is not talking about people who LOSE their salvation, but rather, about people who REFUSE their salvation to begin with. 

 

Now as an aside, this particular scripture brings understanding to some other scriptures in the Bible that have often been misunderstood.  One of these is in Hebrews 6, where it says that it is impossible to restore unto repentance those who are once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and so on.  People have taken that scripture, and a few others, and have tried to build a case wherein you could lose your salvation.  But this is not the Truth found in Hebrews 6 – nor is it the Truth found in many other scriptures that supposedly prove that you can lose salvation.  They are not talking about LOSING salvation.  No.  Those scriptures are talking about REFUSING salvation to begin with. 

 

If we read this passage in John 3 we will see the Truth of Hebrews 6.  We will see that the writer of Hebrews is saying that those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift --  we will see that these people have not LOST salvation -- but they have, in fact, REFUSED it.  Sure.  For John 3 states that people who will be condemned forever have RECEIVED light:  “This IS condemnation – that light IS come….”  So they have been, “enlightened” -- but they have shut their eyes.  They have, “tasted,” of that which is of God in Christ -- but they have spit it out instead of internalizing it.  The point is, you cannot, “love darkness rather than light,” unless you have received some light.  You cannot be condemned for refusing Christ unless you have been given light to refuse.  So, we are reading here in John 3, and Hebrews 6 -- not about the possibility of losing salvation -- but about the possibility of refusing it.  Light is given -- but then refused – and this refusal is  the basis for God’s judgment.

 

I am also reminded of Jesus’ words in John 6:44, where He said, “No man can COME to Me except the Father who sent me DRAW him.”  How many see revealed in that verse two dimensions to any person’s coming to Christ?  There is God’s DRAWING, and then there is our COMING -- based on God’s drawing.  In other words, God must first take the initiative to draw a person to Christ – the word, “draw,” certainly indicates a process or a time in which that person is under conviction and under light.  That word, “draw,” would indicate a process:  “No man can COME to Me except the Father first DRAW him.”  So, first there must be the drawing of God to Christ.  Or, in another words, God must first bring light.  But then there is the COMING of that man to Christ -- on the basis of that light given.  No one can come to Christ except the Father first draw them; bring light – i.e., the drawing of God, and then the coming by faith of a person to Jesus.

 

So God draws and the person comes.  But how many understand that the person may nevertheless refuse to come?  Despite the false teachings of Calvinism on irresistible grace, people HAVE refused to come.  They have refused God’s drawing of them to Christ – God gave them light, convicted them, put them through experiences, gave them continual opportunities to turn to Christ and to see the Truth.  But some still won’t COME.  Their refusal is not a one time refusal.  It’s a lifetime refusal.  Of course, only God knows when a person has really and truly and deliberately refused Christ.  You and I don’t know that.  But the possibility is described here in John 3:  “This IS condemnation, that light is come, and men love darkness RATHER than light….” 

 

Just as an aside, let’s ask a question:  What is the penalty for choosing darkness RATHER than light?  Well, the penalty is that God will judge us worthy of that choice.  What do I mean?  I mean that the penalty for choosing darkness rather than light IS that I get darkness.  In other words, if you choose darkness, you get darkness.  If you refuse light, you get darkness.  Isn’t that perfectly just?  In the end, God will let us have exactly what we have chosen in the face of the light He has given us of Jesus Christ.

 

We can see this being worked out right now in this age.  If people shut God out NOW, what they get is darkness NOW.  God lets people have what they choose – if they continual to persist in that choice over and against the light He has given them.  But don’t think of God’s judgment in this matter as a vindictive punishment. God is not going to storm down from heaven and punish someone in a fit of anger because they love darkness rather than light.  No.  Rather, His ultimate judgment is that He will give them what they want.  When God allows people to have what they have chosen it is His judgment.  If we really understood that, we would realize that it is the only way in which God could justly judge:  “This is condemnation that light has come into the world but men loved darkness rather than light.”

 

Light and Truth

 

Now, the question is liable to be asked: “Why in the world would anyone love darkness rather than light?” John tells us point blank why they would choose darkness rather than light:  “Because their deeds were evil.”  He goes on to say, “For everyone who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light lest his deeds should be reproved.”  In other words, the pivot point, and number one reason, why people love darkness rather than light is because they will NOT be exposed.  They will not be shown the Truth about themselves.  They will not be brought to the place where they stand face to face with their barrenness and emptiness.  They won’t have it. 

 

There are many professing Christians who are committing that sin exactly.  Professing Christians -- many of whom are leaders -- have built themselves up, and perhaps gained a following – many who say they are believers have dug trenches around their self-centered kingdom, and will protect it at all costs.  They not will not tolerate being exposed; they will not come into the light.  They love darkness rather than light, because they do not want to be shown the Truth about themselves in the light of Jesus.

 

     As I have said so many times:  If God shows you the Truth about yourself, the Truth is going to be horrible.  But regardless, we DO need to see Truth about ourselves.  We do need to see ourselves for what we are before the Lord.  Of course, the Truth about OURSELVES is not all that we will see in the light.  We will also see the Light Himself – and the fact that we can lose ourselves to Him so that He might become our life.  The Light of God will expose some ugly things about us – but this is all unto freedom.  God gives light to set us free from ourselves so that we might know Jesus Christ.  This is what happens if we embrace the light God gives.  But, in contrast, if you love darkness rather than light, your bondage will be all the greater; your darkness will be greater. 

 

Gather all of this up:  “Men loved darkness rather than light BECAUSE their deeds were evil.” -- how many see that in the final analysis this is a denial of and a refusal of the cross of Jesus Christ?  It’s a refusal to be crucified with Christ.  It is a refusal because I am refusing the light that will expose me as one who NEEDS to be crucified with Christ.  Indeed, it is entirely possible for a person to preach the cross of Jesus Christ as an historical event, or even as a necessity in the life of the believer, but to nevertheless, in one’s own life, to continually push it away – to continually refuse to come into the light and be shown as a sinner.  The human heart is deceitful above all things.  May God deliver us from such deception.

 

So, “This is condemnation; this is judgment.”  We might even turn this verse around and give it a positive spin and say, “This is SALVATION -- that light has come into the world, and men loved LIGHT rather than darkness.”  Ironically, men love light rather than darkness for the same reason men love darkness rather than light: “Because their deeds were evil.”  The different is the choice to embrace light and Truth – by faith in coming to Jesus Christ.  Those who love darkness rather than light do so because their deeds are evil and they don’t want to be exposed.  Those who love light rather than darkness do so because their deeds are evil and they do want to be exposed and set free through Jesus Christ.  In both cases, the Truth is the same.  The choice is up to us. Light IS judgment -- and the light of Christ is the basis upon which God will judge all of us

 

Read verse 20, “For everyone who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light lest their deeds should be reproved, but he that does Truth…(which could also be translated, he that is true, i.e., open and honest to God)…comes to the light that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God.”  Notice that the, “deeds,” of a believer are not wrought in ourselves – that is -- they are not from out of ourselves as the source.  But rather, once you are open and true towards God, God Himself will begin HIS work in you.

 

So, all that God is telling us to do here is to open to Him -- to be honest and true and accept the Truth.  Like I always say:  Ask God to bring you into the light NO MATTER WHAT IT TAKES. Why in the world would we want to settle for less?  Why would we want to spend one more minute than is necessary in a delusional Christianity; in the dark; deceived, and distorted?  Why in the world would we want to have a faulty knowledge of God; a foolish knowledge of God built out of myths and fables; built out of the imagination of our own heart?  Why would we want to live in the delusion of having a righteousness of our own?

 

This is what happens when people will not come into the light.  God is saying, “Come into the light and I will expose it all.”  It won’t be fun and you will have to come under the work of the cross for that to be made real.  He would also say to us, “Get on the altar of Romans 12:1, and present your bodies a living sacrifice.”  “Be willing,” God would say to us, “For me to do whatever it takes to bring you into the Truth.”  You do not need to settle for less and it is never God’s will for us to settle for less.  He wants us to have all that He has for us in Jesus Christ.

 

God’s Love

 

Well, I have to wrap this up for today -- but I hope that we have, in fact, seen the reasons why God sent Jesus Christ.  I think those reasons – first, that man was lost, and second, that God loves man -- are wrapped up in another passage that I want to read to close this message.  It is found in Romans 5.  It says in Romans 5:6:

 

For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man would one die, yet peradventure for a good man, some would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, now being justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For, if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more now being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

 

And so there you have it.  Man was lost with no hope of saving himself or of even beginning the process.  But, “God so loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son so that none might perish, but that all who believe might through faith, receive eternal life and live with God forever.”

 

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