John 3:16…I suppose I don’t even need to list this verse because I’m sure you already know it…(pun intended) but I will.
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.(John 3:16 NLT)
The most “well known” verse in the bible. Or is it?
People quote it, wear it painted on their bodies at Football games, have it tattooed on their bodies (for life)..and yet they walk around this earth living as if they have no idea what this means.
It seems we often view this verse solely in terms of the after life. God loved us and if we believe in His son we will have eternal life. While that is true, we could be missing out on so much if we just stop there. It’s truly just the beginning of what God wants us to know and experience through Christ.
Sometimes I think Christians (myself included) who are experiencing trials or tribulations (like the bible says we will) are resistant to hearing the truths contained in the bible. Maybe we think if we admit we are struggling with something God will turn his face from us? Maybe we think we have to be “strong” and “deal with it”. But that’s not the case. Immediately after John 3:16 is John 3:17…17 God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. It’s not about what we do…it’s about what He already did for us.
AMAZING! He didn’t send Jesus here to die just so you could go to Heaven…He sent Him here to be your Savior. To be saved means so much more than just going to Heaven. The Greek word is “sozo” which means “to save, deliver, protect, heal, preserve, do well, and be made whole.” Wow! If we could truly grasp what this means. I want it all! I want to be made whole…body, mind and spirit.
In John 16:33, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” When Jesus said that He was talking about Satan, the ruler of this world. Jesus has ALREADY defeated Satan. He overcame death, hell, and the grave…He said, “It is FINISHED!” (John 19:30). He died to give YOU a new life in Him. The Greek word tetelestai is translated “it is finished”. It is an accounting term that means “paid in full.” Jesus paid our debt! We will have tribulations BUT we can turn to Him and we can overcome them. We can speak to our mountains…we can TRUST that God is good even when times are tough. Or, we can give in to the temptations of the devil to whine, moan, complain, drown our sorrows in booze, drugs, food, sex, gambling….you name it. We can turn to many vices (idols) instead of Jesus and we can experience defeat.
But God’s word is true. The bible says we can resist the devil and he will flee! Most people don’t want to hear the first part of that verse though. James 4:7 says to Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. This, my friends, is because the devil knows he is already defeated! When you submit yourself to God by declaring His goodness in the midst of your trials and tribulations, the enemy has to flee. It’s a promise. We submit to God when we are open to hearing Him speak. When we choose to believe He is good. Just the simple act of declaring the Father’s goodness puts the enemy in his place. Worrying and complaining are what the enemy wants you to do. When we stop doing that and trust in God, that is submission. The enemy is banking on the fact that you don’t know this. He doesn’t want you to know your true identity either; your position in the Kingdom. YOU are adopted sons and daughters. YOU are a child of God! If Satan can keep you doubting, he will. He’s been doing that since Genesis. He caused Eve to doubt that she had everything she needed. He tempted her with the knowledge of good and evil…told her she could be like God. Then Adam followed her. They chose to believe a lie that God was holding out on them. The truth was, they were already made in His image…they were already like their Father. Satan is still up to his same old tricks today; he has nothing new. But he only has the power you give him. Once you know who you are in Christ, you can be victorious over the devil. He has no place in you if you are in Christ! Jesus brought us back to that place where we are restored, redeemed, FORGIVEN and made right with God. We are sozoed…saved, delivered, protected, healed, preserved, doing well, and made whole!
So when you’re in the midst of trials or just having a hard time with something and someone gives you a bible verse or tries to share some words of encouragement…before you say, “Oh, I know…” step back for a minute and take a new look at your situation. Do you really know? Or is it possible you’ve let your mind be conformed to this world and you’re not really seeing the situation the way God sees it? Could the enemy of your soul be putting doubt in your mind? Has pride gotten the best of you? Don’t be so quick to dismiss what God may be trying to show you. If you open your eyes to see something new, He will show you. If you open your ears to hear Him, He will speak. And He can speak in the most amazing ways…through people you know or a complete stranger. Through a television preacher or your own pastor. The best way is through His word. You build your faith by hearing the word of God. The bible is an amazing gift that we need to become more familiar with. He can change your hard, stony heart into a heart of flesh. It’s up to you. Will you choose to believe He is for you and not against you? He truly wants to change you, to see you sozoed. Saved, delivered, protected, healed, preserved, doing well, and made whole! If you don’t believe me, just ask Him!