This golden verse has been singularly used more than any other to lead sinners, including the writer, to faith in Christ. It encapsulates the essence of the gospel that we preach.
John 3:16 compels a consideration of the verses which precede it. To the honest heart and inquiring mind of Nicodemus, Jesus had revealed the need of being born again. Using an event of historical significance from Numbers 21:5-9, He likened the lifting up of the brazen serpent as the means of deliverance of the Israelites from certain death, to the lifting up of the Son of Man as the universal remedy for sin and its consequences. Moses directed the bitten, dying Israelites to take a life-giving look of faith to this serpent on a pole, thus acknowledging their guilt and need, believing what God had instructed.
The picture is clear. John 3:14 says, “even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Paul declares, “For He (God) has made Him (Christ) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).
For God, what words of grace sublime,
That He who framed the worlds in time,
Should choose to stoop to where we were,
As sinners lost, condemned, impure!
So loved we were by God een though
Our sins like crimson grieved Him so.
Words cant describe why God should move
In grace to man, His love to prove.
The world, the object of His heart,
Of which the sinner is a part;
No limit placed upon His grace,
That none need miss His warm embrace.
And, that He gave brings no surprise;
Of all things doth His wealth comprise.
But what He gave was Heavens best,
No value found in all the rest.
It took a sinless spotless Man
To bear sins curse, the gulf to span.
Twas His only begotten Son
Repaired the damage sin had done.
To whom has God reached out to bless?
What class, what race deserves it less?
“That whosoever” is the name
By which the sinner makes his claim.
Its not our works puts sin away;
Man cant provide enough to pay.
Whoso believeth enters in,
Forgiveness finds for all his sin.
In Him alone salvations found;
Christs work secures redemption ground.
No other Name whereby we must
Be born again through child-like trust.
On Christ Gods stroke of judgment fell,
Deserved by us to bear in hell.
Should not perish, what welcome news,
We need not pay sins awful dues.
It is not that we wait to find
On judgment day, that God is kind;
Gods Word declares we need not fear,
But have eternal life down here.
Thus Everlasting life is found,
By every sinner who is bound,
Through simple faith in Gods dear Son;
For all that Christ can do is done.
If you think this verse is too good to be true, be assured that salvation only comes to those who believe what God says. Today, you can claim the promise that this verse offers by seeing yourself in the “whosoever” and acting upon it. To believe on Christ means to receive Him as a present possession. To have Christ means to have everlasting life, which is not only from Him but also in Him. It is inseparable from Him and has to do with quality of relationship as well as duration. “God hath given to us eternal life, and this life in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life, and He that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (I John 5: 11-12).