How Can These Things Be? John 3:14-21

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15.

The Lord begins His revelation by showing us the absolute simplicity of salvation, the incident of the serpent in the wilderness.

“And the people spoke against God and against Moses: ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.’ So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, ‘We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Numbers 21:5-9.

We have all been bitten by the serpent of sin and are dying from the poison. As you can see from above, God does not tell us to do a lot of good deeds, or to perform some sort of ritual to be cured. No, we need only look at the serpent on the pole (Christ on the cross).

The sinner does need one thing though; the faith in God’s word to know that if they look they will be healed.

What if someone back in the wilderness had thought, “Nah, I am strong. I do not need to look at some snake on a pole to get better!” Do you think something like that could have happened back then? Would you call him a fool?

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17.

Everything a person needs to know to be saved is in the above verse; one need only meditate on it.

Some things to consider about it are, “For God so loved the world…” God really did create us to love us and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross is the best evidence.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:6-8.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10.

Modern thought is similar to that of the Pharisees in that they concentrated on works to please God and forgot about grace.

God is seen today as an angry old man who cannot wait to get us up there to scream at us and pound the table. It is the cross of Christ that shows up this demonic lie.

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.

God gave “His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish”, perish refers to eternal separation from God, not limbo or purgatory, but a real place, hell until the end of time, and then the lake of fire for eternity.

Separation from God comes as a result of the deluded thinking that we are righteous enough to stand in God’s presence because we have met our standard of goodness.

Others are careless about eternal things, while still others think they can do without God for eternity just as they are doing now. All of these attitudes are erroneous and infinitely dangerous.

The self-righteous person sets up a standard of living for themselves and because they live up to their standard (when it is convenient) they think they are as holy as God and not in need of a savior.

The complacent person thinks, “I am perfectly happy with my life now, and in need of nothing.” thus insulting God, deeming Him not worthy of their consideration.

Those who would prefer to do without God for eternity are mistaken. He is present with us at all times, atheist or not; but hell will be hell because there is no God there. The atheist gets his wish.

Without God there are none of His attributes, peace, love, joy, happiness, companionship, goodness; or color, music, the touch of a loved one, fresh water, or a cool refreshing breeze for that matter.

Can anyone really think they can say, “No God I hate You, I do not want Your presence.” and have blue skies and green grass. And, oh, by the way, I especially like fruit, nuts, fresh berries, and dairy products.” It is time to wake up!

“… that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The phrase, have everlasting life, is present tense, at that moment, one has everlasting life.

God will not get angry and take it away. You cannot sin and lose the everlasting life that you received at the moment of salvation.

If our salvation depended on our being continually sinless after accepting Christ, we would not make it past breakfast before losing it again.

This is the mercy of God; all our sins are expunged by the blood of Christ.

“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

The desire to sin becomes less and less, while the desire to please God comes from the heart. For those who are tired of the mess they have made of their life, there is hope.

“Oh, for a man to arise in me, that the man that I am might cease to be?” Tennyson.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.

There are those who like to tell us that Christ came to save some but not all. That is not what it says here is it?

“For the Scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Romans 10:11-13.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18.

Here are two illustrations that may clarify the above verse.

Suppose a person’s car stalls on a railroad track and a train is coming. There are two options, try to start the car, or get out of it. While they are deciding which option to take, they are in the process of dying.

Someone goes to the doctor and he tells them that they have a life threatening condition; however, if he operates soon they will recover. The patient may have two options, have the operation right away, or seek alternative advice. While they are deciding, they are in the process of dying.

All who consider the question of whether to accept or reject Christ as savior is in the process of dying in their sins.

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins…” Ephesians 2:1.

All men are spiritually dead to God; mankind is separated from Him by sin, for God cannot have sin in His presence. This is what the blood of Christ does; it separates us from our sin so we can be joined to God.

“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:19-21.

Let us begin by saying that light and darkness are for comparison, Jesus is the light and sin and evil are the darkness that envelopes this world.

If you go into a cave, Carlsbad Caverns for instance, and turn out the lights, you will know darkness, yet, light a flashlight or even a match, and that light becomes very bright. This is why Jesus could say.

“I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12b.

Look at the world today; can you deny that it is indeed evil, the darkness almost suffocates.

American government, whether executive, legislative, or judicial has fallen into chaos. The Constitution is ignored or twisted and none is responsive to the will of the governed.

The people themselves have forgotten the difference between right and wrong, good and evil.

People cannot speak out for what is right without condemnation by the media or death threats from those who oppose God’s laws and precepts.

The media does not condemn the death threats, even against the president, because they agree with such maliciousness; evil is good and good is evil.

Overseas, the Middle East is in a bloodlust killing each other, Muslim against Muslim, and all who are not Muslim, especially Jews.

Greed has created financial disaster with nations collapsing in bankruptcy. Crime and immorality worldwide is destroying everyone, young and old.

The world is being sucked into a terminal whirlpool of filth and degeneracy. Christ is the world’s hope but men love the darkness and hate the light of Christ, so they will not come to Him.

Soon the lights will go out and the world will fall into tribulation such as it has never known, nor ever will after that. Choose life.

How Can These Things Be? John 3:14-21 taken from posted on 7-11-12, updated on 6-27-17.

Scripture taken from the New King James version; copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

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