John 3:16-21 The Gospel Explained

John 3:16-21 “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.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”

Today’s set of verses continue in the book of John. We start with a verse that the whole world seems to know fairly well as it’s the most oft-quoted verse (next to the “judge not…” out of context verse in Matthew 7).

Let’s take a look at the entire conversation though so that we have proper understanding. The first verse, John 3:16 clearly shows that God loves the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, so that anyone who believes in Him should not perish but rather have everlasting life! One thing to consider here is that some versions wrongly omit the word “begotten” and make the verse say “He gave his only Son.” The problem with this is that the Bible elsewhere calls many others sons of God and therefore those outside of the faith would use this to imply the Bible has contradictions. It is important to know that this verse is not referring to God’s ONLY Son since as we read in John 1:12, others can be considered a son of God as well (even including Adam the first man)! The difference is that Jesus, is the only BEGOTTEN of the Father (John 1:14).

Continuing, we see that we should not quote this single verse out of context but explain with the following verses. Let’s continue, God sent Jesus because He loved the world and through Jesus the world could be saved. In verse 17 we see it explained that God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save it. Some people would say that they (or the world) were perfectly fine until Jesus came along and brought this whole “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand” business. This is the answer for those people. Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it. The Gospel is not to condemn, but to set free. “Then why am I going to hell now that I refuse to believe in Jesus?” some might say. That is further explained in the next verse:

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

It’s not that you’re going to hell now that Jesus came, or the Gospel was preached to you, and you have to believe on Jesus to be saved now. The fact of the matter is that we were already condemned long before Jesus came—long before we heard the Gospel. Each one of us were born in sin and walking a road to hell. Jesus came to save us from that road we were already on. This is a key to the Gospel that many people leave out today. Often we tell people, “Come to Jesus!” but they ask “Why” and all people say is either nothing or “so you can go to heaven.” People need to know WHY they need a Saviour before they will consider that the Gospel is indeed GOOD news! If people think they’re perfectly fine the way they are, they will see Jesus as merely religion and an option, rather than the ONLY way to get to the Father.

Verse 18 explains that those who believe on Jesus are not condemned, but those who believe not are already condemned. The verses afterward explain the response that we see to the Gospel of Jesus. The condemnation is that people in general prefer darkness and sin, rather than light and righteousness. If someone is doing something wrong, they will not be so happy for someone to shine the light and expose the wrong they are doing. This is why we should not take rejection of the Gospel personally, or get surprised, or upset if people don’t immediately fall to their knees in repentance and some shouts of “Hallelujah!” In fact, the Bible says that the majority of people will not come to the gospel! And it’s not a matter of them not knowing better. They know, but willingly choose not to come to Jesus. We should not be surprised when we see this around us. This doesn’t mean our hearts shouldn’t weep for them, or that we shouldn’t bother telling the Gospel to them. We should weep the way Jesus wept for the people, and our preaching the Gospel isn’t just about everyone getting to heaven. It’s also about shining a light so that no soul can tell God that no one ever warned them.

The last few verses explain that those who love darkness rather than light, don’t come to the light because their deeds will be “reproved.” The Word “reprove” simply means rebuked or shown to be bad. The word paints a picture of someone who has their works tested, and in the testing process the works are shown to be flawed, cracked, lacking any usefulness/integrity. Similar to Daniel 5:27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Contrarily we see that those who do what is right will come to the light so that their works are “wrought” in God. For this word, think of “wrought iron.” The word “wrought” is another word for “worked” and paints a picture of iron that is being hammered and shaped into its final form. This is something to consider, that even outside of Christ our works of Righteousness cannot be perfected (in fact, we read they are like filthy rags in Isaiah 64:6)!

This is something that many of us in the churches today need to remember. Often, many of us pray that God will just bring the lost souls to the churches we go to. We get into a way of thinking that we expect God will just draw the sinners to the Light of the Church and thereby we only need to sit comfortably in our soft pews and wait. Yet in too many verses to list here, we see that the Lord says that’s not how it happens! Instead we go into the highways and byways and streets and stores and so forth and we shine the light to the people where they are. We cannot expect someone who hates the light, to willingly come to the lighthouse just because. No, we pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare hearts, and we go and plant the seed of the Word in their hearts, and pray that the Lord gives the growth, and then we can take up the harvest!

I love you all so much with Godly, brotherly love and continue to keep you in prayer! May the Lord continue to bless you abundantly, as He truly does bless us so much more than we deserve! Please keep me in prayer as well, for guidance in the face of many decisions lately! Keep on Keeping on, brethren!

Love always in Christ,
Your brother,
And friend,