There should be no doubt that the very pinnacle of Bible revelation from God to man is John’s Gospel, chapter 3. There is no more important and valuable knowledge to be gained from anywhere in all the world than that which John chapter 3 contains. And from that chapter, there is no higher verse than 3:16. John 3:16 is known as “The Gospel in a nutshell.” For all that, however, it is what the chapter contains concerning #8, the New Birth, that distinguishes Evangelical Christianity from all other forms of it. Evangelicalism is New Testament Christianity, when rightly defined. Let’s take a look.
Verse 3 makes clear that #10, the Kingdom will only be seen by those who have experienced #8, the New Birth. As Jesus says in verse 5, only those who have been #8, Born of the Spirit will enter #10, the Kingdom. He concludes with a simple absolute; “You must be #8, Born Again,” in verse 7. This is what distinguishes Evangelicalism from the ‘confessing’ form of all the rest of so-called Christianity. No New Birth, NO Kingdom!!!
With verse 10, we see that this comes about by ‘understanding’ this truth says verse 10, ‘accepting’ this truth says verse 11, and by #7, ‘believing’ this truth says verses 12 and 14. The result of this, as it says here, is entrance into #10, the Kingdom v.3 + 5, heaven v.13, and eternal life v.15. Jesus’ own emphasis is not so much that we believe in #8, the New Birth, but that we #7, believe upon the matter of verse 14 that #5, “the Son of Man must be lifted up;” which is a reference to his coming death by crucifixion, and the explanation for what follows in verses 15 and 16. The pinnacle of all revelation from God to us, as verse 15 states, is that, “Everyone who #7, believes in Jesus Christ may have #10, eternal life,” by means of this #8, New Birth just described in verses 3 through 8. You must not miss this!
It is my personal belief that Jesus’ words end with verse 15, and John expounds upon what Jesus said, beginning with verse 16, and thru verse 21. Not that it matters at all, but Jesus said all that was needed to be said to Nicodemus in verses 3 thru 15, and I think John is further expanding upon Jesus’ words for our sake, beginning with verse 16. Here, in 16, for the first time, we learn of God’s motive behind #5, the Gospel. He loves us! God #5, gave His only begotten Son, that whoever #7, believes in Him shall not #3, perish but have #10, eternal life! But, only as long as this believing, spoken of here, results in #8, the New Birth just spoken of previously in this chapter. Get it? This IS thee most important thing!
Chapter 3 is so full, we’ll finish it next time. This truly IS what the Book is all about! You must be born again!
Harold F Crowell