Saturday, October 31, 2015

God's Extravagance, Our Riches Part 2

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 (emphasis mine)

26 words: such a simple but rich truth! 

Last week, in Part 1 we looked at God's extravagance described in the first few words of this verse. 

Extravagant love: He loved us before were were even born.

Extravagant gift: Even before creation, He determined to give His only Son, Jesus, to save all of us.

Whoever: He loved and He gave to everyone who has lived or ever will live.

He loved beyond what we can imagine.

He gave His precious Son, a gift beyond compare.

The truths in this verse revolve around one word: Whoever.

God loved and gave to whoever - everyone - but His extravagant grace promised in the last part of this verse isn't available to everyone but only to whoever believes. Believes, that's the key word. 

Believepisteúō to place faith in, to firmly trust. 

We use the word believe so casually. Most of the time we refer to head knowledge, maybe even experiential knowledge. I know 2+2=4. I know a rock will fall if I drop it, not float, and it will hurt if it hits my toe. I've experienced it. I know about roller coasters: I know what they look like and the sound they make. I know they're safe because I understand the physics. Do I believe they're safe? No, and I won't get on one!

The same is true in our relationship with Jesus. We can know about Him: He is God's Son, He died for forgiveness of our sins, He rose from the dead. That's head knowledge. But if we don't have faith in Him and trust Him, we don't believe in Him. pisteúō is so much more. It's head, heart, and soul belief. 

I became a Christian one evening after listening to Billy Graham on TV. As I laid in bed, I realized how sinful I was and I turned to God. Now, I didn't know much about Jesus at that point. I knew He was God's Son, He died on the cross to forgive my sins, and He rose to life. But I believed in what I knew and I placed my trust totally in Him.   

For a long time, I wondered if my simple belief was pisteúō. But the profound words of John 3:16 erased my fear. I knew God loved me. I knew He gave Jesus for my forgiveness. I accepted His love and His gift. I believed, head, heart, and soul.  

Whoever believes, head, heart, and soul, receives the riches of eternal life. 

Extravagant grace is available to whoever believes in Him:
  • Believers do not perish 
  • Believers have eternal life 

Perish: apόllumi to utterly destroy, to perish eternally. apόllumi doesn't refer to a physical death; we all experience that. It's an eternal death. 

I admit there have been a few times when I felt like I'd been utterly destroyed. Life turned upside down and everything fell apart. Yet this verse promises we will not be destroyed - in eternity. 

I used to walk after work with a friend of mine. She was an atheist, as was her family. When her father died, she was distraught. She would look at me and say, "He's gone. Just gone. It's like he stepped into a black hole of nothingness."

How could I comfort her? Should I tell her that she could have eternal life if she believed in the death and resurrection of God's Son, Jesus? Wouldn't that be the same as saying her father faced eternal death? That seemed cruel because her grief was still so raw. Perhaps I took the easy way out - I just listened. But I continued to pray for her, for the right time to speak to her, and the right words to say. 

As I listened to her desperation, never have I rejoiced more in the security of my eternal life than I did at that moment.

Extravagant Grace:  Believers shall not perish!

Life Eternal - zṓē aiōnios entrance into life, entrance into God's kingdom

There are two facets of this phrase: We enter into life now and we enter into God's Kingdom for eternity. Even though the time we spend on earth is minuscule compared to eternity, it's hard to keep that in perspective. We can find some comfort in the fact that God's gift is not just for eternity, it is for now, too. 

God's Kingdom. What do you think of when you hear those words? Beauty, joy,'s hard to describe. Most days, I take my dog, Ruby, for a walk in the park. It's a beautiful place: the path winds between big trees, green grassy areas, and wildflowers. The beauty calms me and brings a song to my heart. I marvel in God's creation and it's hard not to praise Him.

Beauty, joy, praise; sound familiar? God places eternity in our hearts when we believe in Him.

When we believe, we receive eternal life immediately, not at some unknown time in the future.  

Jesus rose from the dead. That's one of the fundamental beliefs of our faith that gives us assurance that we will rise from the dead as well (1 Corinthians 6:14). When we die physically, we don't pass into a black hole. We don't endure eternal separation from God. Instead, we step into His Kingdom to praise and to serve Him forever.

Extravagant Grace: We will live with Him forever!

John 3:16 is one of the most powerful verses in the Bible. It overflows with the extravagant love and the grace we receive when we believe in Him. 

It is Extravagant Truth!

Jaci's song says it beautifully!


  1. Amazing post, Sherry! Such powerful truths you've shared here, Love! Thank you so much for this! GOD bless you now and always! :-)

    1. God continually outdoes Himself in love and grace, doesn't He, Tai! Thanks for stopping by!

    2. Yes, HE does! And you are most welcome, Love! It was my pleasure. :-)

  2. Thank you for your posts about John 3:16, Sherry. I appreciated what you said about wondering if your faith was too simple. But this verse showed you what to believe in and who to commit to. That's special that a Billy Graham program touched your heart.

    1. We always try to complicate God's message, don't we? Thanks for commenting, Katy.

  3. Good post. I like that reminder that belief is more than just head knowledge--it's firmly trusting with our head, heart, and soul.

    1. Firmly trusting, so true! Thanks for stopping by, Leigh.

  4. Sherry, your words resonated with my heart for I remembered the day I knew the 'whosoever' meant me, that God has a wildly extravagant love for me, because I chose to believe. Life changing. Thank you,

  5. It was life changing for me, too, Jeannie. His love for me was more than I could, or still can, understand. Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Loved this Sherry. Enjoyed the way you shared the action behind this scripture and the way it unlocks the fruits of eternal life with God. It's tough to witness the pain of unbelievers for God is compassionate to His creations but wants to be glorified through an unwavering faith. GBY my friend.

    1. I never noticed all the action verbs in this verse until I truly studied it. Somehow, the riches in these very familiar verses skip past us. Thanks for commenting, Walter!

  7. Thank you somuch for this Biblestudy. I love what you are writing about: pisteúō!

    God bless you / de HEERE zegene jou!

    1. Thank you, Ariella. I love the precious meanings of these words. Thanks so much for commenting!

  8. Truly a great message Sherry. Such hope and faith. Thanks for your seeking heart and drive to share His love.

    1. You are a seeker too, Deb. Thanks for stopping by!