“God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that all those believing in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” John 3:16).
If we believe in God, then we should also believe God, and to believe God means that we have first to know what He is saying to us and expecting from us. To know that, presupposes that we are continually searching the Word to find these things out. If we do, we will discover God’s eternal purpose for men and women made in His own image.
We will discover, for example, that the Bible is more than a collection of facts about God and the universe that He created. More words are devoted to demands for obedience to the divine will, and exhortations for God’s people to change their ways, than there are to historical events and theological facts.
By far the most important, and sadly, the most neglected, of God’s Holy Word is directed towards urging those who claim a relationship with Him, to alter their ways and bring their lives into harmony with the desires of God as set forth in the Word.
To claim a knowledge of God and Biblical historical facts is useless in itself; many have such knowledge; hell will be full of such people. Satan knows these things, as do Amalek, Judas Iscariot, Ahab and many other figures in the Bible who were, and are, God’s avowed enemies.
No man is better off for knowing that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that all those believing in Him may not perish but may have eternal life”.
In fact, such knowledge can be dangerous, unless the believer goes on to search out what conditions apply to obtaining eternal life, for conditions there are. A moral response to God’s demand for righteousness is the glue that binds us – and God – to His promises. Both the verbs in the phrases “not perish” and “have eternal life” are in the subjunctive mood, which indicates that there are conditions applying.
The Word is full of exhortations to moral action by God’s people. It is an individual thing that each person must discover for himself by critical internal examination, repentance and redirection. Undertaken in integrity, such a process will open up new channels of communication and fellowship with God. In fact, I believe that it is impossible to truly worship God while these fleshly failings remain unconfessed and unrepented of; “For” as He said, “the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for such as these the Father seeks worshipping Him. God is Spirit, and those worshipping Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).