31 January 2017

Why john316.top?

The title of this blog is Joyfully Lutheran. Notice the domain name does not seem to reflect the blog title or its author? Do you think the domain gives the impression that it points to a blog/site written by someone in the trans-denominational movement known as evangelicalism? I chose john316.top as my blog's domain because the verse it evokes is very good, and it is easy for people to remember. (Not to mention it costs me only $0.88 a year with Namecheap!)

The verse in St. John's Gospel that we reference as John 3:16 is very well-known. Almost all Christians know it word for word according to whatever Bible translation they read at home. While I was growing up, I was not a Christian, but I did know the verse verbatim according to the King James Version. After I came to believe in Christ, I still recited the verse according to that translation. Today, like a good Lutheran in the ELCA, I recite it according to the New Revised Standard Version. In this post, let us read John 3:16, and then allow me to share with you a brief reflection on it.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. (NRSV)

Photo by Rivertracks

The first six words, "For God so loved the world," say something about you, dear reader. You are encompassed in this word world; humanity is the object of God's love. These words, which were spoken about 2,000 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean by the Messiah Jesus, bear witness that you are of deep interest to your Creator. You are loved by Him regardless of how you might feel about Him at any time.

The next six words, "that he gave his only Son," say something about God. He is not a monocrat or some distant overlord who weighs the scales and requires that you are good enough for Him. God is paternal in nature; He is one who graciously gives. He has given us His Son so that we might become the Son's sisters and brothers.

The last 15 words are, "so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." Jesus, the Son, tells us that the Father will give us eternal life in Paradise if we believe in Him. Sure, the devil and the fallen angels know the Son was incarnate, died, and rose again, but they will never have eternal life with us because Jesus is humanity's Redeemer! We bear good fruit because of our faith, and God will vindicate us for it on the last day.

John 3:16 is soteriology in a nutshell! Know it by heart because you can use at any time as a verse of refuge, as a shield, or even as one line of evangelism.

God bless you all.

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