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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

THE WORLD THROUGH HIM MIGHT BE SAVED

John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. (See John 3:18-21)

The explanation of the coming of God's kingdom to Nicodemus continues with the lesson text. Jesus had just revealed to him that, in order for this kingdom to be established it was necessary for the Messiah, the Son of God, to descend from heaven. Only a spiritual being could explain the spiritual nature of this kingdom. Therefore, it was necessary for God's Son to descend from His heavenly home, take on the form of an earthly man, reveal to the world God's plan of eternal life available to those that obeyed His word by experiencing a new birth through baptism, and then ascend back into heaven. In order to explain the saving power of Christ Jesus, He uses an Old Testament example that assuredly was known by a knowledgeable Jewish leader such as Nicodemus. Referring to Numbers 21:4-9, Jesus reminded him of the circumstances that led to Moses constructing a fiery serpent of brass. When fashioned, Moses lifted it up on a pole in the midst of the Jewish people, by which they would be saved from sure death. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.

Jesus explained to Nicodemus, and to all generations since that time, that just as these Israelites, once bitten by a serpent, were healed by looking upon the brazen serpent that had been lifted up among them, so the world, that is lost in sin, must look to Jesus for eternal salvation. He was the promised Messiah, the Son of God that died for the sins of mankind when He was lifted up and suffered death on the cross of Calvary. This was God's promise: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. And why did He do this? In order to fulfill His promise to Abraham and all generations before and after him (Gen. 12:3), because 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. God created the world, and the universe it is in, when time began. He created the animals and vegetation that was to live on earth. Then He created man and woman, gave them an eternal soul, and also gave them the responsibility to care for His creation. Then He, being a loving Heavenly Father, established His plan for the salvation of mankind through His Son, Jesus Christ, and made it available to all men and women that became His children through baptism into His kingdom, and remained good, faithful stewards of all He entrusted to them in the world He created.

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 (Vs. 18). To "believe on Him," is to, by faith, accept Him as the Son of God, the promised Savior of the world, and trust in every word He uttered during His ministry on earth - to completely, and confidently, rely on His God-given mission in bringing the hope of eternal salvation to all that obediently follow His commandments recorded by His faithful, Holy Spirit-inspired apostles. If this were the only passage that revealed Jesus as the Son of God, one could assume that believing Him to be Christ the Savior, was the all-sufficient commandment to inherit eternal life. However, we know that believing on Him requires us to believe ALL of His commandments. And, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God, another disciple of Christ recorded this expanded commandment that He uttered: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16). One's belief must result in complete submission to His will - to be born again of water, and of the Spirit, as it was revealed to Nicodemus. Indeed, not only belief is necessary, but also repentance and baptism for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38) is also required, as well as one's confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-37).

These verses enlighten us with God's truth that Jesus Christ is the Savior, as well as the acts of obedience that are required for us to enter the kingdom of God - the church of Christ. Do we love the light that came into the world in Christ Jesus, or do we love the darkness of Satan's evil deceit (See Vss. 19-21)?