John 3: 16 “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.” Appears on the billboards of Christian Churches across the globe.
Those who accept the Trinity and those who understand the expression “only begotten Son” as a direct reference to the separateness of the two.
The Apostle John is often quoted as the source of the Trinitarian doctrine, however, when I first read Alexander Hislop’s “The Two Babylons” it took moments to realize that this doctrine was adopted from Eastern Religions in the 4th Century AD.
Jesus is clearly identified by the Apostle as the Son of God and he comes in the role of the “Son of Man” why?
Well, John explains in the following verses John 3: 17 “For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him.18 Whoever exercises faith in him is not to be judged. Whoever does not exercise faith has been judged already, because he has not exercised faith in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.” How we acknowledge Jesus’ role in God’s purpose for humankind explains what outcome we can expect.
Faith in what? Verse 14 clearly helps us to understand his role “14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of man must be lifted up,15 so that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life.”
The copper serpent in the wilderness was raised and those afflicted by the plague affecting the nation were required to look at the serpent, understanding that this would provide relief. What a simple message – look at the figure and you’ll be healed. But is that what was required? No those Israelites had to believe that the serpent would be used by Jehovah God to heal them, restore their relationship with him.
So how is the sacrifice of Jesus’ life like that serpent? Jesus was raised up before the world as the ransom for humankind, our sin and our separation from God. So those looking at Christ would have to recognise that specific role, he is the ransom the price paid for our sins.
Is it too much to ask?
As restrictions are lifted surrounding COVID19 we see many reactions, some describing it as liberating, others saying it is irresponsible but insisting on their rights. Recently, going into a retail outlet I was asked to wear a mask, I complied because it made others comfortable and there wasn’t any ventilation at the back of the shop. The person who followed me in refused to comply and the shop owner refuse to let the person in.
Was it too much to ask the person who refused to wear a mask and use a hand sanitiser to follow the infection control measures? Not at all! All of the circumstances taken into account the shop owner was thinking of everyone.
Now when Jehovah God made the provision for us to be reconciled to him he required that we acknowledge his Son Jesus, he stipulated we had to extend our faith to include the value of Jesus’ sacrifice because through it we are potentially in line for salvation. Nothing complex in that.
Through our faith in the value of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, we are demonstrating that we exercise faith in God’s Kingdom and the opportunity for salvation.
Ensuring we acknowledge that the son exists in his own right and is not a person in the trinity is essential. Note the words of John 17: 3 This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.4 I have glorified you on the earth, having finished the work you have given me to do.5 So now, Father, glorify me at your side with the glory that I had alongside you before the world was. and again in verse 25 Righteous Father, the world has, indeed, not come to know you, but I know you, and these have come to know that you sent me.26 I have made your name known to them and will make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in union with them.”
Jehovah God gave credit to his son for the gift of the ransom that Jesus gave therefore, God raised him up, accepted the value of his sacrifice and by our personal faith in that ransom sacrifice we can live and enjoy a relationship with our heavenly father.
So 1 John 5: 3 “For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome,4 because everyone who has been born from God conquers the world. And this is the conquest that has conquered the world, our faith.”
The conclusion is that “those who believeth in him” will gain everlasting life because God raised Jesus to be the symbol of salvation in our modern wilderness, the only means we have to exercise faith in Jehovah God is to acknowledge the role of his son who became the “Son of Man” to give his life as a ransom in exchange for many.
Is it reasonable to ask that we continue to search for what we know and understand about Jesus, separating him from the Godhead of false Christianity? “Know the truth and the truth will set you free”.
For an extended discussion on the role of the ransom download a copy of Enjoy Life Forever