In spite of its popularity, the majority of people who can recite John 3:16 don't really know what it means. As far as man's part, one must have a PRESENT TENSE belief in Jesus so he will have eternal life and won't perish. As with all other salvation teachings delivered by the Lord Jesus, there must be harmony to assure a proper understanding. Only if that exists can one be sure he has truth. At other times, the Lord Jesus taught we would have to repent or we would perish (Lk. 13:3,5). Hence, to believe on Jesus for salvation, as we read in John 3:16, must include repentance (which means to turn away from wickedness). Also, the real believe meaning is to OBEY. If one isn't obeying, he isn't believing in Jesus Christ in the sense of John 3:16.
John 3:16 (or the God so loved the world verse) is a favorite Scripture for many, but does it infer once saved always saved? In fact, if a professing Bible-believer knows just a handful of verses, one that he probably knows is John 3:16, especially as it reads from the KJV or NIV!
The Popular John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)For Godso loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Furthermore, since the actual Greek tense of believe in John 3:16 is a present tense, it therefore, applies only to those who are presently, at this time, meeting that condition for salvation. It has nothing to do with a person who was saved in the past, but is now no longer believing on or following Jesus! Once saved always saved cannot be inferred. NOTE: Jesus taught it is possible to believe for a while and stop believing when tested (Luke 8:13)! That is important to know. Other verses also show one's saving faith can be destroyed (2 Tim. 2:18) and become shipwrecked (1 Tim. 1:19). A Christian must CONTINUE IN FAITH or be cut off (Rom. 11:19-22)! A person who stopped believing is not referred to in John 3:16 anymore, even though that verse did apply when he previously had a saving faith. Backsliders need to get saved again, as the Prodigal son did (Lk. 15:24). There definitely is no once saved always saved.
James 2 also helps us better understand John 3:16 by contrasting a saving faith in Jesus (which has good works with it) to the worthless faith of demons (which disobeys God) and cannot save. That is important to know, because there are many who profess salvation and claim to believe on Jesus but are living in sexual sin, hatred, unforgiveness, greed, witchcraft, lying, etc. yet wrongly think they are mentioned in John 3:16. They clearly are NOT. All they have is a false hope and misunderstanding of believe. They don't know to believe on Jesus is the same as obeying him. It is not mental assent to historical facts that he lived, died on a cross and rose again. Jesus also taught this:
More on The Saving Faith of John 3:16My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice. (Luke 8:21)Unless your understanding of John 3:16 equals the same message Jesus declared about salvation in Luke 8:21, you have been misled somehow. If that is the case, please revise your understanding of John 3:16. Here are additional truths:Those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. (John 5:29)The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Mat 13:41-43)All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. (Mat 10:22)But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Mat 10:33)Someone asked him, "Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?" He said to them, "Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to." (Luke 13:23,24)
The plan of salvation is vital to know, but a major hindrance to this is false teachers. They are usually religious fluent speakers in our day, who can appear sincere and know how to attract a crowd in one way or another, but deny the types of truths which will bring about the Bible-defined new creation resulting with freedom from sin addictions and peace with God. Be on your guard. Go by the Bible as final authority. Remember, your SOUL is your most valuable possession and there are more verses on salvation than just John 3:16, which help to explain that popular passage.
God So Loved The World But Do YOU Love Him
No One Can Pluck Them (John 10:28)
Your Approaching Death
The Antichrist, False Prophet and Mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:1-18)
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