Perhaps the most popular verse in all of modern Bible-based (i.e. evangelical, fundamental Protestant) Christianity is John 3:16. For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Small wonder … consider that this verse when lifted from the context of scripture implies not general atonement – as many claim – but rather universalism. So, this text – again when taken out of context – is perfect for the self centered, self indulgent libertine modern mindset where one insists upon receiving any and all benefits without any notion of responsibility or sacrifice. In a modern world where the most important word or concept is not “God” (meaning the true One of the Bible) but rather “rights” this should not surprise anyone.
But Romans 12:1-2 tells us to stand against and apart from this worldly thinking. 2 Corinthians 10:5 exhorts us to reject all false ideas, philosophies and theologies that magnify themselves against God’s revelation. The problem is not John 3:16, which is magnificent and beautiful as is all of God’s Word, but instead what hard hearted, stiff necked men have done with it. So, discerning Christians should seek to set themselves right by putting John 3:16 in its proper context.
A quick way to do it is with John 14:15. If ye love me, keep my commandments. Now why isn’t THAT verse more popular? We already know the reason. Taking John 3:16 out of context allows the person to retain the false idea: “It is all about ME! It is all about ME getting THE BENEFITS THAT ARE COMING TO ME! Why? BECAUSE I AM SPECIAL!” (The motto of the popular VeggieTales series: God made you special and He loves you very much.) But John 14:15 creates obligation. It creates responsibility. And the obligation and responsibility is not to LOVE YOURSELF. It is not to BE TRUE TO YOURSELF. It is not TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART. It is not to MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE. It is not to BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Instead, that responsibility is to someone other than yourself. It removes YOU from being the center of the universe and puts it on someone else! It takes YOU from being the object of glory, wonder, service and worship and makes redirects that focus to the One who actually merits it!
Little wonder that men want to see themselves, see the world, see the Bible that way. Satan himself was no different. Isaiah 14:13-14 stated that this creation of God desired to stand in the place of God and receive the worship that was due to God. In Matthew 4:9, Satan even attempted to get Jesus Christ, the One by and for all things were made and the sustainer of all things, to give him this worship! And Paul also wrote in Romans 1:25 that man in his fallen condition redirects worship from the Creator to the creature, and this includes man himself, who is but a creature.
But with John 14:15, it is not so easy to do that. It is not so easily to take the words of John 14:15 out of context. If ye love me, keep my commandments tells us that while grace is free, it is not cheap, for we were bought with a price. John 14:15 tells us to be not deceived, we have a Creator, Lord, Ruler and Judge to who wholly owns us, and to whom alone we must answer. John 14:15 is what informs us the truth of James 2:20, which is that faith without works is dead. Yes, many of the more liberal persuasion attempt to abuse James 2:20 to mean acts of charity and political and government action on behalf of certain people, but interpreting James 2:20 in light of John 14:15 makes that impossible, because the commandments of Jesus Christ are not limited to the things that we want to do because of our politics or any other reason, but instead consist of the whole counsel of God!
Do not be deceived. Or let it be said that if you are deceived, it is your responsibility, for you are deceiving yourself concerning this matter. John 14:15 states clearly that if you love Jesus Christ, you must keep His commandments. This means that if you do not keep the commandments of Jesus Christ, then you do not love Jesus Christ. Is it possible to come to any other conclusion when John 14:15 is so direct and clear, consisting of 7 mere words?
So, because of John 14:15, the “world” spoken of in John 3:16 that God the Father sent God the Son to save can be divided into two types of people: those who love God and those who do not. The former are in that category because they keep His commandments. The latter are in their category because they do not. Counted among the latter category are the many goats who say that they believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, who call upon the Name of Jesus Christ and do many great works in that Name, who claim that they are born again believers, but are liars. The reason is that these people testify of Jesus Christ with their lips, but their actions reveal that they are far from Jesus Christ. Their verbal testimony, no matter how eloquent and stirring, is vacuous because the testimony of their actions deny Jesus Christ. And as Jesus Christ said of these goats who honor Him with their words of false testimomy but whose hearts dishonor Him because of their disobedience (Matthew 15:8) in Matthew 25:31-46, their fate will be eternity in the lake of fire.
And why should it be any other way? If you do not love God, then why should you receive any good thing from Him? Why should God reward those who hate Him with good things? (Because if you do not love Him, do you not hate Him?) The self-absorbed, narcissist modern mindset will tell you that God must reward those based merely on their verbally pledging allegiance to God as if He is some perishable flag. They think that by claiming to be a Christian, they are doing God a favor. But actually altering their lifestyle, changing their mindset, becoming a new creation, being crucified with Christ, dying to self: that is as far from them as is the east from the west. Since it is all about them, they are convinced that God should reward His ENEMIES with eternal life merely because they CLAIM to be His friends and no more! And that is why they abuse John 3:16, Romans 10:8-9 and a host of other Bible texts. Those of us who protest and object are called legalists, bigots, narrow-minded, anti-intellectual or some other name and dismissed.
But John 14:15 is still in the Bible. John 14:15 still has meaning. And on judgment day, this fact will be proven when only the John 14:15 Christians will enter New Jerusalem.
Do you wish to avoid the horrible eternal punishment that will be given to sinners and instead join Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem? If so, then please read and follow: