Saturday, June 2, 2012

June 2, 2012 ~ What's in a Number?

For God
so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16


Numbers have always played an important part in my life (and I suppose most everyone’s life). “I’m 15 ½” I proudly stated as I anticipated getting my drivers permit. And then the magical number came: 16! I was able to drive at last. My world changed dramatically as I was now given bits of freedom with so many choices to make. Speed limits were numbers I respected because if I didn’t obey them, I would use my hard earned money to pay the traffic fines. Money numbers, adding to my account each week, were taken seriously, and I was careful to use my paychecks, a result of being able to finally drive, for gas, fun and clothes.

Recently a number came into my life in such a powerful way that it has knocked the breath out of me. 3:16. Max Lucado wrote a book called “3:16 - The Numbers of Hope” and it is more than I had expected. So much more. Of course I knew John 3:16. All Christians know it. But Max has taken it apart and brought me to my feet in celebration of God’s love and to my knees in appreciation of the gift of life, eternal life, in a way I had never experienced.

One of the first things Lucado does is remind the reader of the HOPE that John 3:16 offers. He writes: “He loves, He gave, We believe, We live.” Simple, yet in the words of this master storyteller, it struck me how many people do not believe. And never will believe. And never will live with God in eternity. But their lives do not just stop upon death.

People who don't believe in Christ will live in eternal hell (separation from God). It is as black and white as that. Modern times have sadly softened the gospel and talk about hell is almost taboo, like talking about politics at a two year olds birthday party. People don’t want to offend anyone with “religious talk.” I know of people who actually think that after death adults who are unsaved will be given a last opportunity to choose to believe in God. That is a falsehood from the enemy of God and one designed to make people not share the truth now. It is in life that our choice must be made.

We need to take hold of John 3:16 in a way like we never have before. It is “The Number of Hope!” What would we say to a person after their death if they were able to ask us why we didn’t share the truth about John 3:16? I shudder to think of missed opportunities on my part and pray that I never miss one again.

Memorize the 26 words of hope from John 3:16. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Be ready to share them in any way you feel is right and appropriate . . . at all times. Tim Tebow did it and so can we. I chose this version because it is the one I memorized when I was with Campus Crusade for Christ.

For God
so loved the world
that he gave His one and only Son,
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have
eternal life.
John 3:16

Bible has any version you like:

I don't make any money from my blog or from promoting this book by Lucado. It is an amazing, easy to read book and I enthusiastically recommend it to you. I found mine at a Goodwill store for under $3.00. A very good number!


Father, Thank You for loving me so much and giving me your Son so that I will experience life for eternity with You. Give me a gentle boldness to share the Good News about Jesus. May the Holy Spirit guide me in sharing John 3:16 and may I be sensitive to those who are seeking.

Trusting in Him,

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  1. I agree this is an amazing verse, however I realy don't like how you say "It is as black and white as that." I don't think anything is ever just 'black and white' and I belive my God is a loving God who judges people fairly, so if people haven't had the opertunity to know God, they won't automaticaly go to hell. I'm only saying I think God is complex and far greater than we can understand, and therefore I dont think his judgements are simply 'black and white'. Thanks, sorry, if tht was a long comment ;)

  2. What a wonderful commentary, Becky! Thank you! As for George's comment, I do agree that CHRISTIANS are only held accountable for the amount of Light that we have. However, Jesus did say that NO MAN (meaning mankind) comes to the Father except through Him. Romans, chapters one and two, tells us that men are WITHOUT EXCUSE when it comes to accepting the Lord because there is plenty of evidence in nature to convince men of His existence. God never sends anyone to hell--men send themselves to hell because of their own choice to be disobedient in refusing to accept Jesus as their Savior.

  3. It is a shame that people who have been brought up in anouther faith or as athiests, but are good people will go to hell though...

    1. George you have such compassion! I want to share these things with you to help you wrap your mind around what God says to us.

      “Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his own stubborn self-will, he chose to go his own independent way and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference,is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.” 4 Spiritual Laws –Campus Crusade for Christ

      God's Love
      "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever
      believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16, NIV).

      God's Plan
      [Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly"
      [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).
      Man is Sinful
      "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

      Man Is Separated
      "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).

      He Died In Our Place
      "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners,
      Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

      He Rose from the Dead
      "Christ died for our sins... He was buried... He was raised on the third day,
      according to the Scriptures... He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.
      After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

      He Is the Only Way to God
      "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life, no one comes to
      the Father but through Me'" (John 14:6).

      We Must Receive Christ
      "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children
      of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12).

      George, an atheist once asked me why "my loving God would not allow her into heaven" and I replied "Why would you want to be there if you don't believe in Him?"

    2. Thank you :)

      But does this mean it's possible to get to heaven through Jesus, without realising how you got there? What I mean is... Can someone follow in Jesus's loving footsteps and therefore 'come to the Father' through Jesus, without ever hearing his name or learning of his great sacrifice?

  4. George, it is up to God to make sure everyone hears the Good News. I personally believe we have a hole or vacuum in our hearts that wants to be filled. God is the only one who can satisfy this. If you are referring to native tribes in a remote jungle that have had no outside human contact, all they need to do is look about them and in the sky to see the stars, moon and sun and all of nature to realize their must be a creator. I believe God, who is both Holy and loving, will take care of this as only He can do. Does this make sense and am I answering your question? We all call on the name of Jesus when we get saved but some people may not ever hear his name. God is fair and that is what is most important to know.

  5. So people can be saved if they beleive a God must exist, even if they don't call him Jesus?

    And thx, I allways ask allot of questions... ;)

  6. Questions are good George. I am not a theologian, but a woman who loves the Lord with all her heart. I will share the best I am capable of.

    JESUS is the only way to salvation.

    "Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6

    What I was saying that God's Holiness, justice and love will make sure every human on the planet will be given a choice to accept Jesus as their Savior. If there are some people who have never ever heard of Jesus, that is where I believe God will step in and show them the Truth in a way we do not understand. But His love will never say "too bad, you didn't believe in Jesus" when they had never even heard about Him. That is why missionaries travel the globe, sharing the Good News!

    For now, the point is we do know and we must share the Truth with anyone that is seeking and listening and searching. <3