Key Verse: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
WHAT A WONDERFUL expression of love is given in our Key Verse. To realize that God, the grand architect of the universe, provided his son to redeem mankind from the curse of sin and death, is truly a blessed thing to contemplate. The Greek word agape, which denotes charity or benevolence, is used to describe the type of love that our text speaks of, and which prompted God’s provision for man’s redemption. The expression, “his only begotten Son,” refers to Jesus from the very beginning of his existence. He was the only begotten Son of God from the time of his creation, but was not known as Jesus until he came to earth, having been made flesh. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) This “grace and truth,” we are told three verses later, “came by Jesus Christ.”
At the age of thirty, Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, which symbolized the full and complete consecration of himself to do the will of the Heavenly Father. “Straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:10,11) He was then begotten of the Holy Spirit, the power and influence of God. Following his death on the cross, God raised him from the dead and exalted him to “his own right hand.” (Eph. 1:20) During this entire time, Jesus was the only begotten Son of God.
The message of God’s plan for man’s salvation through his only begotten Son is contained in his Holy Word. The Apostle Paul tells us that through Christ’s blood, we have “redemption” and “the forgiveness of sins,” and that this is “according to the riches of [God’s] grace.” (Eph. 1:7) Paul further states: “In the dispensation of the fullness of times,” God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth.” (vs. 10) What a blessing it is to “comprehend … what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of God’s love, and to know “the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.”—Eph. 3:18,19
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) Only through the “ransom for all,” and the resulting imputation of the merit of the blood of Jesus upon the fallen race, can man be made acceptable to the Father and received again into his fellowship. (I Tim. 2:5,6) “All things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ.” (II Cor. 5:18) This reconciliation, or “atonement,” is the joint work and purpose of God and his Son. “We … joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”—Rom. 5:11
In due time, during the coming Messianic kingdom, mankind will have the opportunity to attain everlasting life on a restored, perfect earth. All in their graves will be awakened from the sleep of death. “The hour is coming, … when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”—John 5:25