Big Hill Bible Studies
24 April 2018
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not sent the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." - John 3:16-17 (NASB)
Let's continue our study of John 3:16-17 by picking up where we left of yesterday. We covered, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him. . ." Today, I'd like to address the rest of verse 16, "shall not perish, but have eternal life."
If you are reading from a King James Version of Scripture, John 3:16 states, " . . .that whosoever believeth in him should not perish. . ." The same is true if you read the ESV. This brings up the question does "should" and "shall" mean the same thing? No, they do not. "Should" indicates a conditional situation, while "shall" indicates a certainty. When you go to the original Greek you will find neither "should" nor "shall" is used. The translation reads, "All believing in him not perish but have without end life." Did the translators put these in just for the sentence to flow? Some commentators speak of the absolute negative "ook" use of the word "may" which speaks of a qualified person. They contend this indicates "should" is the proper word to use.
When in doubt, dig. Scripture will not contradict itself. Let's look to a few other scripture references for help. And to be extra cautious, I'll quote all these passages from the KJV.
Acts 15:11 > "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved."
Acts 16:31 > "And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved, and thy house."
Romans 10:9 > "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."
Ephesians 1:13-14 > "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."
In each of these passages I see a certainty of salvation in belief. The belief in God's love and His grace. The belief in His Son, sent to show the Father's love and atone for our sins by the shedding of His blood to cover them. The belief in His conquering of death and promise of an eternity spent with Him. It seems to me the promise is sealed. I can not find a passage that supports a conditional salvation for the believer. We cannot earn our salvation, see 2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 3:5, and Ephesians 2:8. It does not make sense to me that if I call on the name of the Lord, believe in Him as my Lord and Savior, and live a life of obedience to His commands because I love Him that my salvation would still be conditional. Let me know what you think.