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“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of
man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have
eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that
whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world
through him might be saved. He who believes in him is not condemned; but he
who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the
name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the
light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,
because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and
does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does
the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have
been done in God” (John 3:14-21).

God, our heavenly Father, loved the world enough to sacrifice His only begotten Son.
Every person, whether saint or sinner, whether law-abiding or criminal, whether
normal or a pervert, was loved enough by God in heaven for Him to make the
preparations and preserve in the offering of His Son as the perfect sacrifice for sin.
When the fiery serpents were attacking Israel in the wilderness, Moses was instructed
to make a brass serpent and mount it upon a staff so that those who looked upon it
might live (see Numbers 21). In much the same way, the Son of man when lifted up
upon the cross would provide the healing of the soul, the forgiveness of sin, for those
who would look upon Him in faith.

Those who believe in Him should not perish. He did not say, shall not perish, but
should not. There are many things that should be done that shall not be done.
Should connotes a conditional position, shall connotes a necessity of action. The
salvation Jesus speaks to Nicodemus of here is conditional.

Jesus told Nicodemus earlier: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again,
he cannot see the kingdom of God … Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is
born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born
of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Do not marvel that I
said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear
the sound of it, but cannot tell where it come from and where it goes. So is everyone
who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:3-8).

The necessity to see and enter the kingdom is to be “born again.” This birth is “of
water and the Spirit.” It is one birth that Jesus speaks of – birth of the water and birth
of the Spirit are one and the same thing.

Where is the water in the gospel? Baptism. Where is the Spirit found in the gospel?
The giving of the word. When someone responds to the teaching of the word and is
baptized they are born again. That is what those on Pentecost did (Acts 2), what the
Samaritans did (Acts 8), what Cornelius did (Acts 10,11), what the Ethiopian Eunuch
did (Acts 8), what the Philippians did (Acts 16), what the Ephesians did (Acts 19),
what Lydia did (Acts ), and what Saul did (Acts 9 & 22).

God did not send His Son to condemn the world, the world had already condemned
itself by its sin. Jesus came to save the world from its sin. He came as a light to show
the world the way out of its darkness of sin and ignorance. But, too many are
unwilling to allow their sins to come to light; they would rather walk and live in
darkness.

There are those who refuse to believe in the power of the only begotten Son of God.
That is their condemnation. They love the darkness of sin, and refuse to allow their
deeds to be brought to light. They hate the ways of righteousness and the light.
But, there are also those who love the light. They love the truth. They love
righteousness. They will hear the gospel and believe.

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For God So Loved
John 3:14-21