The illustration above is of a statue by August Rodin a French artist.
It shows us man in deep thought, which unfortunately the great majority of people that “Go to Church” (which is a complete misunderstanding of what the church is), never do.
Most people are not encouraged to investigate in their own bibles whether the doctrine of the church they go to is actually true, or even biblical. Wouldn’t it be wise to not just accept what they are saying without investigation? Today you just get a generic statement, “just believe and you will be saved”. But what do you actually believe? Think!
We are trying to help you in that journey to true salvation.
John 3:16 explained
The problem with John 3:16 being used as a single verse for salvation is that the verse is completely taken out of the context of a longer conversation between Jesus and A pharisee named Nicodemus. It would be well for us to investigate the context.
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, — named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus is a man sent from God because he sees the miracles, but Jesus uses this as a lead into the real purpose of the conversation for him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
Nicodemus is puzzled by Jesus’ response as his appreciation is a natural one, not a spiritual one. Jesus then goes on to add more information to Nicodemus’ dilemma.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
These verses make a lot more sense in the original language (Greek) because they would have been much more easily understood. However Jesus was telling Nicodemus something that he had obviously either not read at all, or had read it and not understood. The Old Testament does give clues to what Jesus was saying. The old English of the King James Version (KJV) doesn’t help in today’s world either. Sadly nor do any of the modern translations, and in fact most modern translations tend to diminish the importance of what Jesus is saying.
to be born again as expressed in the scriptures in Greek is to be begotten or born from above. This then is not a natural birth, but a spiritual rebirth
This is the only place in the New Testament that the Greek word “pneuma” is translated as “wind”. There is no logical reason for that to happen other than the translators misunderstood the intent of the verse
In the Genitive case, “spirituality”, 1
With “hagion” (holy) = Holy Spirit”, 4;
In a total of 385 times in the KJV the word “Pneuma” is used, it has only been translated “wind” one time.
We would have to ask why?
Hear the Sound
“Sound” comes from the Greek word “phone” which is more related to the English word “voice” rather than just a sound
“pneo” to breathe, or a soft breath , not the wind as we understand wind, more of a living creature’s breath. In this case it is the Holy Spirit breathing
“thélo”. To will, wish, desire, implying active volition and purpose.
We see in this word that this breath is not without purpose or direction, but actually has both purpose and direction
A Better Rendering
The Holy Spirit breathes where he wants to with a purpose in mind, but you can not tell where that breath comes from or goes to. However, you will hear the voice of the Spirit even though you don’t know and cannot see where it comes from or goes to, but every one that has the Spirit breathe upon them will be able to utter the voice of the Spirit. (See acts 2:4)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And we end up here, which is the go to verse for many people. The problem with that is, it does not save you.
Simply believing in jesus is not ever going to save you.
Jesus said “if you love me (believe) keep my commandments (sayings)”. The word of god (bible) says a lot of things, and taken together those things will point you to salvation. You just need to know where to look.
The in Between
Jesus continues the conversation with Nicodemus and asks him some questions, and points out a few things that he should know and understand, which he obviously does not, but that lack of understanding is quite general even in today’s world. The whole dialog goes through to verse 21 and verse 16 is just one statement in a conversation. What is important is that Jesus is clearly telling Nicodemus that there is more to this than just simply believing and that Jesus is pointing to the day of pentecost when the Holy Spirit was poured out for the very first time on mankind in general.
The real question is, what are you believing when you try to use John 3:16 to justify your salvation. Because if you just believe that Jesus lives and existed then you are a long way from being saved. So many churches and people try to take the easy way out, but the only way is to do it God’s way and that requires that you don’t just acknowledge Jesus’ existence but actually do something that you are told to do in Acts 2:38 which answers your question.
15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
Since the day of Pentecost nothing has changed. Peter told the people what they had to do to be saved, and that is still the way things need to be done.
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Please ask yourself why you have a problem with this. It is the Word of God and still applies today just as it did on the day of pentecost. As a group of believers we have all experienced the result of being obedient to this very verse.
Ask yourself this question. Why would God save people a multitude of different ways and cause confusion amongst His Churches. Wouldn’t that create division? Is this a God that you can trust? One that causes conflict and division? There is only one that causes that sort of behavior, and it is not God!