Three Sixteen

By Royce Frederick

If someone mentions chapter 3 verse 16, what book of the Bible do you think of first? Most people who study the Bible would probably think of the book of John. But many important teachings in the New Testament are located at 3:16. Here are some of them.

The LOVE of GOD — John 3:16. This one is the most famous. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This verse tells of God’s sacrificial love for us, and each person’s right to choose eternal life. If our eternal salvation depended only on God’s love alone, the entire world would be saved. But this verse also mentions our response to God’s love. Each person is free to accept salvation by believing, or reject salvation by disbelieving. Other verses show us that the word “believes” includes obeying the commands of Jesus. Faith which saves is obedient faith (Js. 2:17-24; Gal. 5:6; Jn. 12:42; Mk. 16:16; Gal. 3:26-27).

The LOVE of JESUS — I John 3:16. This verse is a unique sequel to the first verse. John 3:16 is a message to the lost about the love of God in giving His Son. 1 John 3:16 is a message to the saved about the love of Jesus in giving His own life: “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” The unselfish love of Christ ought to motivate Christians to love each other unselfishly.

The LOVE of CHRISTIANS — Revelation 3:16. Jesus warned the Christians at Laodicea: “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.” This verse clearly teaches that it is possible for a saved person to turn away from Christ and be lost eternally (see 1 Cor. 9:27; Heb. 3:12-14). Many people readily obey the gospel and serve Christ with zeal for awhile. But troubles and cares of this world begin to cool the love of some until it is only lukewarm. Christ does not accept that kind of “love.” But He is not willing to disregard such persons as long as there is still hope that they will renew their love for Him. He told the Laodiceans, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (Rev. 3:19).

The TEMPLE of GOD — 1 Corinthians 3:16. To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” The Jewish temple in Jerusalem was built by Solomon, rebuilt by Ezra, and rebuilt again by Herod. But today, God’s temple is not a physical building in Jerusalem (see Jn. 4:21-24). The temple of God is His church. God dwells in the church by dwelling in each Christian (1 Cor. 6:19-20).