For God so loved the world that He gave His only 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.
I'm glad that you quoted that scripture because its one of my favorites. Most people rattle it off and concentrate on the first part as if the second part does not exist.
God "loved the world"
(humanity) so much that "he gave his only Son"
so that they might have "everlasting life".
But we first have to understand what it means to "believe" in the son. If James says that "the demons believe and shudder"
, (James 2:19) how are we to understand what this 'belief' is? If our belief does not move us to action as disciples of Christ, (living as Christians 24/7) then as James says..."a man is to be declared righteous by works and not by faith alone"
.....why? because "just as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
God is going to save people with a living faith that is demonstrated by works. He is not going to save everyone, especially not those who exercise no faith at all.
To be honest, even those who profess a faith in the Lord, may come to disappointment. (Matthew 7:21-23) Unless they are "doing the will of the Father"
, Jesus will reject them.
1 Peter 4:17 says...
"For it is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God. Now if it starts first with us, what will the outcome be for those who are not obedient to the good news of God? 18 “And if the righteous man is being saved with difficulty, what will happen to the ungodly man and the sinner?”
The second part of that verse in John 3:16 is...."whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
So it means to exercise
our faith, not just to have a belief
in Jesus Christ. If you "have" a dog, that is not the same as "exercising" the dog.....so it is with faith...its not stationary nor stagnant but alive, active and progressive.
What do we make of the word "perish" in that verse? It seems that people skip over that bit....but the reality is, humans will be granted either "everlasting life" or they will "perish".
According to Strongs, the word "perish" in Greek is "apollymi
" which means ......
- to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin
- render useless
- to kill
- to declare that one must be put to death".
These are opposite outcomes.....this is life or death...plain and simple, according to my understanding of the scriptures.