John Piper Preaches John 3:16

Dr. John Piper just completed a two-part series of sermons on John 3:16, and I hope a lot of people will take time to listen to these. Folks often wonder how a Calvinist handles texts like John 3:16 and the other “world” passages in scripture. These sermons are exemplary (in my view) of how Calvinists ought to handle them. Among other things, Piper says this:

‘We may, therefore, say to every human being, “God loves you. And this is how he loves you: He gave his Son to die, so that if you would believe, your sins would be forgiven and you would have eternal life.”

That is what the love of God means and promises and does in John 3:16. And that’s why this verse has been so amazingly blessed of God over the centuries in bringing people to Christ and to salvation. It expresses what we love to call the free offer of the gospel. There are no limits to this offer: It goes out to all people of every ethnic group and every age and every socio-economic category and, best of all, to every degree of sinner—from the bad to the worst. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever”—indiscriminate and universal—“believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ‘ -“God So Loved the World – Part 2”

God So Loved the World – Part 1

God So Loved the World – Part 2

43 Responses to John Piper Preaches John 3:16

  1. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 8:50 am #

    “These sermons are exemplary (in my view) of how Calvinists ought to handle them.”

    Don’t you mean how Christians should handle them?

  2. Jeff Brown May 12, 2009 at 9:24 am #

    Right on!!!

  3. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 10:33 am #

    It’s unfortunate that this post insinuates that there are those who would not see the universal offer of the gospel in the Scriptures. The bible speaks for itself in many places (Romans chapter 10 for ex.) that the offer of the gospel is universal and that all who believe will be saved. Too bad there are some who want to debate that the “world” doesn’t mean the world and that “whosoever” doesn’t mean anyone.

    When they do that they disparage the gospel because they forget that they were once the “world” and the “whosoever” before they were saved and realized they were part of the elect.

  4. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    Nathan, only those who are called can respond. God offers His salvation to all people, but only calls/elects certain people. On our own, we would all reject Him and not believe. So, it’s quite the opposite of what you say: those who recognize that God calls some and not others recognize that the elect aren’t anything special in themselves, but it’s only by the grace of God that we are called “elect.”

    We don’t know who is called, so we preach the Gospel to all, hoping that some of God’s “people” (as He put it to Paul in Corinth) will hear the Good News and believe.

  5. David Rogers May 12, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    The Calvinist “gospel” is that God says that he “loves” all but only acts to save some and refuses to act to save others (or chooses to condemn some of those who have no ability to save themselves).

  6. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 11:26 am #

    Darius: I think you are missing the point of what I was trying to convey.

    Your last paragraph is what I was inferring. My point is that there are some who would not give a clarion call to all, falsely assuming that the gospel itself is not a message to all.

    As I said, “all who believe will be saved.” I preach to all realizing that God saves who He wills. But I preach a gospel that is available to all who will believe. I will not attempt to determine the elect of God when I give a clarion call to believe in gospel and trust in Jesus by grace through faith. That message, as John 3:16 states, is for all who will believe.

    If there are those who do not believe the gospel is available to all who will believe, then they are attempting to discern who the elect are before they actually get saved. That was my point and I do think it is unfortuate that this is the case for some.

  7. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Okay, thanks for the clarification, Nathan. I’m not sure though that I know of anyone who is trying to discern who is elect before they get saved. If one has a proper understanding of election, one knows that it has nothing to do with any particular qualities inherent in the elect.

    I haven’t had time to listen to Piper’s videos yet, does he indicate that and if so, in which one?

    David, how do you handle Romans 9? Or Joshua 11:20?

  8. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 11:37 am #

    And I would add that I would never preach what David just wrote. (David: I am not saying that you would).

    I preach the gospel is available to all who will believe that Jesus is Son of God who died for their sins and has been raised from the dead and will save anyone who places their faith in Him. Those who refuse are judged already because they did not believe in Christ (Jn 3:18).

  9. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Darius: There a quite a few who would say passages with “world” or “whosover” only refer to the elect, that they do not mean what they say.

  10. David Rogers May 12, 2009 at 11:40 am #

    Is what I said the Calvinist “gospel” or is it not?

    If it is not what Calvinists believe then please clarify how my statement is inaccurate.

    If it is, then it is what they believe and stating it that way is only honest to their beliefs.

    Answering Romans 9 and Joshua 11:20 in the small confines of a text box would take far too much time. You are welcome to think that I am copping out (and I’m not saying that you will think that), but I will give due consideration to examining the passages for myself and seeing how I would respond in a format where I could fully express my thoughts.

    David

  11. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 11:44 am #

    “Darius: There a quite a few who would say passages with “world” or “whosover” only refer to the elect, that they do not mean what they say.”

    Oh, definitely, and I would be one of them (at least, to some degree). But I don’t understand how you then make the jump to claiming that those who affirm the above would try to determine who is elect before preaching the gospel. I don’t see how that logically follows. Please explain.

  12. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 11:57 am #

    First, the Greek does not mean “elect.” Granted, at the end of the day, those who actually are saved are the elect, but only God knows who they were prior to their confession of Christ. So, I will not preach the gospel to the “elect” believing God will save them. I preach the gospel to “all” believing God will save the elect.

    By that I mean I will not attempt to convey in my gospel call that the word “world” really means “elect,” nor will I state that “whosoever,” is really only the elect. Those who believe will prove that to be true.

    In my opinion to do otherwise disparages the gospel.

  13. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    I should add that I would never preach that some have no hope of salvation. I am not the Judge of Mankind.

  14. Nathan May 12, 2009 at 12:02 pm #

    And before you respond I have already stated that those who refuse the gospel are judged already. So I did not mean I would not preach judgment for those who refuse to heed the call of the gospel.

  15. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 12:05 pm #

    I guess I don’t see much of a problem with David’s comment. It seems pretty accurate (even if it is loaded with a tone :)).

    It all comes back to having an all-encompassing reading of Scripture. Is the salvation of people the end goal, or is it just the means to a much greater end; namely, the glorification of God? If salvation of mankind is the ultimate goal, then God appears to be rather impotent in that regard (unless we adopt a pluralistic, everyone-will-go-to-heaven view). But if saving mankind is just a means to a much greater end, and God, while loving the whole world, is primarily working on the glory and praise of the Triune God, then election makes a lot of sense.

    Ultimately, I can’t say it any better than Paul… What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory…

  16. David Rogers May 12, 2009 at 12:07 pm #

    Oh, what the hey . . .

    Here are some brief introductory comments.

    Romans 9 must be read in the context of the entire rhetorical flow of Romans 9-11 which must also be read in context with the rhetorical flow of the entire book. The statements in Romans 9 must not be isolated from their purpose in Paul’s rhetoric for the larger point which he reveals in Romans 11 which is that current appearances of hardening and rejection are not the entire story.

    Joshua 11:16-20 functions as a summary statement. I think one should exercise some caution in mining this as a comprehensive philosophical proof describing how God sovereignly determines the choices of human beings. Could this have been a judicial hardening stemming from their own rebellion against the revelation of common grace working in coordination with the sovereign purpose of cleansing the land? The passage does not approach that question it only summarizes what the final result was. Also, the question of individual salvation is not addressed specifically here, the passage only deals with corporate historical judgement of a people.

    David

  17. David Rogers May 12, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Yes, there is a “tone”.

    😉

    My purpose of adding the tone is an attempt to force a recognition of the implications of what the Calvinist gospel actually teaches. I have heard many verbal obfuscations made by some Calvinists that do not clearly take the logical implications of the Calvinist statements out to their necessary conclusions. (I’m not saying that you, Darius T, have done thusly.) The Calvinists who do so have done so in the face of groups who do not seem to understand what the Calvinist position actually is. I heard one prominent Calvinist be rather vague, and I think disingenuous, in describing the Calvinist position and its implications. (I will decline to name him so as to avoid a firestorm.)

    As I understand Calvinism, it cannot avoid the implication of God having two “wills” with regard to the lost. He says he “loves” all (i.e. the world) but only selectively secretly loves those he has chosen and does not and will not do anything toward saving some of the lost.

    David

  18. Andrew Cowan May 12, 2009 at 12:46 pm #

    David,

    You are certainly right that Calvinists want to affirm the idea of two wills in God. In light of the biblical evidence, I find it hard not to affirm this notion. John Piper has an excellent article about this at the Desiring God website (just search for “two wills” in the website search box). He explains how the concept of two wills in God applies not only to lost people but also to sin, as is displayed climactically in the death of his Son (certainly at one level God did not “will” the evil murder of his perfect beloved Son, but, for the sake of what it accomplishes, in another sense it was precisely what God “willed”). The range of biblical evidence that he cites in this article is very impressive. Reproducing the whole argument here would obviously be really foolish, but I commend the article to you. I found it really helpful in wrestling with these issues.

  19. Darius T May 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm #

    David, what Andrew said is pretty on target.

    If God does not have two “wills” (a specific will and a general will), then why does He fail or neglect to save some? After all, 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that He is not willing that anyone should perish. And Paul reminds us in Romans 9 that no one can resist God’s will. So if it’s His will that no one should perish, and He only has one will, then He seems rather weak at carrying out that will.

  20. David Rogers May 12, 2009 at 3:51 pm #

    Thanks for the reference to Piper’s article. I’ll examine it.

    David

  21. Ferg Breen May 12, 2009 at 8:38 pm #

    Why do i continue to read this stuff???

  22. Nuno Fonseca May 13, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    John Piper is clearly teaching Arminian theology. The idea that God loves each and everyone is not read anywhere in Scriture, but inferred into it.

    Also, the apostolic proclamation was ‘Repent and believe the Gospel of Christ’, and not ‘God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life’. Why go beyond the Word to evangelize?

    Yes, the Gospel must be freely preached to everyone, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will accept it, since Scripture tells us the contrary. Those who are not allowed to understant the Kingdom’s mysteries will be hardened. Therefore, the Gospel is the means of regeneration for the elect and the means of reprobation for the reprobate, leaving him excuseless. It serves both God’s righteous love and God’s righteous hatred.

    Moreover, dealing with John 3:16

    ‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life’ (John 3:14-15)

    We see particularity here, applied to the nation of Israel. God so loved Israel that put a serpent in the wilderness so that whosoever looked upon it should have eternal life. As a parallel, God so loved [past tense: something God did] the World (not just Israel, but the gentiles), that he gave his only begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him (particularity) should have eternal life.

  23. Nathan May 14, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Nuno,

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that the gospel must be freely preached to everyone, at least I pray that is everone’s mindset.

    My concern is a mindset that we would actually preach that there are those who are damned regardless of how many times they hear the gospel. Even if we should be preaching through texts that speak of God hardening hearts, we have absolutely zero knowledge of whether it is the case of the crowd we are preaching to. Only God knows that.

    “Why go beyond the Word to evangelize?” It is not going beyond the Word to call ALL to repentance. So is Paul going beyond the Word when he says, “Whosoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved – Romans 10”?

    The Day of judgment will reveal who is judged. Today is the day of salvation. The truth of John 3:16 is that God does love us, and if we believe in His only begotten Son we will receive eternal life. I will plead with men to come to Christ today (2 Cor 5-6) because I do not know about tomorrow.

    And I promise you that you will plead with your children to come to Christ, you will not tell them that they are more likely to be damned than they are to be saved. I would hope that you will tell them that denying Christ will cause them to be eternally separated from God, but you will not tell them they have already been damned.

    To even insinuate that we know who will receive Christ and who will not… God forbid.

    That has been my point and concern through this entire post. John 3:16 is not a Calvinist text or an Arminian text, it is the gospel. If we are more caught up in “systems” than we are in sharing the gospel, we have forgotten that it was the gospel preached to us that saved us, not a “system” of academia.

  24. Nuno Fonseca May 14, 2009 at 12:27 pm #

    I will agree with every single thing you have said. My argumentation, and my problem with this statement made by Piper (a minister that I admire greatly, agreeing in so many more things that the ones i disagree), is that the ‘God loves you’ cliché is not the Gospel nor is the Biblical model to preach it. It goes beyond our knowledge of God’s decree, meaning: you don’t know if God has indeed salvific love for that person. Moreover, even if he does, that person is an enemy of God at the moment, and therefore needs to hear a call for repentece and faith in the Gospel first.

    Like you said, there’s no point on discussing the possibility of the reprobation of the person hearing the Gospel – I agree. Stick to the simple Gospel. However, there’s also no need or legitimacy to say that person is salvificly loved by God (therefore elect).

    Do you see the implications behind this? It would make God’s salvific love look very cheap. As much as hypercalvinists make it look even too costly fo God himself.

    I hope I don’t sound overzelous in the usage of the right grammar. Does this make sense to you?

  25. Nathan May 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm #

    Nuno,

    I’m not quite sure I am following your logic. I don’t think Piper was implying that by saying God loved the world this meant salvific love.

    So I’m not really sure what you meant by, “there’s also no need or legitimacy to say that person is salvificly loved by God (therefore elect).” Can you help me understand?

  26. Nuno Fonseca May 14, 2009 at 5:35 pm #

    ‘We may, therefore, say to every human being, “God loves you. And this is how he loves you: He gave his Son to die, so that if you would believe, your sins would be forgiven and you would have eternal life.’

    Piper makes God’s love limited to the giving of his Son, but not to the point of actually regenerating the hearer so he does believe in Christ, thus having eternal life.

    That’s not what the text says.

    ‘God loved the world’ it’s not saying each and every individual living (or dead), but the nations of the world, since Jesus made a parallel with Israel just in the two verses before, and is giving this new concept to Nicodemos, who believed only Jews were saved. God loved the world this way: by giving his only begotten Son so that everyone believing in him – either a Hebrew or a Gentile – would have eternal life.

    So Piper is throwing a bone the Arminian witnessing approach. I still see this as a problem: John 3:16 does not teach universal love in a quantitive way (each and everyone), but qualitative (any kind of individual). It does not say that God loves whatever, but that God loved the World, and not only the Jewish, by doing something: namely, giving his son.

    Again, even if God does indeed love the person you’re about to communicate the Gospel to, what he/she needs to hear is what the apostles proclaimed, and what the Bible tells us to command: ‘Repent and believe the Gospel of Christ’, since that is what someone in rebelion with God and born with hatred of him – ie, every single human being – needs to hear.

    Were I in rebelion with God, like I once was, and Piper told me that God loved me, I would guess nothing was wrong with me.

    Why use a proclamation that is never read in Scripture? If it’s not there, there’s a reason why.

  27. Nuno Fonseca May 14, 2009 at 5:46 pm #

    *So Piper is throwing a bone to the Arminian witnessing approach

  28. Matthew Staton May 15, 2009 at 8:40 am #

    Nuno,

    I respect your desire to be true to Scripture but I am repulsed by what I think you are saying. It seems you are saying God only loves a small set of people, namely, those he saves. The rest he what…doesn’t care about, dislikes, hates…? Am I misconstruing your message? It seems you are saying God does not love most people.

    From the OT to the NT, I believe I see a God who loves all people deeply but is rejected by most, causing him pain.

  29. Nuno Fonseca May 15, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Dear Matthew,

    It was not my intention to go into full-blown theology with my comments. My intention was to simply question if it is indeed wise to go beyond Scripture in order to proclaim the Gospel, using vocabulary we do not see in the text.

    As for the new discussion we’ve apparently engaged in, our misunderstanding lies in the ever controversial common grace/love vs special grace/love debate. It’s really moderate Calvinism vs high Calvinism. I tend to lean towards the high calvinist position, held by James White, for example.

    I see your concern, but again, my preocupation is with biblical grammar: love and grace are only used in salvific contexts.

  30. Nathan May 15, 2009 at 10:39 am #

    Nuno,

    “Were I in rebelion with God, like I once was, and Piper told me that God loved me, I would guess nothing was wrong with me.”

    Piper does not stop at simply, “God loves you.” He also continues by saying “if you believe in Christ,” which is exactly what John 3:16 says. Also verses 17-18 imply the same notion of God’s love for humanity, yet judgment for those who will not repent and believe.

    By the way, you would need to define grace a little more definitively than you do because there are plenty of Psalms that speak of the grace of God falling on the wicked and the righteous. Grace is not strictly used in salvific terms in the bible. The sheer fact that he allows sinners to even take a breath exudes grace and love.

  31. David Rogers May 15, 2009 at 1:18 pm #

    Nuno,

    With all due respect, I find your interpretive conclusion as to the semantic limitations of “kosmos” in John 3 to be NOT definitively established.

    You said,

    “‘God loved the world’ it’s not saying each and every individual living (or dead), but the nations of the world, since Jesus made a parallel with Israel just in the two verses before, and is giving this new concept to Nicodemos, who believed only Jews were saved. God loved the world this way: by giving his only begotten Son so that everyone believing in him – either a Hebrew or a Gentile – would have eternal life.”

    I do not find Jesus’ brief referencing of an OT story (John 3:14) as creating a definitive notation of a contrast of Israel and the “nations of the world”. Your position on the meaning of the word “kosmos” (world) seems to rest on the necessity of a conclusion that Jesus is drawing that kind of point. I think that is rather forced and not clearly indicated in the text, especially in regards to the usage of “kosmos” in the rest of the Johannine literature. Also, there is no textual indication of what Nicodemus believes about who is or who is not saved. The conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus is not centered on a Jew/Gentile discussion. I think you’ve inserted too many assumptions here rather than dealing with the actual discourse.

    I do not find your denial that the love of God cannot be toward every individual to be clearly established.

    Your position seems to be that God does not love every individual in the world based on this restricted exegesis. I do not find your exegetical (semantic) conclusions as the only necessary conclusion and thus your position on the limited love of God does not seem to be established to me.

    “God loved the kosmos/world.” The same kosmos/world that was made through the Light/Word (John 1:10). This Light/Word also “enlightens” every person (John 1:9). The association of enlightening EVERY person(anthropos) and the creation of the kosmos/world in conjunction with John 3:16 noting God’s love for the kosmos lends toward a conclusion that God also “loved” every person. I find this conclusion more contextually meaningful than the seeming forced conclusion that you find.

    My two cents for the conversation,

    David Rogers

  32. Nuno Fonseca May 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm #

    I see we now do have a theological debate. Ok, let’s go.

    Nathan,

    ‘there are plenty of Psalms that speak of the grace of God falling on the wicked and the righteous. Grace is not strictly used in salvific terms in the bible. The sheer fact that he allows sinners to even take a breath exudes grace and love.’

    R: Those verses never use the Hebrew word for ‘grace’ though. Altough God does indeed favor the wicked by providing them food, shelter, and even riches and power (something Calvin called Common Providence, not Common Grace), he does it for their hardening and condemnation, as we read in Psalm 73:

    And they say, “How can God know?
    Is there knowledge in the Most High?”
    Behold, these are the wicked;
    always at ease, they increase in riches
    . . .
    Truly you set them in slippery places;
    you make them fall to ruin.
    How they are destroyed in a moment,
    swept away utterly by terrors!

    Also, let us take the example of the Pharaoh, whose heathen nation the God of Israel made the richest of its time, granting him wealth and rule over his chosen people. Why?:

    ‘For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills’ (Romans 9:17-18).

    §

    David,

    I do see a parallel with John 3:14-15. As for the new concept, I believe that Nicodemos did not know, like most Pharisees, that a Gentile could be saved; and that the idea of God actually loving the rest of the world was unbelievable to them, even tought the OT did more than simply suggest it. However, David, like I said, I do not deny the broader context you now give, since it follows that if 1) God loved Israel and 2) God loved the nations of the world, therefore 3) God loves all of the world. It is the nature of that universal love that I question; which I read as qualitative.

    I still resist the notion that God loves everyone, altough most of them are going to Hell, and is going to be heartbroken of all eternity, despite the fact he could have saved them.

    §

    God bless you both

  33. Matthew Staton May 15, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Nuno,

    FWIW, Psalm 73 is a poor choice to support your position. It is the psalmist’s reflections on the tension between God being faithful to his covenant and yet righteous people suffer while wicked people seem to do well. Psalm 73 is not a theology manual to be read like Calvin’s Institutes or logical syllogisms. It is emotive and reflective. It is in the realm of theodicy.

  34. David Rogers May 16, 2009 at 6:31 pm #

    Nuno,

    Thank you for the gracious offer of blessing, but I have to wonder whether you should bless me if you cannot be sure that God does indeed love me.

    Actually before we get to “theological debate”, I think we have to go back to exegetical warrant for the theological conclusions that are drawn.

    The difficulty I have with your take on John 3:14 is that the emphasis and main point of the verse is on the Son of Man being “lifted up” as a display of where faith is to be directed. The particular serpent on a pole in the wilderness illustration seems to be chosen due to its parallel visual imagery of something upwardly high toward which the eyes of faith could be directed. I think your idea that the use of the OT story is a clearly understood specific delimitation about Israel particularly and thus “the world” reference in 3:16 is only an expansion toward more KINDS of people and definitively NOT toward all individuals, is a forced, stretched eisegetical conclusion with no warrant in the passage. I am not convinced and thus your point that God does not love every individual has not been made in my estimation.

    Since the conversation portrayed in the passage spends NO time in discussing Israel or Jews vs. the Gentiles, I think drawing a conclusion about Nicodemus’ alleged beliefs about Gentile salvation is rooted in nothing but broad speculation.

    Please cite references which support your contention about what Nicodemus and other Pharisees clearly believe and do not believe about Gentiles.

    I do appreciate the reply.

    And I have no qualms about wishing God’s blessings on you and I can say with all sincerity and trusting confidence that I indeed do believe that God loves you.

  35. Chad Christiansen May 19, 2009 at 3:46 pm #

    David,

    Christians are commanded to love their enemies. They are also commanded to love their wives.

    So do you love your wife in the same way as your friends, let alone your enemies?

    Is it possible that God has a love of the world (all of His creation) that is a different love for those the Son ransomed for God?

    How do you handle the “world” in John 17:9?

  36. Nuno Fonseca May 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm #

    David,

    ‘in 3:16 is only an expansion toward more KINDS of people and definitively NOT toward all individuals, is a forced, stretched eisegetical conclusion with no warrant in the passage’

    R: Allow me to reiterate. If I’m interpreting ‘the world’ as being the sum of all nations you affirm that it is eisegetical abuse, but if you read a present indicative love for all individuals (something not at all mentioned in the passage), you’re not adding to the text? Isn’t the anthithesis Israel vs the world shown all through the NT? Where in Scripture is ‘the world’ interpreted as ‘each and every individual’?

    Dear Matthew:

    ‘FWIW, Psalm 73 is a poor choice to support your position. It is the psalmist’s reflections on the tension between God being faithful to his covenant and yet righteous people suffer while wicked people seem to do well.’

    R: Firstly, yes, I do ask of God to bless you. Also, to bless everyone I preach the Gospel to. Also, those I love. Also, my enemies. Those who God hates eternally with a perfect hatred are, notwithstanding, loved by him through his common grace. But as the psalm and the passage of Romans 9 (when many other examples would do) clearly show that this favor works for the hardening of the wicked. They hate the God who is love, so when the loving God does show them his love in his providence and through the free offer of the Gospel, they will hate him more and curse him, despite of all he does to keep them unworthingly alive and well.

    This said, and having in mind that I have no idea who are these reprobate, I will treat every human being as we ought to – a sinner in need of repentence and faith in the Gospel of Christ. And I will bless whosoever I meet sincerely.

  37. David Rogers May 20, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    I am suggesting that kosmos means “humanity or mankind” in John 3:16 and “the sphere or place of human life” in the first use in John 3:17 and “humanity or mankind” in the second use. I do not find that your suggestion that it means “the sum of all nations,” is warranted by the passage.

    The OT reference to Num. 21:9 in John 3:14 does not clearly establish it as a definitive reference specifically indicating the nation of Israel in juxtaposition to all the other nations. You seem to be basing your definition of kosmos as “the sum of all nations” based on the conclusion that it must mean “the sum of all nations” because Israel is specifically indicated in John 3:14. Since I don’t see the clear specific intended indication of Israel as Israel in juxtaposition to all other nations in John 3:14, I thus do not follow your suggestion that the semantic definition of kosmos in John 3:16 can ONLY mean “the sum of all nations.” Plus in my cursory examination of BAGD I do not see the definition “sum of all nations” as one of the options. If it is there or in another dictionary, let me know.

    Thus an interpretive translation would be “For God loved humanity in this way, with the result that he gave his unique Son, in order that every one believes might not be destroyed, but might have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the realm of humanity in order that he might judge humanity but in order that humanity might be saved through him.”

    Enjoying the give and take.

    More later,

    David

  38. David Rogers May 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm #

    CORRECTION “every one who believes”

  39. Nuno Fonseca May 20, 2009 at 7:40 pm #

    So when John 3:17 says ‘God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved’, being that the ‘world’ means ‘all of humaniy’ how will you negate universal salvation without adding to your exegesis?

    God bless you.

  40. Nathan May 21, 2009 at 8:19 am #

    Nuno,

    Because verse 17 is still in the context of verse 16 where it clearly stated that it is only those “who believe” that receive this salvation. That is why verse 18 can then add, “He who BELIEVES in Him is not judged; he who DOES NOT BELIEVE is judged already, because he did not BELIEVE in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    This is a great example of the totality of God’s love for humanity (as David so nicely pointed out) yet judgment on mankind because we are living under the curse and are sinners by birth and by choice. Verse 18 explains that exceptionally well, “he who does not believe has been judged already.” We are under judgement from God until we believe in the Son who was sent from God because God loved humanity.

    There is no possibility of universal salvation from these verses because one must believe in the Son that was sent. There is not even an inclusive argument here because one must believe in the Son; not another form of religion. John’s Gospel speaks to that in detail many times.

  41. David Rogers May 21, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    Nuno

    As John 3:16 clearly points out “every one who believes” receives eternal life. Since the Scriptures indicate that not all will believe (see numerous Revelation passages), then there is no promise of universal salvation.

    Chad,

    The word “kosmos” can be understood in many ways. I do not find evidence in BAGD of Nuno’s suggestion “the sum of all nations” but instead note that BAGD assigns the understanding of “kosmos” in John 17:9 under definition # 7

    “the world, and everything that belongs to it, appears as that which is hostile to God, i.e. lost in sin, wholly at odds with anything divine, ruined and depraved”

    Disciples of Jesus are seen as being no longer “of the world”; they are “in the world” but not characterized as being “of the world” due to their relationship with Jesus.

    Blessings,

    David

  42. Nuno Fonseca May 27, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    Nathan,

    I still don’t understand your logical conclusion, that, based in the truth that ‘God so loved the world’ you deduced that God loves everyone. And since the way God expresses his love for the world was by the giving of the Son, isn’t obvious that this love is only shown to those who believe Christ? Unless you thing that 1) God loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved, but 2) God won’t save everyone and his wrath will remain on who does not believe. Don’t you see a paradox here?

    Also, what do you do with the imprecatory psalms and God’s hatred of Esau in Romans 9?

    David,

    ‘Disciples of Jesus are seen as being no longer “of the world”; they are “in the world” but not characterized as being “of the world” due to their relationship with Jesus’.

    Isn’t it obvious that you just destroyed your own argument, David? If the world means, as you implied, ‘each and every individual’, so the disciples of Christ are not of ‘each and every individual’, or is it that ‘the world’ has several meanings according to context?

  43. Greg August 1, 2009 at 8:35 pm #

    Q: How do we know that not everyone in the “Whole World” will be saved?

    A: Everybody is not saved.

    Deny the reality of truth if you must, but it will not change the truth. The truth is not dependant on the mind of man.
    Here’s another truth: You cannot reason a person out of a position the did not reason themselves into.

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