Many of us are familiar with John 3:16. It’s a very prevalent verse, and one that many adults can still recite from back in their Sunday School days!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)
From this verse, we’ve developed the mantra, “Jesus died for my sins.” We conclude that He laid down His life for my sins so that I could go to heaven. And that’s wonderful - but now what do we do?
The answer is found in a verse that’s not so prevalent in our modern church.
Corresponding to John 3:16 is a verse found in 1 John 3:16. The verse in 1 John picks up on the thought from the verse in John: that love was manifested to us when He laid His Life down for us. The difference is, John doesn’t stop there! He adds these words,
“We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16 (NASB)
Again this verse tells us how Jesus laid His life down for us, but in addition, the result and natural byproduct of what that means to us is revealed. He reminds us of what Jesus first did for us and adds, “and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” Those are our marching orders until He returns, beloved: Just as Jesus laid down His life for us, so we lay our lives down for others.
We do this so that others can enter into His love and that others can go to heaven. 1 John 4 declares that people have never seen God, but they can see the love that we have and then find God. Paul put it this way,
We are the living letters from God telling the world how much God loves them.
Ours is an “others” centered faith; we focus not just on what we receive, but on how God, through us, can allow others to receive as we lay down our lives.
My friend, you might want to memorize these two verses and put them together. I think it's fascinating that they both carry chapter 3 verse 16, don’t you? It's almost like the Holy Spirit was saying, don't miss this one!
Jesus dying for your sins is a wonderful message, but complete the message by including that just as Jesus died, we too, are to lay down our lives for others.
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