Comprehensive Exegesis of
Romans 10:13 and John 3:16
By Pastor George D. Cutler
Grace Gospel Church Ministry
We open with the exegesis of Romans 10:13 from the King James Version," For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved". And now from the Greek Text, "For whoever might call upon the name of the Lord will be saved". Now this is an exact quotation from the prophecy of Joel. In its original historical and prophetically setting, it refers to those who are delivered in the terrible day of the Lord. In this verse (13) Paul uses it to depict those, who as a result of calling on the name of the Lord, will be saved from sin. Here the Greek verb"ehp∑ ee∑ kahl∑ ehs∑ ee∑ teh" rendered "might call upon", is in the subjunctive mood and may also be rendered "whoever would call upon the name of the Lord".
Here we acknowledge that this brings us into the depths of deep doctrinal waters as we exegete this verse (Romans 10:13) as well as John 3:16; as they both contain the same Greek grammatical dialog defining the terminology "whoever" or "whosoever". There are many who are persuaded to move away from the doctrine of Godís sovereign call and election as a result of several words that are used in scriptures to describe the process of His choice in saving those whom He has elected to receive His blessings and to receive His eternal Son-positions. One should not allow certain words, i.e., "all, every and whosoever", as they are perceived by some to negate Godís exclusive work of determining who will be saved. Now as recorded in Romans 10:12, it is certainly factual that confession and belief by a sinner are essential for receiving salvation. No doubt about it one must and will call upon His name if one is ever to be saved. Also the fact is established that there is no distinction (or difference) between Jew and Greek. So there is no difference, or designation of groupings that effectuates the determination of those who receive salvation. So the first question is, by what means and through what methodology is the determination made as to who will call on Him or who will believe or who will confess? Some will say that it is based upon those who exercise faith to believe on Him and this is true! But the next question is what causes some men to believe in Him and confess while others totally reject Him. Also what is the catalyst that infuses the exercise of faith in some but not in all? It is a fact even though some dispute it, that all men, i.e., every man who is the progeny of Adam; is totally depraved or valueless and thus void of the capacity of producing faith to believe or confess or call upon His name.
Thus those who comprise "all" or "every" or "whosoever" must be qualified or determined by some agent outside of "sinful mankind". But there are some who assert and teach the doctrine of "free will" or "free choice" squarely placing the choice and determination of salvation within the control of sinful creatures. In essence, the usage of the words "all", "whosoever" or "the world", transfers the choice of election from God into the hands of depraved men. Those who espouse such thinking refer to certain scriptures to support their supposition, i.e., John 4:42, "The Savior of the world", II Corinthians 5:14,15, "He died for "all", Hebrews 2:9, "That He by the grace of God should taste death for "every" man", and I John 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world". Now on the surface, this seems very convincing but when one looks in great detail and fully exegete these writings, they in fact solidify the consistency of the doctrine of Godís selection of individuals, solely based on His sovereign call and election to salvation.
These scriptures do not infer that Godís sacrifice of Jesus is indiscriminately directed to "all" or "every" or "whosoever" or "the world". Now in order to demonstrate this, we refocus on the verse of scripture that we are exegeting (Romans 10:13) and turn to the Greek grammar and literally exegete from the Greek Text."Pahs gahr os ahn ehp∑ ee∑ kahl∑ ehs∑ eet∑ eh to on∑ om∑ ah keer∑ ee∑ oo so∑ thees∑ eht∑ eh" again rendered "For whoever might call upon the name of the Lord will be saved". Notice the grammatical construction of this verse. First note the Greek clause "pahs gahr os", which conveys the expression "for whoever". Now, to understand the implication of this thought; notice that the Greek word "pahs" is technically structured with distributive significance, i.e., "all" or "every kind of ", which is denoting or designating everything belonging to a classification or any individual within a classification; thus implying "each and every kind" or ""all parts of the whole. Next observe that the Greek conjunction "gahr", rendered "for" in the structure; gives grounds for a conclusion or an explanation, thus in this case it introduces the "cause" or "reason for" or "because". Now observe the Greek relative pronoun "os" as it compliments its antecedent "pahs" both in gender and number (masculine, singular), with its case (nominative), which is determined by its usage in the clause as they function constructively as the subject of the verse. As we further scrutinize the verse, note the contrasting moods of the main verbs of this verse namely the subjunctive mood for "ehpee∑ kahl∑ ehs∑ eet∑ eh" rendered "might call upon" and the indicative mood for "so∑ thees●eh●teh" rendered "will or shall be saved". Note again the subjunctive mood denotes probability, which expresses that it is possible that some (not all) might or would call upon the name of the Lord.
So what is conveyed is the possibility and probability that some (not all) "will" and "do" call upon the name of the Lord. As we survey the effect or result of those calling, we observe the indicative mood as it denotes the factuality that those who call upon Him "shall or will be saved". In other words "all those "who do call upon the name of the Lord (without exception) "will be saved". Now we note the respective tenses and voices of the main verbs in this verse namely, aorist tense and middle voice for"ehpee∑ kahl∑ ehs∑ eet∑ eh" (might call upon) and future tense and passive voice for "so∑ thees∑ eht∑ eh" (will or shall be saved).
In the former instance, the probability connotation of the subjunctive mood (might call upon) is tempered by the past-completed action of the aorist tense; as well as the middle voice, which infers, that the determination of the action of those calling, occurred or was completed in a period in the past. This speaks to the predetermined work of God upon the call to salvation. Thus those performing the action were cause to do so. In the latter instance, the actual connotation of the indicative mood (will or shall be saved), is certified by the future tense as well as the passive voice by which Godís foreknowledge and predetermined will, controls who will be saved, thus the recipient passively receives the action of salvation.
In light of the above, this verse properly conveys the message that "all those" (every individual) designated (elected) in eternity; are called by God and thus is cause by God to call upon God for salvation. Without any input from anyone outside of God, menís salvation will follow their calling upon the Lord (Romans 8:28-30). The calling upon the name of the Lord is the manifestation of the exercising of Godís divinely implanted faith, which in turn assures us of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Titus 1:2-3; Hebrews 5:9).
Now, we know this is contrary to what many ministries and traditional doctrines teach. As one Pastor recently remarked, "Predestination is factual as long as you donít take it too far". He was saying that Godís predetermined will is limited to and dependant upon the cooperation or input of men to respond to Godís eternal provision of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ upon Calvary. Nothing could be further from the facts. The certainty of God in bringing His elect into a perfect and justified relationship with Himself, cannot and does not rest upon the whims of humanity. The only way for God to guarantee that even some would respond to His call would be for God Himself to initiate the call and then cause a depraved soul to respond through faith, which God alone is able to deposit within the heart of a dead sinner.
We will now properly and correctly exegete the very popular yet misunderstood and misapplied verse of scripture John 3:16; focusing on certain key words as they are applied in scriptures by some in an attempt to challenge the doctrine of God'sí sovereign call and election of individuals to eternal salvation. Now before we move into this hotly disputed area of contention, again, we would like to express our profound love for all of Godís people. All of the elect are precious to and loved by our Lord Jesus Christ who died for or because of our sins and rose for or because of our justification. As we submit our disquisition we are fully aware of the widely taught doctrine of mankindís input into the selection process of salvation. We herein affirm our love for all of Godís people, because if you are Godís child then you are His elect, chosen (elected) in Him before the foundation (creation) of the world. One of the greatest benefits of election is that as the elect of God, it is neither our actions nor our understanding of Godís actions that has caused Him to effectuate our position of Sonship. Godís love for us is not stimulated by anything outside of Himself.
Thus, what we are is not determined by anything contributed or supplied or provided by our own efforts. Accordingly we pray that Godís people will learn to love one another, regardless of our differences of understanding of what the Word of God is conveying on the doctrines of salvation. We sincerely believe that Godís people can dialog in open and honest exchange of thought and though there may be some diversity of constructive ideas, we should always recognize the greater tie (the blood of Jesus) that binds us and unites us in this one Body. The Church (Body of Christ) is comprised of many individual members; Jews and Gentiles, male and female, plus those who are bound as well as those who enjoy the freedom that is in Christ (Galatians 5:1).
Now before we begin our detailed analysis of John 3:16, as well as other verses containing the usage of certain words, i.e., "whoever", "whosoever", "all", "every" and the expression "the whole world"; we will interject what we have determined from our studies as to what the Bible teaches about election. Election is in essence, the act of God whereby in eternity, He chose those who are saved. Election is unconditional because it does not depend on anything outside of God such as good works or foreseen faith (Romans 9:16). We believe that this doctrine is repeatedly taught in the Bible, and is also to be extracted by the knowledge of every unbiased student of Godís word. True Biblical evidence documents that all men are born dead (spiritually) in sin (Ephesians 2:1-3). In this state of death, no sinner is able (of himself) to respond to any spiritual stimulus and therefore is incapable of loving, obeying or pleasing God in any way. Man, in his unregenerate status "is hostile toward God", for he cannot adequately subject himself to the law (moral principles) of God. It is a fact that "those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8). The effect of this is that no sinner can ever make the first move in the salvation process. In other words, manís actions towards God can only be initiated by Godís initial action upon him, which in effect causes him to react. So man can only act or react as a result of being acted upon by God. This is clearly illustrated by John 6:44, wherein Jesus states" (king James Version) " No man can come to me, except the father which hath sent me draw him."
Now if all the above is true (and it is), then what does John 3:16 actually convey? Here we read first from the King James Version, "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". Now from the Greek Text, "For God did so love the world, that His Son, the only begotten, He gave, that every one who is believing in Him may not perish, but may have life eternal or everlasting". Now as we have fore-stated, there are key words and expressions in this verse which some utilize to espouse a doctrine of "free will" or "free choice" of all mankind. Thus the doctrine of universal redemption is energetically taught, that Christ died for "everyone" or the entire human race and that it is exclusively up to each individual to "choose" or "apply" Godís provision for or to his or her salvation. In this verse (John 3:16) many theologians apply the universalize doctrine of Christís redemptive work based on two expressions: first "God so loved the world and second "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life". Their assertion is that the expression "the world" defines universal love and provisions for all, thus God has provided indefinite love and provisions indiscriminately directed at all but to no one in particular.
If this is actually the case in fact, then "whoever" or "whosoever" means that it is entirely and exclusively left up to each individual as to whether he or she will be saved from perishing or from destruction. This is a very frightening proposition. Can one really fathom the impetus of the exclusive responsibility resting solely on a sinnerís shoulders, without any input or determination from God? Would one really want his eternal destiny solely dependent upon his own ability or his own strength or capacity to believe God and call upon Him and confess, in order to escape everlasting torment and destruction? If this is what is widely accepted (and it is) then no wonder Godís people are so insecure and unstable and so unsure about their salvation or their state of acceptability to God. We should be elated and grateful to Him that according to Romans 8:29-30, He foreknew, predestinated, called, justified, and has glorified us because Godís promises are factual. The only way for our salvation to be secure and everlasting or even attainable, is that it must be wholly and totally the work of God; both to provide and to deliver or bring us to Him, because we do not have the wherewith (on our own) to go to Him. Now if we have depended upon our own ability and we think that it was by our own volition that we (unaided by Him) came to Christ, then how can we ever be sure that our relationship with Him is unalterable? Also, please contemplate this, who made the choice, was it us or was it God? In other words, did we choose God or did He choose us or did we choose each other simultaneously?
Now as we closely scrutinize John 3:16; we literally read from the Greek Text,"Oo∑ tos gahr eeg∑ ahp∑ ee∑ seen o theh∑ os ton kos∑ mos os∑ teh ton yee∑ on ton mon∑ oy∑ eh∑ nee ehth∑ o∑ kehn een∑ ah pahs o peest∑ ehv∑ on ees ahf∑ ton mee ahp∑ ol∑ ee∑ teh ahll ehkh∑ ee zo∑ een eh∑ o∑ nee∑ on", rendered,. Unfortunately, some people quote this verse with complete "For God so loved the world, that His Son the only begotten, He gave, that everyone who is believing in Him may not be loosed or perish, but may have life everlasting (without end)." Now there is general disregard for the verses that both precede and follow it; thus the context wherein Jesus spoke it is completely ignored. My former Pastor, a man I dearly loved, Pastor Clyde Colbert Sr., use to always admonish the ministers under him, of the danger of taking one verse out of a passage and using it without reading at least a few verses above and a few verses below it, before attempting to interpret its meaning. I have found this to be excellent advice, for it allows one the advantage of conceptualizing the total context wherein a thought is expressed, a question is raised or a statement is made. Thus, it is encumbered upon us to read the total contents of this passage and not in isolation take this verse (John 3:16) and rely upon the expressions "the world" and "whosoever" to determine what the Lord was conveying. Also, we must consider whom Jesus was speaking to and what He was talking about! Is it possible that Jesus, who was God incarnated in the flesh at the time He is quoted in this verse, would ever make a contradictory statement to the sovereignty of Godís election and call to salvation? The obvious answer is absolutely no! The Bible repeatedly stresses that salvation is the exclusive work of God. For example, it states in Acts 13:48 (King James Version), "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." Note they did not believe first and then they were appointed, but they were caused to believe, because they had been previously appointed. In Acts 16:14, it speaks of one named Lydia, who was saved when "the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. Also in II Thessalonians 2:13, the Apostle Paul states, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation". In light of this, it is not possible that Jesus is stating that Godís election to salvation is arbitrary and extemporaneously placed into "the world for whosoever".
Now as we in earnest begin our exegesis of John 3:16, there is one thing that we wish to note and that is, there are three aspects of scrutiny by which we should always evaluate scripture when seeking to give proper interpretation to the word of God. They are:
If the contents of the verse or verses of scripture can agree or convey the consistency of the examination of all three aspects; then there is a great possibility that one has grasped the correct meaning of the passage.
Now with this in mind, we begin with the contextual and historical aspect of John 3:16. As we move to the beginning of chapter three of John we note that the entire context which is John 3:1-21, gives the account of a conversation between our Lord Christ Jesus and one who was named Nicodemus. So here we ask the compound question, who was Nicodemus and what is the total contents of their conversation? Now it is recorded in Godís word "that not many wise men, after the flesh" or mighty or noble are called (I Corinthians 1:26; James 4:6), but Nicodemus is identified as a "ruler" in the King James Version. Here the Greek noun"ahr∑ khon", rendered "ruler", describes him as a high official or respected leader or one who exercises authority or one who is invested with power or dignity, thus a Lord, Prince or Magistrate. Historically speaking, Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin and was counted as one of the three riches men of Jerusalem, but it was said that afterward he became poor. This was conjectured because later it was said that his daughter was seen gathering barleycorn for food from under the horseís feet.
However, during his interview with Jesus, he was a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin or "council" or the highest ruling body and court of justice among the Jewish people at the time of this encounter. The High Priest of Israel and the Sanhedrin were heads of this tribunal, which in this day in our nation would be synonymous with the United States Supreme Court. Rome granted them limited authority over certain religious, civil and criminal matters of the Jews. Here, knowledge of Nicodemusís background is very important as it forms the basis for properly assessing the things Jesus would say to him and how he would say them. In other words, in the contents of their discussion, Jesus conveys things that would be known and legally understood by one of Nicodemusís status, but perhaps not familiar to those not versed in the laws, customs, ordinances and traditions of Israel. Note the Sanhedrin was comprised of the Sadducees or "Chief Priests" and "Elders" and the "Pharisees" or "Scribes". So we must keep this in mind when we analyze the contents of their discussions and consider the contexts or legal aspects of the questions posed by Nicodemus as well as the explanations given by Jesus.
Also historically speaking, one must understand the economy or dispensational setting at the time of this interchange of communication. In this sense, it must be fully understood that the Kingdom gospel message first introduced in the New Testament by John the Baptist and taught by our Lord Jesus Christ, his disciples and followers (the 70); were extended manifestations of the books of prophecy outlining Godís administrative fulfillment of His covenants and promises to His elect (Israel or the Jews). Thus, nothing that is said, neither through questions that were raised, or explanations that were given; could be construed as the basis for the message to the Grace Church. Note it is through the revelation of the "Mystery" that we receive the message or manifestation of the "Body of Christ". So it is extremely important to know that there is absolutely nothing mentioned about the Church (Body of Christ) in the Old Testament because it was not part of the truth, which was prophesied in the Old Testament.
Contrary to what some teach, Jesus is not making a revelation to Nicodemus concerning direct provisions of salvation to Gentiles. This revelation (concerning the Body of Christ) is reserved for the "Mystery", that volume of truth that entails the union of both Jews and Gentiles into one body (the Church) Ephesians 3:3-6. So if this information is reserved until it is revealed unto the Apostle Paul for the Church (and it certainly was), then it is impossible for the usage of "whosoever" to be inclusive of those who were not Jews. Others assert that Jesus makes a prophetic statement in this context to Nicodemus. But notice the nature of Jesusí words; they are part of an answer or explanation concerning those things that Nicodemus should have already known (John 3:10). We again emphasize whom Jesus was communicating with. Nicodemus was a very learned man, member of the Sanhedrin, a Pharisee and a Scribe, one very well versed in the law, ordinances, customs and traditions of Israel. As such, he would have known that salvation (at this time) was offered only to Israel. Thus "whosoever" would necessarily be limited to Godís elect at that point and period of time, which according to the Law is Israel? The same would be true concerning the term "the world"; it, according to covenant, would be limited to "the world" of those covered under the covenant, again at this time, "Israel".
Note the introductory statements of John, chapter three verses one, two and three (King James Version), "There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler o 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. (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". Now as we have already stated, Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler came to Jesus at night for a private interview. No one else was present; there was no one else around so we must keep in mind that this conversation, this communicative exchange of questions and answers, were conducted in privacy and exclusively between Jesus and Nicodemus. Note in verse two, how Nicodemus, who was of the Sanhedrin, addressed Jesus as Rabbi. Here the Greek noun "Rahv∑ vee" is a transliteration of the Hebrew word "Rabbi", which comes from a Semite root word meaning "great" or "head".
Note it is only used in the Matthew and John gospels, usually of Jesus, although John the Baptistís disciples addressed him once as such (John 3:26). Its literal meaning is "my teacher". Note that this highly respected ruler in the Sanhedrin used a respectful term denoting a title of honor and respect given by the Jews to their teachers and spiritual instructors, thus denoting a teacher of the Law. This term Rabbi was highly coveted by the religious leaders (Pharisees/Scribes) as it denotes one who is highly trained in Jewish Law, ritual and tradition. In Matthew 23:7-8, Jesus referred to this desire for honor and recognition elicited by the scribes and Pharisees, as He spoke of them being called "Rabbi", "Rabbi "in the market place". Note how He forbids His disciples to be called "Rabbi" in verse eight; "But be not ye called Rabbi for one is your Master, even Christ", (referring to Himself). So the term "Rabbi", basically means "Master" and "Rabboni" (my Master) as used by Mary at the tomb of Jesus (John 20:16). Also, observe the words of John the Baptist in response to his disciples addressing him as Rabbi; as he states that (King James Version) "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven", then he cautioned them with the words, "Ye yourself bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him and that "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom" (obviously referring to himself), "which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroomís voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:27).
Note, these documentations all testify even as Nicodemus states in John 3:2, "Rabbi (or Master), 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". Here it is established that Nicodemus is not only giving credence to Jesus because of the miracles, healing, etc., that he performed (as many do), but he more importantly is referencing his message (the gospel of the Kingdom); coming forth from the "teacher who has come from God". This message (the Kingdom) was prophesied by the prophets of old and they were all recorded; thus Nicodemus, this Scribe, this Pharisee, of the Sanhedrin was more convinced by the manifestation of the words that Jesus spoke, which were corroborated by the signs and miracles that followed. Again, Nicodemus probably surmised that Jesusí message was an extension of the scriptures that he, as a Scribe was very familiar with.
Thus the purpose of Nicodemus coming to Jesus was to inquire in greater details of the doctrine (the prophesied Kingdom) that He (Jesus) came to teach. He may have been convinced that Jesus was the prophesied Messiah, the Anointed One, which would have been foreshadowed as Prophet, Priest, and King, which should have been known by one who was as knowledgeable of the scriptures, such as a Scribe (including Nicodemus as well as Saul of Tarsus). Here we have the account of Nicodemus inquiring of the One promised of God, the One designated as the great deliverer of Israel. So it is in this context and this context alone that the dialog took place.
Now as the interchange continues, verse three of John chapter three begins with the expression "Jesus answered". Here note the Greek verb"ahp∑ ehk∑ ree∑ thee" rendered "rely" or "answer" is in the indicative mood. This means the subsequent conveyance is factual. The aorist tense conveys the inference that the statement that is to follow describes an action completed in the past. The passive voice means that which is conveyed, is an action, which is not performed by any man, but rather it is received from God. Thus, that is the promise of the new birth by and through the seed, which is Jesus Christ (the anointed one). Here it is very helpful to have a working knowledge of covenants, i.e., the Abrahamic, Davidic and New Covenants, all unilateral contracts that God has with His covenant people of prior and future dispensations (Promise, Law and Millennium). The manifestation of the new birth in essence is the catalyst of the implementation of these covenants for it is by and through Jesus Christ that all the conditions of the contracts are fulfilled.
So all that Jesus conveyed to Nicodemus in the contents of John 3:3-21 is confined to the Promise, Law and Millennium (Kingdom) dispensations and the covenants associated with them. Historically speaking, at the time of this interchange or dialog, the Grace Dispensation is unknown to men for it was kept secret until Jesus revealed the "Mystery" unto Paul (Romans 11:25; 16:25-26; I Corinthians 2:7-10; Ephesians 3:3-5; Colossians 1:26). Now as we observe some of the things involved in the historical approach to the writings in this passage, one should consider that a good communicator, i.e., our Lord Jesus (and He was the very best ever); would have in mind, the transferal of His thoughts in such a manner that they would stimulate identical thoughts in the mind of its recipient (Nicodemus). All the explanations that Jesus conveyed should be interpreted in the light of what had already been known by Nicodemus, which is the intelligent comprehension of detailed truth that took place, as it was meaningfully related to his existing mindset. So Jesus in this case regulated the contents of His thoughts to the one whom He was addressing. In view of this principle, it is logical to expect the conveyance of His (Jesus) words to accommodate the mental status of His listener (Nicodemus). Jesusí words should be considered by what could be known and understood by Nicodemus at the time of this exchange.
Now as we continue the grammatical aspect of scrutinizing the contents of this passage, we see that when the above stated reasoning is followed, it gives restrictive flow to the general and universal interpretations that are ascribed to the many things that Jesus conveys in this communication. Jesus, who was God incarnated in the flesh, was omniscient, so He knew all things but he disciplined Himself (Philippians 2:6-7). Thus in John 3:3, the Greek Text reads"ah∑ meen ah∑ meen lehg∑ o see eh∑ ahn mee tees yehn∑ nee∑ thee ahno∑ thee oo theen∑ ah∑ teh ee∑ theen teen Vahs∑ eel∑ ee∑ ahn too Theh∑ oo", this would actually translate "Truly, truly, I say unto you, if any one may not be born from above, he is not able to see the reign of God". Note the Greek phrase "yehn∑ nee∑ thee ahno∑ thee", rendered "born or birth from above or renewed". Here Jesus elaborated on one of the key subjects that the Pharisees had established an ardent posture on and that is birth. The Pharisees had doctrinal distinct positions on birth and resurrection that were accepted by many of the Jews.
From the writings of the respected biblical historian Josephus, it is stated "the Pharisees say that the soul of good men only passes over into another body, while the soul of bad men is chastised by eternal punishment". In Matthew 14:2, note the question asked by Jesusí disciples, (KJV) "master, who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? The "Rabbis" as many Jews referred to the Pharisees, believed in the pre-existence of souls as well as the resurrection. Thus, it is in this vein that Jesus began His elaboration on the subject"yehn∑ nee∑ thee" or "birth". Here Jesus knowing the doctrinal position of Pharisaical teaching immediately explains that this birth was not an incarnation but regeneration. Here He expresses the phrase "yehn∑ nee∑ thee ahno∑ thee", specifying that it is a Ďbirth from above" or as it relates to the past, that which is initiated at a prior time or from an earlier period, from the beginning or from the first. Also as it would relate to future time, it would indicate repetition, or that which is anew.
Now hearing this, Nicodemus was astonished and inquired, as we read John 3:4 from the Greek Text, "Nicodemus said unto Him, how is a man able to be born, being old? Is he able into the womb of his mother a second time to enter, and to be born"? Here Jesus quickly continues His expatiation on the matter by explaining in John 3:5, that He was not referring to "natural birth" but to "spiritual birth", as He states in the Greek Text, "Verily, verily, I say to thee, if any one may not be born of water and the spirit, he is not able to enter into the reign of Godí. Here Jesus reiterates the prescription for entering into the Kingdom of the Messiah.
Again we must emphasize that the only gospel (good message) that had been taught at that time by Jesus and others (including John the Baptist) was "the Kingdom". Now the Kingdom Gospel is or that which pertains to the Millennium age or that which is manifestly recorded in the books of prophecy and that which should have been known by a Scribe or Pharisee such as Nicodemus. He undoubtedly, because of his training and background, must have been expecting the Kingdom of Heaven or the Kingdom of Israelís Messiah (deliverer) shortly to appear in external or physical pomp and power (as it most Jews imagined it would be).
Note the wording of verse five as contrasted with verse three, "This renewed birth from above" is of water and spirit". Note the Greek word "ee∑ thahr∑ tos", translated "water", as it is used conjunctively with the Greek word "pnehv∑ mah∑ tos", rendered "spirit" in verse 5. Now, there are many who teach that this verse (as well as others) documents the fact that the usage of the term water, in this context; causes the ceremony of water baptism to be an essential prerequisite for (to) salvation. And then this assertion of water baptism leads to division of factions debating the issues as to how the ceremony should be performed. Again we raise the question, who was Jesus speaking to? The answer is Nicodemus and in light of this, the reference to "water" absolutely signifies "washing" or "baptism" through the medium of "washing". Now again we pose the question, "what gospel did Jesus preach?
The answer is the Kingdom Message, the gospel that is accompanied by signs and wonders, which includes "repentance and baptism" (Acts 2:38, 41; 8:12-13, 36, 38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15,33; 18:8; 22:16; Galatians 3:27). It is a fact that under the Kingdom gospel message, water baptism is considered a binding ordinance on all who propose to love the Love Jesus Christ. This is documented by the message that the Apostle Peter preached on the day of Pentecost as recorded in the second chapter of Acts. The Kingdom Messianic Message, which was delivered unto Peter to preach to the circumcision (Jews); is distinct from the gospel (Grace or Mystery Truth), as was revealed (delivered) into the Apostle Paul to the un-circumcision or to the Church (Jews and Gentiles). This ushered in a new dispensation (Acts 20:24; Romans 11:25; 16:25-26; I Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 3:3-5; Colossians 1:26).
Now we herein attest that the "one baptism" mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4:5, is in not by means of water but by or through the Spirit (I Corinthians 12:13). As we focus on the context of John 3:5, we note that Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a Jewish ecclesiastic and in this light he is referencing the ceremony of baptism or the washings or cleansing by water; which was so familiar with the symbolical application of water, in every variety of way and form of expression. Thus the language that Jesus used was structured to convey the communication that, that which is intended was none other than a thorough "spiritual purification" by or through the operation of the Holy Spirit.
Indeed this component of expressing the co-element of water and the operation of the spirit was linked together in a glorious evangelical enlightenment of that which is recorded in Ezekiel 36:25-27, (from the King James Version), "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit, within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them". Nicodemus would have been knowledgeable of this had not such spiritualities been overshadowed by the reigning formalism of tradition. This formalization of religious practice of traditional ceremonies is unfortunately continuing until this very day among Godís people as rituals of baptisms and other liturgies have become the great visible door of entrance into "the Body of Christ", while the reality of the matter is that the birth from above is solely the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Mystery of regeneration (new creation) had not yet been revealed at that time so Jesus spoke in terms of what was known, i.e., cleansing or purification by means of washing (symbolically) by water. Now in essence, Jesus is expressing what it means to be spiritually born again and that is to be born of the spirit. Observe that this change is not wrought by any wisdom or power of ones own initiative or accomplishments, but by the power and influence of the blessed spirit of Godís grace to His elect. This is positively, vehemently asserted by our Lord Jesus as he exclaims verily or truly or amen, "I say to thee", (reading from the Greek Text), "If any one may not be born of water and the spirit (of God) he is not able to "enter into" or "abide in" the rein (Kingdom) of God.
Now as we continue in the context of John chapter three, note Jesusí statement in verses 6 through 12 contrasting earthly or "terrestrial" things with heavenly or "celestial" things. Here, our Lord explained the necessity for this change of manís status, by stating that the earthly (fleshly) and visible conditions for which man is associated with this present sinful world; is distinct from the Heavenly, spiritual and invisible conditions. Thus it is necessary for man to be transformed in order to be in harmony and fellowship with the rein (Kingdom) of God. Consequently that which is birthed or born of the flesh is and could never be any thing else but corruptible, whereas only that which is birthed or born of the spirit can inherit those things that are incorruptible. So here Christ shows that it is necessary in the nature of the thing, for no man is fit to enter into the reign or Kingdom of God until he is re-birthed or renewed, because that which is born of the flesh is corruptible flesh. Note that which is seen versus that which is unseen illustrates this change. Note the usage of the exact Greek word"pnehv∑ mah", translated both "spirit" and "wind", as Jesus demonstrates the reality and authenticity of the eternal Heavenly things.
Now we focus on John 3:13 from the Greek Text, "And no one hath gone up to heaven, except He who out of the heaven came down, the Son of man who is in the heaven. Here Jesus offers the fact that no one had attained in prior times this new birth by stating that no one hath gone up to Heaven and returned except He (the man Christ Jesus) who out of the heaven came down; who is also the Son of man who is in the Heaven." Jesus herein verses the fact that, that which is earthly and corruptible cannot inherit that, which is heavenly or incorruptible. Such knowledge can only be received by that which is regenerated or re-birthed or that which is of or from above. Here we note the phrase "the Son of man who is in the Heaven", as it conveys the fact that our Lord Jesus is divine, thus He is in Heaven even while on earth incarnated in human flesh. This is an illustration of a very remarkable expression, i.e., Jesus, "the Son of man" while bodily on earth conversing with Nicodemus, is at the time Jesus, "the Son of Godí, abiding in the Heaven. This gives testimony of both Jesusí divine and human nature, which qualified Him for the unique ministry of the reconciliation of mankind. In verse 14 of John chapter three, we read from the Greek Text, "And as Moses did lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so it behoveth the Son of man to be lifted up". Again, because of whom Jesus was talking to, note the figurative illustration utilized by our Lord as He proceeds in this as well as the following verses to state the reason why He came into the world.
Here Jesus expresses that which Nicodemus was familiar with to explicate the methodology and design as well as the efficacy of His coming, as He references the documentation of the bass serpent recorded in Numbers 21:7-9. Nicodemus, a scribe, was very knowledgeable of the historical incident wherein the children of Israel complained against God and Moses in the dessert as they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea near Edom. The Lord consequently sent fiery serpents among them and the serpents bit them and many died because of their sin. As a result of Israelís repentance from this sin, the Lord directed Moses to make an image of the serpent and place it high on a pole in the sight of them and those who look upon it would be (forgiven), healed and would live. Now there are those who allegorically teach and preach that this image of the serpent is a type of Christ, the Messiah, but this is very inconsistent with what the serpent represented in the Garden of Eden, that is, the curse and enmity of sin. So it is more likely that the serpent would represent the curse and enmity between the penalty and curse of sin and the seed of man as we note Godís judgment in Eden; that the seed of woman "shall bruise the serpentís head and the serpent shall bruise the seed of womanís heel". Thus this illustration by Jesus probably has reference to the effects of the curse and penalty of sin, which is death and the redemption or deliverance from death unto life that is associated with obedience to His word. Thus Jesus used it, as a striking illustration of His redemptive work for which He came into the world and that was to bring life unto those (His elect) who are dead.
Now that which is similar in type is the manner or design of resurrection from death unto life; as He, like the serpent is "lifted up" and placed on high such that those who will trust or look unto Him will live (John 12:32; 8:28). Here the points of resemblance between Jesus being lifted up and that of the brass serpent are:
In each case those who are to be benefited cannot be delivered in any other way. The bite of the serpent was deadly and could be healed only by looking on the brass serpent, while the deadly nature of sin can only be removed by looking to Jesus and His redemptive work on the Cross.
Observing the mode of being lifted up; the brass serpent was lifted up high in the sight of the Israelites whereas Jesus was exalted from the earth and elevated upon a tree on Calvary.
Observing the similarity of design, the brass serpent was an illustration of saving temporal, physical lives, whereas those who look to Jesus receive salvation unto eternal life.
Note the similarity of the manner of the cure; the children of Israel were to look upon the serpent for natural or physical healing whereas sinners are to look upon Jesus for spiritual healing (salvation).
Now as we move closer to our primary verse of scripture (John 3:16), we note two things in John 3:15. They are:
The continuation of thought flow from verse 14.
The duplication of the wording in the second phrase of verse 16.
Here we also note that if the thought that is conveyed in verse 15 is a duplication of the latter phrase of verse 16, then these congruent phrases are both continuations of the thoughts expressed in verses 13 and 14, as well as that which is expressed in the first phrase of verse 16.
Now as we view our context on the basis of cause (reason) and effect, John chapter three verses: 13, 14 and the first phrase of verse 16; would constitute the cause or (reason) of the context, whereas verse 15 and the latter phrase of verse 16 would constitute the effect or results of that which is conveyed. Thus, to contextualize this portion of the contents and develop fluid thought flow, we group the cause or reasoning aspect of verses (13,14, & 1st phrase 16) into a continuous procession of conveyance; followed by the consequent sequence of verse 15 and the latter portion of verse 16 as it ensues.
Hence following this format we read from the KJV,verse 13, "And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven". Verse 14, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up". Verse 16(1st phrase), "For God so loved the word, that he gave his only begotten Son". And now from the Greek Text, verse.13, "And no one hath gone up to heaven, except he who is in the heaven". Verse. 14, "And as Moses did lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so it behoveth the son of man to be lifted up". Verse. 16 (1st phrase), "For in this manner or way, God did so love the world, that His Son, the only begotten, He gave". Now continuing this format, we read from the King James Version, "verse. 15 and 16 (2nd phrase), "That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal everlasting life. And now from the Greek text, verses 15 and 16 (2nd phrase) "That (or in order that) every one who is believing in Him may not perish (be loosed), but may have life everlasting (without end)".
Now as we proceed in verse 13 with this word order we continue in the Greek grammar, as we note the Greek adjectival pronoun,"oo∑ thees", rendered "no one", as it is used for negating a referent, thus "no other" or "no one other than" He (the Son of man) who is in the heaven, that is, already "ahn∑ ahv∑ ehv∑ eek∑ ehn", (ascended) is born or renewed. Therefore, in verse 14, only He (Jesus) can be or should be exalted. Here the basic theme is that which is "eep∑ so∑ sehn", rendered "lifted up on high" or "exalted above all". So the metaphorical reference to the occurrence of the brass serpent in the wilderness, actually avers to the fact that, (from the Greek Text) "oo∑ tos eep∑ so∑ thee∑ neh thee ton yee∑ on too ahnth∑ ro●poo", translated, "In this manner (it is necessary) that the Son of man be lifted up (or exalted). Thus from the Greek Text (1st phrase of verse 16), "oo-tos gahr ee∑ gah∑ pee∑ seen o Theh∑ os ton kos∑ mos os∑ teh ton yee∑ on ton mono∑ yeh∑ nee eh∑ tho∑ kehn", rendered, "in this way or manner God did so love the world, that His son, the only begotten, He gave". So the cause or reasoning for what God had provided for deliverance and salvation is now clearly set forth and that is Jesus, the Son of Man, the only begotten one uniquely born or birthed from above; was given as a ransom for those who will be saved.
Now we pose the basic question, "Is this remedy of deliverance and salvation provided for everyone"? Many ministries preach and teach that it is, but here we observe the fact that the remedy of the bass serpent was defiantly not for everyone! It was exclusively effective for only those in the camp; Godís elect Israel. No gentile could have benefited from this provision in the wilderness, as the context in Numbers 21:6-9 makes it very plain that it was confined to "the people of Israel" (Numbers 21:6). The basic question now expands and may be posed in this manner, did Jesusí usage of the term "the world", entail a prophetic revelation to Nicodemus namely, that the exclusive provision of the type (bass serpent) in the wilderness now provide for direct inclusion of the Gentiles? The obvious answer has to be no! It is necessary for one to know the context of Jesusí revelation to the Apostle Paul to understand that it is not possible if Paulís testimony is to be accepted (Ephesians 2:11-19, 3:1-8). Thus, direct salvation for the Gentiles was a hidden fact until God revealed it to the Apostle Paul.
So what or who was Jesus referring to in the context as He spoke to Nicodemus concerning "the world" in John 3:16? Now as we continue to note, Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a Scribe, thus one very well versed in the Law and covenants that God had made with His sanctified people, Israel. In this light, it is inconceivable that Jesus would casually mention the inclusion of the provisions of salvation to Jews and Gentiles alike without some specific excursus on the matter. Such a profound statement would have required some special prophetical declaration or at least an explanation. It is by and through the ordinances of the Law and Abrahamís decree, that Israel had always been directed "to be separated" from all Gentile Nations. Thus it would seem that Nicodemus would not construe Jesusí terminology "the world" to include those outside of the world of His elect people Israel, who alone had claim to "the God of Israel".
As we continue our exegesis in light of the context, we note that the Greek noun"ton kos∑ mon" translated "the world", as used in this verse would be out of harmony with the scope and meaning of the passage if its reference were to all who believe (Jews and Gentile). Thus as Jesus makes the statement, Gentiles are not included because salvation at this point historically speaking, had not been directly offered to the Gentiles. Now we have all heard this statement, "surely, world means world, that means you, me and everybody". In reply to this, our suggestion is to take a Bible Concordance and look up the word "world" and then read carefully the various scriptural passages in which the term "world" (as a translation of kosmos) occurs. In doing this, one will quickly perceive that ascertaining the precise meaning of the word "world" in any given passage; is not nearly as easy as one might otherwise suppose.
Those who attempt this exercise will find that the Greek word"kos∑ mos" and its English translation "world" are not used with a uniform significance in the New Testament. Actually "kos∑ mos" (world) is used in quite a number of different ways. For example, we refer to a few passages where this term occurs (from the KJV): (1) In Acts 17:24, "kos∑ mos", (world) is used in reference to the universe as a whole. (2) In John 13:1, "kos∑ mos" is used in reference to the earth. (3) In Ephesians 1:4, "kos∑ mos" is used to reference creation. (4) In John 12:31, "kos∑ mos" is used in reference to the world system. (5) In Romans 3:19, it is used in reference to the entire human race. (6) In John 15:18, and Romans 3:6, it is used in reference to humanity excluding believers. (7) In Romans 11:12, "kos∑ mos" is used to reference Gentiles as contrasted from Jews. (8) In John 1:29, 3:16,17; 6:33; 12:47; I Corinthians 4:9; II Corinthians 5:19, "kos∑ mos" is used in reference to believers only. (9) In Romans 3:6, "kos∑ mos" is obviously used in reference to unbelievers, because believers will not be judged (condemned)!
Thus it is demonstrated from the examples given that"kos∑ mos" (world) has several different clearly defined meanings in the New Testament. So the question may be asked, has the Holy Spirit allowed the usage of a word to confuse and confound those who read the scriptures? The answer to this and any other questions of this nature is absolutely no! Note, as we have said, and here we again implore all of God's people; "the word of God can not be understood by merely academically reading it, but it must be prayerfully studied or scrutinized to be spiritually comprehended (II Timothy 3:15). Now this automatically eliminates those who are not recipients of the Holy Spirit for He (alone) is the teacher. Also the scriptures are not written for those who are too lazy or too dilatory or too busy with the things of this world, such that they have little or no time and no heart to "search and study" the Holy writings (John 5:39). Now the next question is, "How is one who searches the scriptures and know the relevant meanings of the term "kos∑ mos" (world); to determine its application in any given verse of scripture? The key word is contextual. This may be ascertained by a careful study of the context, by diligently noting what is predicated of "the world" in each passage, and by prayerfully cross referencing other parallel passages to the one being studied.
Now as we return to our base text, the1st phrase of John 3:16, note again the Greek adjectival adverb "oo∑ tos" rendered "in this manner (or way). Observe its three-fold functions; first as a combination with reference to what precedes it (verses 13 and 14) with a correlation to produce a comparison in reference to it, and finally to introduce that which follows it. Thus we proceed in this way as we note the Greek noun "O Theh∑ os" rendered "God", as it is in the nominative case (subject of the sentence). So the principle thought of the phrase is that God "ee ∑ gah∑ pee∑ seen" translated "loved" "ton kos∑ mos" translated "the world". But it is clear who is identified in this context as evidenced by the selective reference to Israel as Godís exclusive elect in the wilderness in the companion verses of 13 & 14. So it follows that "ton kos∑ mos" in John 3:16, would identify and be confined to Godís elect, the world of believers.
Thus God in the manner historically documented in the wilderness, did so love"ton kosmos" (the world (of His elect), os●teh (that), "ton Yee∑ on" (His Son), ton mo∑ no∑ yeh∑ nee" (the only begotten) "eh∑ tho∑ kehn" (He gave or granted). Now observe that the principal subject of John 3:16 is Christ as the gift of God. Note that this phrase identifies what moved God to "give or grant" His only begotten Son and that was His great love. But the underlying questions are (1) whom did God love so much? and (2) for whom did He give His "only begotten Son"? Now it is essential to understand that the "the world" in John 3:16, refers to "the world of believers" (Godís elect) in contradiction from the world of the ungodly (II Peter 2:5) or the world of unbelievers (John 15:18; Romans 3:6). So the term "world" is unequivocally established by a comparison of the other passages which speak of Godís" love". Note in Romans 5:8, it states (KJV), "God commendeth His love toward us in that while we (Godís elect) were yet sinner, Christ died for us (Godís elect). In Hebrews 12:6-8, it states, (6) "for whom the Lord loveth He "peh∑ thehv∑ ee" (chasteneth and instructs through disciplining) and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth (the elect). (7) "If you "eep∑ om∑ ehn∑ o" (endure or abide under) chastening, God dealeth "pros∑ phehr∑ o" ( dealeth or bring unto) with you as with sons; for what son is he whom a father chasteneth not? (8) But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are "meht∑ o∑ khos" (partners or participators) or partakers, then are you bastards, "no∑ thos", (illegitimate or rejected) and not sons. In I John 4:19, it states, we (Godís elect) love Him because He first loved us (Godís elect).
So what is Godís relationship to the world? Consider John 15:18-19 wherein it states (from the King James Version),(18) "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you". (19) "If you were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, therefore the world hateth you. In I John 2:15, it states "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him". Is it conceivable that God would not direct His elect to love that which He loves? I John 3:1states "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed (granted or given) "thee∑ tho∑ mee" upon us (Godís elect) that we should be called the Sons of God; therefore the world "knoweth ("yeen∑ os∑ ko") us not because it knew him not". Thus it is established that there is no form of intimacy between God and "the world". Accordingly, the usage of the term "kos∑ mos", (world) in John 3:16 unmistakably has reference to Godís own, (Godís elect), whom He loves and gave His only begotten son for, i.e., "the world of believers".
Now we turn to the effect, results or remedy that was provided by God for deliverance and salvation, in considering John 3:15 and the 2nd phrase of John 3:16. Note as we have stated, the wording in itís implied context is the same but the literal congruency is not exacting. In verse 15, the literal reading is"ee∑ nah pahs o peest∑ ehv∑ on ehn ahf∑ to eh∑ khee zo∑ een eh∑ o∑ yee∑ on", literally translated "that everyone who or is believing in Him, may in Him have eternal life". Notice that the clause "should not" or "may not perish"; does not actually appear in the Greek Text, but it is freely inserted by most translations because the context does indeed imply that which is not actually written.
Here the conjunction"ee∑ nah", rendered, "that" "or in order that", expresses the purpose or goal of the preceding verse or verses, in this case (verses 13 &14). Thus there was instant deliverance and salvation to those Israelites in the wilderness camp. Now again we stress the fact that this deliverance (salvation) was not applicable to "everyone" in the wilderness that was or may have been bitten by the serpent, but "only those Israelites" who were in the camp who looked upon the remedy of the bass serpent on the pole. Thus we now consider the Greek adjective "pahs", rendered, "whosoever" or whoever" and here we note what many Greek scholars either consciously or subconsciously but conveniently ignore and that is the definite article "o". Note "paths o", as structured with the definite article and followed by the substantive prepositional phrase, implies inclusion of all members or parts of a category. So "paths o", would be rendered "the whosoever" or "the entire or whole" or "everyone included in a group" or "everyone who". In addition to this, the Greek present participle "peest∑ ehv∑ on", rendered "believing", is in the active voice and its declension; nominative masculine, singular agrees with its descriptive Greek adjective (and definitive article) "pahs∑ o". Hence the translation would literally read, "in order that everyone who is believing". Now as we revert to the cause or reasoning aspect of the communication, we note that the message centers around obedience to the word of God (to focus on the bass serpent). Here in this verse, the focus shifts from the serpent on the pole that was raised to the Son of man who is exalted above the earth upon the cross of Calvary. Note this is substantiated by the Greek phrase "ehn ahfēto", rendered "in Him". Note the statement of Jesus in John 12:32-33 wherein He declares (KJV) (verse 32), "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" and (verse 33), "This he said, signifying what death he should die". Here it is documented that all who are to be delivered and saved (salvation) manifestly must be drawn to Him through the sacrificial offering by His crucifixion on Calvary (or the lifting up on high) of the Son of Man (Jesus).
Note the actual or literal Greek Text of John 12:32,"Kahg∑ o eh∑ ahn eep∑ so∑ tho ehk tees yees pahn∑ dahs ehl∑ kee∑ so pros ehm∑ ahf∑ ton" translated "For (when) I if I may be raised (lifted up high) from (above) the earth, will draw (drag) all (the elect) unto myself". Note the wording "all men", is not actually stated but the adjectival pronoun "pahn∑ dahs" (all or every) which is in the accusative case proceeds the Greek verb "ehl∑ kee∑ so" (to be lead by force or drag), thus the implication is all who may be (subjunctive mood) strongly pulled and attracted (compelled) by Him, unto Him. Observe the indicative mood (it is a fact) and future tense of the verb "ehl∑ kee∑ so", (will draw or drag); it connotes Godís action as a result of His propitiating sacrifice or status of being lifted or exalted above the earth. Now again, it is in Him. So John 3:15, without a doubt has reference to the elect of God identified by the antecedent verses 13 and 14, which is exclusively designated to those Israelites in the wilderness.
Now we focus on the effect or results or the remedy of the 2nd phrase of John 3:16, as we note the literal Greek wording;"ee∑ nah pahs o pee∑ stehv∑ on ees ahf∑ ton mee ahp∑ ol∑ ee∑ teh ahll eh∑ khee zo∑ een eh∑ o∑ nee∑ on" translated "that whosoever believeth (everyone who is believing) may not perish (be loosed) but have life unending (eternal).
Here again note the conjunction"ee∑ nah" rendered "that" or "in order that", as it expresses the introduction of the resulting clauses, which expresses the purpose or goal of the 1st phrase antecedent context. So the key question is, what is the actual context? Now again, to insure exegetical accuracy, we apply the three fold principles of scrutiny, namely grammatical, historical and contextual. In the grammatical sense, we note that the structure of the Greek adjective "pahs∑ o" is in the same format as we previously viewed in verse 15, i.e., it carries the definite article. Thus "pahs o", would likewise, as in the case of verse 15, imply inclusion of all members of a certain category.
Hence the translation would be literally, "the whosoever" or "the entire or whole" or "everyone of a kind or group (the elect), which entails "all who believe" or "everyone who is believing." Historically speaking, this would be confined to Israel. If we consider the prophetical aspect, it would be confined to "all believers" or "those who are caused to believe" or "the elect of God", for no man can receive God on the basis of his own initiative, as indeed God must initiate this belief. Contextually speaking, it is demonstrated by the facts of all that are conveyed in this passage; that the contents entail private communication between the Lord Jesus and one named Nicodemus. All the accommodations and provisions elaborated upon in the context; are in accordance with the conditions defined by the covenant relationship that God established with His elect people Israel; thus "whosoever" would be relegated to "all those who believe", who would be "all those who are called". In the case of Israel (Jews), God determines all who are born into the commonwealth of Israel as evidenced by the inclusion of Isaac and Jacob and the exclusion of Ishmael and Esau as the elect of God. Nicodemus very clearly knew and understood that the identity of "the world " and "whosoever" would be confined to Godís elect people (Israel). Likewise "the world" and "whosoever" in this dispensational age (grace) would be confined to God's elect people (the Church) or those who are determined by God to be birthed (new birth) into the Body of Christ (Eph. 1:4).
Thus, God determines those of us who are to believe in Jesus Christ; whom God has given for us, even to us to accept the gift and answer the intention of the giver, who alone has effectuated this exclusive remedy of salvation. Now it is a fact as conveyed by the clearly defined remedy, the expressed latter ensign of Jesus Christ, the Son of Man, who replaces the former insignia of the bass serpent, that those (the whoever) believing on Him shall not perish (be loosed). Note again the participle verb"pee∑ stehv∑ on", translated "is believing". It is in the present tense and active voice, which defines continuous action in the present. Thus, faith (belief and trust) is manifested by the recipient of Godís grace in a two-fold manner. First, the gift of deliverance is provided by God through the Son of Man (Jesus Christ). Secondly, the gift of faith is also provided by God to believe upon the only remedy for salvation. Hence, the exercise of saving faith is expressed through the usage of the Greek preposition "ees", in the accusative case as it denotes God (even Christ) as the direct object of salvation. So the Greek phrase "peest∑ ehv∑ on ees ahf∑ ton" rendered "is believing in Him", denotes ones reliance on God to provide confidence for belief (Mark 9:23-24).
Now in examining the contrasting resulting effects of belief and unbelief, note the aorist tense and subjunctive mood of the Greek verb"ahpo∑ lee∑ teh" augmented by the negative participle "mee" rendered "may not perish" or "may not be loosed". Here again we have the iffy status of the subjunctive mood conjunctively guided by the aorist tense, which conclusively connotes a completed action in the past. This is verified by the strong adversative conjunction "ahll" rendered "but", which indicates strong contrast, difference and limitation or an introduction to an exception or exemption; then "ahll" (ahllah) could also be expressed "rather" or "however". This Greek conjunction thus serves as a bridge to change the thought direction from the preceding to the succeeding situation. Consequently those who "are believing", do not perish; rather they "eh∑ khee zo∑ een eh∑ o∑ nee∑ on" translated "may have life everlasting" (without end). Note again that the iffy connotation of the subjunctive mood of the Greek verb "eh∑ khee", is conjunctively guided by the present tense; denoting the present continuous position of eternal security, which is realized by all of Godís elect. It infers a close everlasting relationship engendered with the possession of spiritual blessings that are exclusively enjoyed by those who are favored by God. Here the active voice connotes Godís grace that is bestowed upon Godís people. Thus, the sacrificial death of Jesus insures that everyone who is believing (or caused to believe) in Him will not perish or be loosed from Him, but will (not many) have (possess, own and enjoy) life without end. God eternally purposed this position (in Him, in Christ) for His elect only.
This is further illustrated by the succeeding verses and that is the contents of verses 17-21. Here we read John 3:17 from the King James Version, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved". And now from the Greek Text, "For God did not send His Son to the world that He may judge the world, but that the world may be saved through Him". Note in light of our context, it is explicitly stated that Godís reason for sending His Son ("ees", preposition accusative) "to" the world (of believers); was not to judge or condemn the world (of believers) but He sent Him for the purpose that the world (of believers) may be delivered or saved through Him. Now the Greek verb "ahp∑ ehs∑ teel∑ ehn (ahp∑ os∑ tehl∑ o) is translated "to send away". It denotes a commission or one who is sent with authority for a purpose. Here the indicative mood and aorist tense of this Greek verb document the fact that it is a completed action that occurred in a past period. Thus God in eternity, commissioned His Son (Jesus) to "so∑ thee" rendered "save, preserve from harm or rescue", His elect, the world of believers as determined exclusively by Him. This is confirmed by the aorist tense and passage voice of this Greek verb, which documents that this past completed action, was conferred upon the world (of believers) at a previous point. Thus God, through the giving His Son, shows that He purposed salvation in eternity, not the destruction of the world (of believers); nevertheless, those who donít receive His provision of salvation must necessarily perish because Jesus is the only remedy for sin.
This is expressed in John 3:18, as we read from the King James Version, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God". Now from the Greek Text, "He who is believing in Him is not judged, but he who is not believing hath been judged already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God". Note the key Greek verbs in this verse, first the participle"peest∑ ehv∑ on" (he is believing) and "kree∑ neh∑ teh" (kree∑ no) (judged or condemned). In the first phrase, they are present-active, nominate-masculine-singular and indicative-present-pasive-3rd person singular respectively. Now observe the verbs in the latter phrase of this verse, namely "keh∑ ree∑ teh", (determine, decide or judge) and "pehp∑ ees∑ tehf∑ kehn" (believed, trusted, convinced or confidence), as they are both indicative perfect 3rd person singular, but passive and active voices respectively. Now if we accurately utilize the Greek grammar of this verse (John 3:18), then the context will automatically align itself in a consistent manner. Note that the Greek word order in this verse certainly is in harmony with the historical and contextual contents of those truths that are previously conveyed in this passage. Observe that the focal points are belief, trust and confidence, thus faith or the lack of it on the one hand, verses judgment and condemnation or the lack of it as it has been previously determined decided and judged in the past. Some are going to take serious issue with the premise that this was all adjudicated in eternity, but this verse as well as the entire passage consistently authenticates the sovereignty of Godís choice and election through His foreknowledge, predestination, call (summons), justification, and glorification (Rom 8:30).
Here note the Greek phrase"o peest∑ ehv∑ on ees ahf∑ ton oo kree∑ neh∑ teh" rendered "he who is believing (present tense) in Him, is not judged" (present-indicative). So it is a present fact that the condition of believing is positively linked with the status of one who is not condemned (or negatively judged). Note the passive voice of the Greek verb "kree∑ neh∑ teh" (condemnation) as it conveys the thought that an outside agent (God) made the evaluation (innocence or guilt) based on the recipientís trust in Jesus. Thus it follows that the determination of ones status would necessarily be conditioned upon the determination of oneís condition (belief, trust). This is further demonstrated by the continuation of the next Greek phrase "o theh mee peest∑ ehv∑ on ee∑ thee keh∑ kree∑ teh" rendered "but he who is not believing has been judged already". Here note the structure of the definite article "o" as it is used to form the participle into a relative clause as its coordinating counterpart "theh" co-joins it. The conjunction "theh" is most commonly used to denote continuation and further thought development; taking its specific flow from the context, which in this case denotes contrast; accordingly it is rendered "but". Thus in contrast, he who is "mee peest●ehv∑ on", (not believing), notice the present tense; is "ee●thee keh∑ kree∑ teh" rendered "already condemned". Here note that the Greek adverb "ee∑ thee" literally rendered "of time", "by this time" or "already"; modifies the verb "keh∑ kree∑ teh" rendered "determined or decided". Thus the one, who is not believing, has already been determined (to be negatively judged or guilty), as conveyed by the perfect tense. Now the perfect tense defines a completed action in the past with the results of that action continuing until the present. Hence the determination of judgment (condemnation) in the past; is linked with the determination of the continuous action of unbelief in the present.
Now we move to the conclusive Greek phrase in this verse,"o∑ tee mee peh∑ pees∑ tehf∑ kehn ees to on∑ om∑ ah too mon∑ oyehn∑ oos yee∑ oo too Theh∑ oo", rendered "because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God". Here this phrase sums up the preceding two statements (phrases) in this verse. First we note the Greek conjunction "o∑ tee", rendered, "because" or "since" or for (this reason), as it is used to introduce a cause or reason based on an evident fact. Thus the thought is conveyed of one who has "mee peh∑ pees∑ tehf∑ kehn", rendered "not believed" or "not trusted" or "has not been convinced" and does not have any confidence in ("ees) the "on∑ om∑ ah (name) of "too mono yeh noos yee∑ oo too Theh∑ oo", rendered "the only begotten Son of God". Now this occurs Ďaccording to" or as "a result of" or "because of", a prior determination and the resulting effect as expressed in the antecedent phrases in this verse as well as the entire preceding verses of this context. Again this is substantiated and confirmed by the perfect tense as it defines a completed action in the past with the results of the action continuing until the present.
The next two verses in the context (John 3:19-20) give demonstrative testimony to the state and status of those who are the non-elect of God as we read first from the King James Version, (19) "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil". (20) "For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deed should be reproved". Now from the Greek Text, (19) "And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world (of unbelievers) and men, the (non elect), did love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil". (20) "for every one who is doing wicked things hateth the light and doth not come unto the light, that his work may not be detected (condemned)". We now observe the pre-arranged state and status of the non elect or permanently unregenerated mankind as we note in verse 19 the Greek phrase "eegah∑ pee∑ sahn ee ahn∑ thro∑ pee mahl∑ lon to sko∑ tos ee to phos", rendered "men did love the darkness rather than the light". Here we focus on the main verb of this phrase, "ee∑ gah∑ pee∑ sahn", rendered "did love". Notice the indicative mood and aorist tense as it speaks of the fact that this love for darkness over light was a (one time) completed action in the past that was determined and attributed to those who are eternally lost. This was all implemented through the fall of mankind, thus these are the ones who have not been ordained to receive Godís mercy (Acts 13:48). Now this is manifested by the Greek phrase "een gahr ahf∑ ton pon∑ ee∑ rah tah ehr∑ gah", translated "for their works, were evil. Note the Greek verb "een", rendered "were", as it is expressed in the indicative mood and imperfect tense. Here we observe that the imperfect tense denotes continuous action in the past, thus it is a fact that evil works or deeds were previously assigned to those who "love darkness rather than light", and this "ehs∑ teen" "is" the basis of the "kree∑ sees" judgment or condemnation (note the present tense and indicative mood). Now this is the underlying fact governing those who are lost and will perish.
This is further illustrated in the 20th verse by the Greek phrase"pahs gahr o phahv∑ lah prahs∑ son mee∑ see to phos keh ook ehr∑ kheh∑ teh pros to phos", rendered "for every one (or all of a kind) who is doing evil things hateth the light and does not come into the light". This is pre-conditionally true of all men (by the nature of Adam total depravity) but note the Greek verbal expression "ook ehr∑ kheh∑ teh", rendered "does not come". This verb is in the indicative mood (it is a fact) and, present tense and the middle or passive voice that indicates an outside agent (Satan the devil) is the influence, directing the lost away from the light (II Corinthians 4:3-4). Thus those who are lost, practice their deeds of wickedness in darkness. The obvious reason for this is expressed by the Greek phrase "ee∑ nah mee eh∑ lehgkh∑ tee tah ehr∑ gah ahfton" translated "that his works may not be detected or exposed and reproved". Here we note that the Greek verb "eh●lehgkh∑ thee" rendered "detected" or Ďexpressed", as it is in the subjunctive mood and aorist tense. Here the "iffy" connotation of the subjunctive mood speaks of the inactiveness of God in dealing with the present condemned acts of the lost, non-elect in this age. The Apostle Paul states in Hebrews 12:8 (KJV), "But if ye be without chastisement (correction), whereof all (the elect) are partakers, then are ye ("noth∑ os") bastards and (illegitimate) and not sons (or children of God)".
This is the reason why the gospel is directed exclusively to and will draw only the elect of God. One of the designs of the gospel is to reprove, rebuke, chasten or chastise its recipients. The gospel causes condemnation upon the consciences of those who receive its message as it convicts the elect of sin because the sinner must be convicted or convinced of sin in order to be saved. Now Godís inactivity regarding the wicked affairs or workings of men in this age should never be construed to mean that He is apathetic to evil deeds. All that is not dealt with in this age; will surely be addressed in the ages to come. There is no escape from the righteous judgments of God. Only those who are drawn to Godís only remedy for salvation, Jesus Christ; will avoid the eternal justice (condemnation) that has been assigned to the lost (non -elect).
Now as we move to the final verse of our context (John 3:21), we read first from the King James Version,(21) "But, he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God". Now from the Greek Text, (21) "But he who is doing the truth, doth come to the light, that his works may be made manifested, that in God they are having been wrought". Here we note the conclusive statement of this verse as it confirms the factuality of Godís contrasting relationship with His elect as it is distinguished from those not called by Him. Now this verse does not begin with the strong adversative conjunction "allah", rendered "but" however the Greek phrase "o theh pee∑ on" is grammatically constructed to be translated "but he who is doing". Here again as in verse 18, the Greek definite article "o" (nominative, masculine, singular) is placed before the conjunction particle "theh", to denote continuation and further thought development, taking it specific sense from the context as it is contrasted from the antecedent verses 19 and 20, thus the implied counterpoint could be expressed by the English word "but". So those or he who "pee∑ on"; here the Greek verbal participle is translated "is doing", "teen ah●lee∑ thee∑ ahn" rendered "the truth", "ehr kheh∑ teh pros to phos" rendered "doth come to the light".
Observe the indicative mood, present tense and passive voice of the verb"ehr∑ kheh∑ teh" rendered "does come", as it conveys the fact that those who do come (present tense), are drawn by an outside agent (note the passive voice), who is God (John 6:44). Thus the one, who comes to the light, is doing or loves the truth. The truth (teen ahl∑ ee∑ thee∑ ahn) is defined as the word of God (John 17:17). Now the results are expressed in the final Greek phrase, namely, "ee∑ nah phah∑ nehr∑ o∑ thee ahf∑ too tah ehr∑ gah o∑ tee ehn Theh∑ o ehs∑ teen eer∑ gahs∑ meh∑ nah" rendered, "that his works may be manifested that in God they are having been wrought". Here the Greek verb "pah∑ neh∑ ro∑ thee" translated "manifested" is in the subjunctive mood (iffy condition) but it is guided by the aorist tense, which connotes that the revelation or manifestation of righteous deeds are causative, i.e., made known or are caused to be by an agent outside of the believer (passive voice). The Greek conjunction "o∑ tee" rendered "that", is used declaratively to form a direct assertion.
This assertion or perception is that it is"eer∑ gahs∑ meh∑ nah" rendered "wrought" or "accomplished" or "activated", "ehn Theh∑ o" translated "in God". Note the verb participle "eer∑ gahs●meh●nah" (accomplished) as it is in the perfect tense and the passive voice. The perfect tense denotes completed action in the past that is continuous in the present. The passive voice denotes that an agent outside of the believer (God) has accomplished that which bring us to the light. Accordingly all the contents of John 3:1-21, give consistent testimony and documentation to the sovereignty of Godís eternal choice and election of individual (believers) to salvation. All who will consider these writings of John without proclivity will understand that the contents therein thoroughly authenticate the Doctrine of Election.