Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The John 3:16 Dilemma

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. – John 3:16-18

Today's Reading: 2 Kings 15-16; John 3:1-18


So this is one of those scriptures that have always been hard for me.

I love what it says for me. That’s great. But for those who aren’t a fan of Big Homie J…

Rough game man…

To be quite honest with you I still struggle with it until I remember that condemning others to eternal damnation is NOT MY JOB. But when I really think about it, my biggest struggles are with how folks use this scripture.

A couple weeks ago I was walking around during my lunch break in downtown LA. As I’m going about my business trying to come up on some good grubbery I see some dude holding a sign that says “John 3:16” on it. And on top of that he looks at me like I’m some kind of heathen with devil horns growing out of my fro.


In the past it used to hurt my feelings, but now it just pisses me off. This kind of behavior is what I was talking about with my last post on my pet peeves. I hate when the Bible is used as a weapon to condemn random pedestrians and the like.

I’ve been to many a Easter sermon where the preacher brings out the fire and brimstone and scares the hell out of everyone (pun intended). Then at the end of the sermon you have all kinds of folk walking up to the alter call, knees shaking, confessing their faith in Jesus.

If fear is the opposite of faith then how are these people “saved”. If you come to God out of a “if you can’t beat Him, then join Him” mind state… what do you really believe? Do you believe that you should live your life with Jesus as the example or are you just trying to get over?

Now I’m not saying that churches shouldn’t preach from this scripture, or that it should be hidden away from folks so that we can all feel warm and fuzzy… but I do wonder about this.

We are supposed to spread the Good News right? But is that what we are doing when we harass people on the street with this scripture, finger pointing, with mean grimaces on our faces?

I have no answers here… Just my thoughts…


  1. I feel you on this issue. I grew up in church and these were the types of people that pissed me off too.

    So deep, yet no love or compassion...

    Jesus came to seek and save the lost...not beat them up.

    From the time I was a teenager, I did a lot of street witnessing. But, it was never about hurting anybody. I was on fire and shared Christ with anyone who "wanted" to hear. For those who didn't, I shook the dust off...and kept rollin...with a smile on my face.

    What I discovered through meeting people on the street, and praying with them, was the ones who stayed in contact and who were discipled, they were the ones actually changed. Not necessarily the ones who read Romans 10:9,10 and recited it back to me.

    As for some coming out of fear, it may take that process to get them there. The Holy Spirit is the one who does the work to transform our lives and that's really none of my business...I don't know how He does it.
    But I'm sho nuff glad He does. :)


  2. I see what you mean about the fear aspect. It's just something that my small brain can't understand. I have idea how fear leads to faith. Maybe one day I'll get it but until then I don't believe it.

    But yeah.. nothing is impossible... I'm probably totally wrong on this one and that's ok.

  3. Man of God, I don't think its an issue of right or wrong. Its an issue of faith.

    For instance, Saul, before he was Paul was a hot mess. Yet he had an experience with God that he didn't even ask for. God had to knock him off his ass (donkey) and then blinded him.

    He was then given instructions of where to go and whom to go to. If he would have chosen not to go, his butt would have still been blind.

    I believe many people come to God with all kinds of crazy requests...and by faith, God will sometimes grant those desires to increase the faith of those who do come.

    Honestly, I believe anyone who comes out of fear, that's not really the bad part, its when they stay there deceived in believing that's all they had to do.

    Even worse, when there is no one to steer them in the right direction of faith in the word of God.

    That's why there are people such as yourself who will ask the hard questions.:)

    Much Love


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