We see it plastered on billboards, painted on signs being waved by fans in football stadiums and also on some of the players’ faces. It’s one of the first verses we memorize as children in Sunday school. Most Americans have been exposed to what I believe is the most important verse in the Bible–John 3:16.
It’s so familiar, there is a danger in missing its rich meaning. For years, I thought I understood what it meant. Well, at least I had it memorized. I was first introduced to it by my believing grandmother and the teachers and preachers at the First Baptist Church in Mobeetie, Texas. But I didn’t really know it until about ten years ago.
Let’s take a few moments to savor this wonderful verse. The words are the very words of Jesus sharing the good news of the gospel of grace with Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews:
Father God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world so that He could die on a cross for the sins of mankind. And He did it because He loves the human race. In fact, He created us for the sheer purpose of pouring Himself–His eternal life and love–into us.
But He does not force Himself on anyone. He gives everyone a choice whether or not to believe in Him. So today, we are going to focus on the phrase, “believeth in him.” What does it mean to believe in Jesus? For every person born into this world, answering this question and actively responding to it will mean the difference in eternal life and eternal death.
That’s a heavy statement, but really very simple.
The English word believeth comes from the Greek word pisteuō and means “to think to be true; to be persuaded of.” The word in comes from the Greek word eis and means “entrance into a place; literally into.” So in in this context actually means “into.”
If you think like I used to, you think believing in Jesus means you believe He existed and what He said is true. But a person can believe Jesus was a real historical figure and that some or all of His words are true without personally experiencing His life and love.
When a person believes in Jesus, what they are really doing is believing into Him. They literally and actually enter into His very life. His eternal–no beginning or ending–life. When a person believes into Jesus, they are saying they want Jesus’ life living in them. As a nine-year-old, I described it as “asking Jesus to come live in my heart.”
Jesus has lived in my heart (my spirit) since the fall of 1974, but it is because my spirit was immersed into His Spirit. The following verses emphasize our being immersed into Christ when we believe in (into) Him. All of the italics were added by me:
- “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4 NASB).
- God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom. By him we are put right with God; we become God’s holy people and are set free (1 Corinthians 1:30 GNT).
- Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17 GNT).
- It is through faith that all of you are God’s children in union with Christ Jesus. You were baptized into union with Christ, and now you are clothed…with the life of Christ himself (Galatians 3:26-27 GNT).
- In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation–having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13 NASB).
- He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins (Colossians 1:13-14 NLT).
- He has now reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault (Colossians 1:22 NLT).
- In Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is head over every ruler and authority (Colossians 2:9-10 NLT).
Every one of these verses highlights the believer being baptized into, united with, joined to, or brought into Christ. So I hope it’s obvious that believing in Jesus isn’t just an intellectual assent, but an action where you believe yourself right into the very life of Christ–life eternal. And once you are in Christ, you can’t disbelieve yourself out of Him. It’s a done deal (John 10:28; Hebrews 13:5). Now that’s the good news of the gospel of grace that Jesus shared with Nicodemus in John 3:16.
In today’s post, I shared the most important verse in the Bible along with additional verses to enrich its meaning. Dear reader, I would like to ask you the two most important questions you will ever respond to:
- Do you believe Jesus died for your sins so that you can enjoy eternal life in union with Him?
- Do you want to be immersed into His life and sealed in Him forever?
If you answered yes to both questions for the first time in your life, tell Father God right now that you believe and ask Him to seal you in His Son’s life forever.
If you asked Him–if you believed into Jesus–you can rest assured that you are in Christ and He is in you…forever. And thank God for His indescribable gift!!! (2 Corinthians 9:15).
I would love to rejoice with you if you believed into Christ through reading this post. You can let me know in a private message through emailing me or share your wonderful news below as a comment.
I also invite you to ask any questions you may now have about your new life in Christ. I would be honored to help you grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18 NASB). If I don’t know the answers, I will seek the One who does in my response to you.
Until next time,
P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want to know more about me and the types of content I will be posting, please visit my About Page.
MY CONTACT INFORMATION:
Kim K. Francis
P.O. Box 357
Perryton, TX 79070