John 3:16 book

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Re: John 3:16 book

Post by mattrose » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:44 pm

Chapter 7 LIFE

The word ‘life,’ by itself, can mean a lot of things. It can refer to an unborn baby, an insurance policy, a kind of cereal, a board game, a prison sentence, etc. It really does depend on the context.

The immediate context of our last keyword is the word eternal. The kind of life that will be given to those who believe in Jesus is an eternal kind of life. Normally, people interpret this to mean simply life without end (KJV translates it ‘everlasting’), but the Greek word is a bit more complex.

In John 3:16, the word 'eternal' probably contains both a quantitative and qualitative sense. The life of John 3:16 is the life of the age to come. What marks the age to come for believers? Certainly it will last forever (the quantitative sense), but it will also be beautiful (the qualitative sense). It is good, of course, to have both. Living forever on this earth, as it now stands, would actually be a terrible fate. Living forever in hell, were that possible, would be even worse. The point is, living for an endless duration of time is only as good as the quality of life.

I think Eugene Peterson, in his The Message Bible, has captured the heart of John 3:16 very well, especially in regard to this last keyword. He writes:

This is how much God loved the world. He gave his son. His one and only son. And this is why. So that no one need be destroyed. By believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Whole and Lasting Life

I’ve got to be honest. I wasn’t always excited about heaven. As a younger Christian, I somehow got the impression that heaven was going to be like a really, really, REALLY long concert. I would be bodiless, yet somehow dressed in white, standing on a cloud, singing… forever.

I like to sing. It’d be really cool to stand on a cloud. But I really don’t want to do any one thing forever. When I thought of heaven in those terms, I honestly was afraid of getting bored in heaven. The concert might be lasting, but it’d hardly make me feel whole. There’s so much more to life!

As I grew in Christ by reading the Bible, I was happy to discover that God’s ideas for eternity are a lot bigger than what I had envisioned. God’s idea is resurrection, new earth, productivity, authority, and pure relationships! God’s idea is all the truly good that I experience in my life right now, without all the bad.

I remember one time I was preparing a sermon about heaven. As part of my preparation, I read through some descriptions of heaven written by the children in our church family. One of them simply said, “Heaven will be like Florida.” That little boys’ family goes to Florida each year and, to him, it is paradise on earth. He’s off to a much better start when it comes to thinking about heaven. In fact, if we want to understand the quality of life that God has in store for humans in the future, we should begin by examining the quality of life that god created for humans in the past… the original paradise on earth.

A Fruitful Life

If we want to understand the quality of life that God has in mind for humans in the new creation, then we should consider the qualities of life that God included in the original creation. We read about this in the first chapters of the first book of the Bible… Genesis.

God’s first words to Adam and Eve were, “be fruitful.” The original command certainly had to do with physical procreation. Adam and Eve were to have children and populate the planet. They were to increase in number and fill the earth.

Most people don’t imagine physical procreation as being part of the future paradise we are to inherit, but it seems to me that fruitfulness will indeed be a mark of the new earth. Whatever we will set out to do there, will come to fruition.

Do you enjoy gardening? Adam was placed in charge of the Garden of Eden. Can you imagine the privilege of working the most beautiful garden in the world? And this was before The Fall (when the ground was cursed and made gardening burdensome)… imagine how beautiful it would be to work in such a garden and to know that the seed you plant will blossom more beautifully that you can even anticipate!

If you don’t like gardening, what do you like to do? So long as your interests are pure, they can exist eternally. I think we’ll be the good kind of busy for all eternity. We’ll have hobbies and responsibilities. We’ll not only finish projects (my wife can't wait!), but we’ll be amazed how they flourish.

Authority over Nature

After the command to be fruitful, God told Adam and Eve to subdue the earth and rule over all other living creatures. Essentially, God gave humans great authority over creation.

Now, some Christians have misunderstood what this means. It doesn’t mean to dominate creation and use it however we wish for our personal benefit. It does mean that we are responsible over and for creation. We are to be leaders in creation.

What will this look like on the New Earth?

Do you enjoy getting out in nature? Have you seen the natural wonders of the world? Most of us are prevented from exploring the beauty of creation to the degree that we would like because of our limitations and circumstances. But if those limitations and circumstances are removed, as they will be, we will be free to explore. And why stop with earth? I see no reason why we won’t explore God’s entire universe!

Are you an animal lover? Can you imagine being able to play with small and large animals alike without any fear of violence? In the original Paradise, Adam was able to interact with all the animals and was given the authority to name each kind.

The first couple was given the authority to eat certain components of creation. Can you imagine what food must taste like in a perfect world? These thoughts are only scratching the surface of what our authority will make possible in God’s restored Paradise.

Pure Relationships

This is where I get real excited. We’ve been thinking about how Adam and Eve enjoyed the original paradise, but it is interesting to note that Adam was made first. God did this, it seems, so that Adam would realize that something… someone… was missing from creation. It was not good for man to be alone.

After history’s first surgery, Adam’s eyes opened to see a beautiful woman staring back at him. He knew that she was a part of him. He longed to be re-united with his missing part. They longed to be one.

Church people don’t really like to talk about it much, but Adam and Eve didn’t originally wear clothes! They walked around naked. Why? Why not? They had no reason to cover up. They had no reason to hide anything from each other. They were shameless in a good way.

After they sinned, they realized they were naked and began to cover up. Their intimacy was broken. They were ashamed in a bad way. Before they ever hid from God, they began to hide from each other. And we’ve been following suit ever since.

One of the most exciting realities of eternity is the restoration of this original intimacy. I don’t know if we’ll be nudists, but I do know that we’ll be free to be open and honest with each other. The intimacy that we now experience in part with a small number of people, we’ll be able to experience in full with everyone! Not only will that take forever, but it’ll be beautiful beyond words!


Rather that singing an endless song as a disembodied soul on a cloud in the sky, I will spend eternity being fruitful in all I do, having authority over creation, and experiencing pure relationships on the New Earth. It will be everything beautiful about this life… amplified… and without any of the bad. As the popular song says, we can only begin to imagine the beauty of that future paradise. But by all means begin!

And you know what? We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet! Far greater than being personally fruitful in my activities… far greater than having authority over a pure and perfect new creation… far greater even than experiencing the beauty of pure relationships with redeemed humanity… is the fact that in that future paradise I will be in the direct presence of my God!

Even as I write this I find my fingers wanting to explode into the air in worship of the Father, Son, and Spirit.


I cannot wait see God’s beauty. I cannot wait to bask in God’s love. I cannot wait to experience the end of John 3:16. Our little key-word study has taken more than 10 seconds, but if it helped us to understand John 3:16 better… if it helped its message sink deep into our hearts… then it has been well worth the time it took.

So next time you a reference to John 3:16 at a ballgame, on a bumper, or in your Bible… take a few moments to praise God all over again.

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Re: John 3:16 book

Post by Singalphile » Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:57 pm

I've only read the BELIEVE chapter (so far). It is thought provoking and good. Nice work!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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Re: John 3:16 book

Post by mattrose » Fri Dec 14, 2012 1:54 pm

Thanks for the encouragement :)

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Re: John 3:16 book

Post by Bud » Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:25 pm

Thank you for posting your book here Matthew, I look forward to (God willing) giving out some copies and having a couple on my shelf ready to do the same with.
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard [it,] and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (NASB) :)

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