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“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 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” (John3:14-18).

The above passage of Scripture records the words of Jesus Christ as part of a conversation that He was having with a religious man, named Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jews.

The conversation started out by Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night (probably because he did not want to be seen by his peers, the Pharisees who were the enemies of Jesus, and rejected Him as their Messiah/King).

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However, Nicodemus, in hearing about the miracles that Jesus was performing, wanted to learn more about Him. Approaching Jesus, he said, “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” (John 3:2).

Jesus responded by explaining to Nicodemus that in order for one to see or enter into the kingdom of God, they “must be born again.” These are Jesus’ very words (John 3:7) The verses that I have used above are a further explanation of this decree by Jesus Christ.

It seems that many have the idea of a universal salvation (that is, that all men/mankind are automatically saved by the love of God and/or the sacrifice of Jesus Christ). But the Bible does not teach that!

Notice in the verses above there are two classes of people; those who believe and those who do not believe. It is clear that only those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who gave His life on the cross, have eternal life.

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Listen to the words of John the Baptist in the closing verse of chapter three of the Gospel of John,

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Jesus came to save sinners from eternal death (condemnation) “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: … For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; … For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 3:10, 23; 6:23).

Sin separates us from God who is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Isaiah 6:2). Sin is the ruination of creation. It is the root cause of every problem in the world. God will one day restore creation to its original state before sin entered in; a place where there will be no more death, sorrow, sickness, or anything that causes fear or sadness or interferes with love, joy, and peace.

But first, He must remove sin. This can only be done through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross as payment for our sins. The fact of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead proves God’s acceptance of His sacrifice for us.

The bad news is that all are under condemnation for sin. The good news is that God, in His love for us, offered Jesus Christ, ”… that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

However, this offer can only be received through personal faith (believing) in Jesus Christ, as the Son of God who is the propitiation (satisfying God’s demand as payment of our sins). “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

This article originally ran on argusobserver.com.

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