|John 3 |
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 He came to Jesus at night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no man can do these miracles that you do, unless God is with him."
3 Then Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you that unless a man is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God."
4 Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
5 And Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you that unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.1
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell from where it comes, and where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
9 Then Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?"
10 And Jesus answered him, "Are you a teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
11 Truly, truly, I say to you: We speak what we know, and testify what we have seen; and you do not believe our testimony. [Not what we have been told by other men, not what we have read about; but what we know from experience of having seen. And Jesus further said: "whatever I speak is just as the Father tells me to speak. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of the One who sent him, that man is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him." John 12:50, 7:18.]
12 If I have told you about earthly things, and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 No man has ascended up to heaven, but he who has come down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven.
14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.
15 So that whoever believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him may have eternal life [of God]. [ Even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of the most High God, and they tremble. It is not enough to believe Jesus is the Son of God, you must expose yourself to hear His spoken commands and persistently believe Him, evidenced by your obedience. You can have eternal life if you patiently and persistently wait on God in humble silence, believe Jesus' spoken commands to you that you hear, and then obey what He commands, so that you eventually enter union with Him. From the Word of the Lord within: "What is the evidence of your belief? — operational faith." We must believe enough to seek to listen for, hear, and obey God's voice — and the evidence of our faith is to produce the fruit of the spirit, thus to show ourselves to be true followers of Christ; and the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness [or meekness or humility], and self-control. The branches that do not produce fruit are cast into the fire to be burned. John 15:6, Mat 7:19.]
16 For God so loved the world [every man] that he gave his only begotten Son [to every man], so that whoever believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him shall not perish, but have eternal life.2 [It is not enough to believe that Jesus is the Son of God; even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of the most High God, and they tremble. You must believe what Jesus, the light and word within your heart, shows and says to you; to believe what He says and shows to you is to believe in Jesus. Christ is the light given to every man so that he might believe. John 1:1-4,7,9. To believe is to believe what you hear Him speak to you; believe enough to heed and obey Jesus, who is the Word of God and light of the Word in each man's heart that anonymously reproves you, (and every man), of sin. As the companion verses below (19,20,21) say: "And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world (every man), but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds (sins) hates the light (so hates Christ, who is the light) and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed and reproved. But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God." To have eternal life is to have lost your fleshly life, having persistently believed and obeyed Jesus' spoken commands to you, so that you enter union with Him, to then obey His ordered deeds to His glory and your joy.]
17 For God did not send his Son into the world [every man] to condemn the world [every man]; but so that the world [every man] might be saved through him. [For the Son of man has not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. Luke 9:56. To be saved is to be freed from all sin; even the desire to sin is taken away.]
18 He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe [depend on, trust, obey] is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [Those who have received him in the light, believing in his name, have the power to become a son of God, John 1:12; but one must exercise that power by repetitively waiting, listening, hearing, believing, and obeying Christ the word and light within your heart. Just believing that Jesus is the Son of God does not yield escape from condemnation; even the demons believe that Jesus is the Son of the most High God, and they tremble. If you are still sinning, you are living in condemnation that came on all men when Adam fell and lost the life of God. Out of condemnation is to be free of all sin, in fellowship with the Son and the Father, and eating from the Tree of Life, with Jesus as your true Lord, supplying all your spoken words and directing all your deeds.]
19 And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world [every man], but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. [All men have a small measure of the light (Christ) that shines in the darkness within them to expose the evil in their hearts as it anonymously pleads with them to turn from their selfish, evil ways; but men, loving their evil ways, ignore the gentle pleadings of God and so remain in darkness, committing sin, walking according to their carnal mind and evil imagination. He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has one for his judge — the words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. John 12:48]
20 For everyone who does evil deeds [sins] hates the light [so hates Christ, who is the light] and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed and reproved. [The true light is given to every man who comes into the world so that he might believe. John 1:7,9. The light shines in darkness, but men do not understand that it is Christ anonymously reasoning with them, attempting to show (reprove) men for their evil. John 1:5, Eph 5:13. Loving their selfish life, and hating the Light (who is Christ) that attempts to correct (reprove) them, selfish men flee from the light (Christ) and so remain in condemnation, walking in darkness, continuing to sin, fulfilling the lusts and desires of their flesh.]
21 But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God." [Those who have been experiencing the Spirit's removal of sin from their hearts, love the light and eagerly come to the light for further destruction of sin. Those who have been freed from sin, eagerly come to the light to be directed by God to do works of love, to their joy and God's glory: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. Eph 2:10. A man comes to the light by waiting on God in humble silence, watching and listening in hope of change by Jesus. Those who come to the light, love Christ, as evidenced by their obedience to the truth of what the Light and Word reveals to them; and they come to see more light, which then guides them in all words and deeds.]
22 Now after these things, Jesus and his disciples went into the land of Judea; and there he remained with them, and baptized.
23 And John was also baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people came and were baptized.
24 For John had not yet been cast into prison.
25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
26 And they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, look, he baptizes, and all men are coming to him.3
27 And John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing, unless it is given to him from heaven.
28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.'
29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. This is my joy, and therefore it is fulfilled.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth is earthly, and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all.
32 And what he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no man receives [believes] his testimony.
33 He who has received his [Jesus'] testimony has set his seal that God is true.
34 For he whom God has sent, speaks the words of God; for God does not give the Spirit to him by measure.
35 The Father loves the Son, and has entrusted all things into his hand.
36 He who believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] the Son has everlasting life [of God]; and he who does not believe [depend on, trust, obey] the Son shall not see life [of God]; but the wrath of God remains on him." [To have eternal life is to have persistently believed and obeyed Jesus' spoken commands to you, so that you enter union with Him, to then obey His directed good works to his glory. If a man has any of worries, anger, wanting more, depression, lusts for sex, pride, envy, partying, filthy talk, lying, drunkenness, drug usage, etc., then whatever he may think about his being saved, he is not, and the wrath of God remains on him. To be saved, is to be delivered from all the those lusts, affections, and emotions of the flesh; and to have peace and joy forever, having been restored into the life and spiritual image of God in true holiness and righteousness.]
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1 Truly, truly, I say to you that unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. The water is not an outward water; it is a holy water that washes your inside and out; it is the spiritual water of the word. From George Fox's Letter 265.
"So Christ the light teaches his people to believe in the light which manifests all things; and they that believe in the light have the witness in themselves of Christ, in whom they believe. They have the witness in themselves, that he is their redeemer, and savior, and their way, their truth, and their life; for with the light they see him, they believing in the light that makes manifest; and after they believe in the light, become children of the light; they witness themselves, that they are sealed, for their belief in the light stands in Christ the light, who has bought and purchased them; and after they are sealed by the spirit of promise, having God's mark or stamp set upon them, they can set to their seal, that God is true in all his promises, in all his prophets concerning Christ Jesus; who taught them to believe in the light. With the light they see, and come to know the "three that bear record in heaven", and the "three that bear record on earth, the spirit the water, and the blood."
- First, the spirit that bears witness in the earth, which mortifies them, which circumcises them, which leads them into all truth; in which spirit is their fellowship, and a bond peace, that keeps down that which troubles them; by which spirit the believers are baptized into one body; brought out of the many bodies; and so by the spirit they are brought to the one head, who is Christ Jesus, (though there are many heads in the world), by which spirit they are sanctified, by which spirit they are instructed, by which spirit they worship God, by which spirit they are covered, by which spirit they pray, and by which spirit they sing praises to God who is a spirit, by which spirit they have an understanding, the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, which is to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent, which is eternal life.
- Secondly, They come to know the water which is a witness in the earth; by which they are washed, their minds, their souls, their spirits, and in their bodies, with this pure water. And this is a witness in the earth with the light; to those who believe in it, it manifests these two witnesses in the earth, and with the light they see the pope's counterfeit holy water, which he has set up since the apostles' days, who with the light bear witness against it, not to be God's witness, nor of God's setting up. And so the children of the light, who believe in the light, their bodies, their souls, their spirits, and their minds are washed clean in this pure, clean, holy water; that comes from above, from the pure holy God, which is one of these witnesses in the earth.
- The third witness is his blood, with which the hearts of people are sprinkled, and their consciences are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. As Moses sprinkled the outside of the posts, etc. with the blood of bulls and goats; which blood of bulls and goats, Christ's blood ends, which sprinkles the heart and conscience of people. So this blood of Jesus Christ, the heavenly man, is felt in the hearts and consciences of people; by which blood they are sanctified, they are cleansed from all their dead works, to serve the living God, and to serve their dead works no longer. So by this blood they are cleansed from all sin. Those who walk in the light, and believe in the light, they are children of the light, and children of the day; and the blood of Jesus Christ, the son of God, cleanses them from all sin; and their garments are made white in the blood of the Lamb; by which they come to testify of Jesus; they overcome the beast, the whore, the false church.
And so every true believer, believes as Christ has taught them, to believe in the light, that so they may become children of the light. They have these three witnesses that bear witness in the earth, to bear witness in themselves; and they can set to their seal, that God is true in all his works, in prophets and apostles, and his son; and they shall come to know, and do come to know, the three that bear record in heaven, and the three that bear record in the earth."
From the Word of the Lord within: "The three witnesses: these three clearly must be manifest; eyes have to germinate." You must clearly see the three witnesses with the eyes of your heart, and the eyes of your heart must first be developed, which comes with persistent and patient waiting on God in humble silence to hear and see His revelations from the Word and light within your heart.
To be born of the Spirit is to first have died to the selfish nature on the inward cross of self denial. You must lose your life to save it. You must become an entirely new creature, with a new heart and new mind. This does not happen with reading scripture, saying a prayer, getting wet, or saying Jesus is Lord. If you are born again, your lust and desires have been crucified to the death of self on the inward cross of self denial. Whoever is born of God does not commit sin, for his seed [Christ] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:9. This is the final judgment, the Day of the Lord, which occurs to individuals who have prepared the way of the Lord. The true baptism of the Holy Spirit into the death of Christ; this is the sharing of his death. When your selfish spirit has died on the inward cross of self-denial, then Christ joins in the marriage of the Lamb with your soul, and you are born again; as Jesus is resurrected in you to be your true Lord. 2 Cor 4:14,Col 2:11-12,3:1, Eph 2:5-6, Gal 2:20, Rom 8:1.
from George Fox's Journal:
You must have fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. 1 Pet 4:12-13
If you will reign with him, you must suffer with him. 2 Tim 2:12
if you will live with him, you must die with him. 2 Tim 2:11 (there must be a "dying daily.")
And if you die with him, you must be buried with him, Rom 6:4
and being buried with him in the true baptism, you also rise with him. Col 2:12
There must be "a coming into his death, a suffering with Christ;" and this is of necessity to salvation;
and not temporarily, but continually: there must be a "dying daily."
In 1 John 5, John carefully defines what are the qualifying experiences of a believer who is born of God, which are summarized here:
Those who say that they are born-again Christians still living in the fleshly lusts and pleasures of the world, and so still slaves to sin, are maligning the truth and create confusion.
From the Word of the Lord within: "By their evident display of sin, Christians cause my name to be blasphemed among the people. To know you are born again is to see your salvation appear in your heart."
Presumption of being born again, instead of experiential reality, is make-believe Christianity.
Such Christianity is of Babylon and the beast with horns like a lamb that the whole world follows.
If you are born again, Christ has been revealed [seen, heard, felt, experienced] in you.
Jesus is resurrected in us to be our true Lord. 2 Cor 4:14, Col 2:11-12,3:1, Eph 2:6, Gal 2:20, Rom 8:11
Paul said: it has pleased the Father to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him. Gal 1:15-16
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Gal 5:20
If you are born again, your selfish nature no longer lives, it has been crucified on the inward cross of self-denial.
The single scripture verse, taken out of context, which people use to fool themselves to believe they are born again, is:
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. 1 John 5:1
"See," they say — "scripture proves I am born again because I believe that Jesus is the Christ."
If you have been born again, you know Him to be in total control of you; you don't have to search the scriptures to try to prove to yourself that you have eternal life.
Another huge error is to assume that a spiritual experience is to be born again — when it is only your wake up call — it is only God's visitation to you, giving you a hunger for more of him, and motivating you to seek him with your whole heart — to seek to see his face and be in his presence continually.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Cor 5:17
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision benefits anything, but only a new creature. Gal 6:15
And have [purposed to] put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge after the image of him who created him. Col 3:10
And put on the newly created nature [of Christ], which is created in God's image of true righteousness and holiness. Eph 4:24
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:53
(John Richardson, 18th Century Quaker Minister): "Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." No, the natural and unregenerate man cannot so much as see the heavenly and spiritual kingdom of Christ, which stands not only in power, but also in righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit; and to be born again is not to be done imperceptibly, no more than the natural birth can be brought forth without trouble; and to pretend to be in Christ and not to be new creatures, is preposterous; and to pretend to be new creatures and yet not able to render any account how it was performed, is unreasonable; for it could not be without our knowledge; for to be born again signifies to be quickened and raised into a spiritual and new life, by which the body of the sins of the flesh is mortified and we come to live a self-denying life. Those who are crucified with Christ are crucified to their sins, so that as he died for sin, we ought to die to sin. In that state we live not after the flesh, although we live, as the apostle Paul said, in the flesh; but the life which these live is through faith in the Son of God. And to supposedly have all this, and much more wrought in us, and we know nothing of it, is unaccountable.
2 For God so loved the world [every man], that he gave his only begotten Son [to every man] , that whoever believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16. This is the most popularly quoted verse in the Bible, BUT it is quoted out of context without the companion verses that qualify its meaning to be totally the opposite of how people interpret it when looked at alone. Many call this verse "an entire Bible in itself;" and to believe the popular interpretation of Christendom, (just believe in Jesus, that Jesus in the Son of God), you have to throw out all the rest of the Bible and only have a one-verse Bible, ignoring the many very specific verses that speak to salvation's exclusions, the requirements, and the qualifying conditions.
Fortunately they are wrong, or heaven would be full people that lie, get angry, hate, commit adultery, covet, speak profanely, steal, cheat, envy, use drugs, get drunk, are addicted to pleasures, live in pride and arrogance, etc.; even Adolph Hitler believed in Jesus. Their faith in this one verse, along with five others taken out of context, is based on misunderstanding the Bible they pretend to understand. Christendom was long ago taken over by ambitious men not taught by the Lord's voice and light, not perfected by the Lord, not gifted with an authorized ministry, not sent by the Lord, and not speaking words from the Spirit of the Lord; rather they have spoken from their carnal minds, the nature of death, and preached their vain opinions from the imagination of their evil hearts. Let's take each part of this verse, examine its true meaning, and see how this verse totally fits in with all the scriptures that clearly state you must first become free of all sin: clean, pure, holy, and perfect while on earth:
For God so loved the world [every man], that he gave his only begotten Son to the world [to every man]
The Greek for this verse shows that what has been universally translated as "the world" kosmos <2889> could just as well have been translated as: the inhabitants of the earth, or men, or the human family. God has given his Son to every man, so that they might believe; every man in all the world, wherever they are, even if they have not heard of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the light of the world [every man], John 12:46, John 8:12. In Jesus is the life and the life is the light of men. John 1:4. The Light (Christ) is given to every man who comes into the world, John 1:9, so that through the Light, all men might believe, John 1:7. Believe what?—the truth. What truth?— believe the truth of what the light shows them about the evil of their ways and the truth of how God's and Jesus' righteousness is vastly different than their own ways; and then to believe the promises of God, making the promises the hope of their life's efforts to attain salvation. By abiding in the Light and obeying the Light, man receives salvation to become a child of the light, a son of God. For God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5.
So every man is given a small measure of light so that he might believe what it shows him, what it reproves him, what it convicts him — while a man is alive on the earth. Christ, the light in every man, anonymously pleads with every man in his life to depart from his evil, selfish ways; but men in general do not comprehend that this gentle pleading comes from God, and so they ignore the light. John 1:1-5. And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world [every man], but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil deeds [sins] hates the light [so hates Christ, who is the light] and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed and reproved. John 3:19-20. But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God. John 3:21. If a man persistently seeks to receive the teachings of God and believes what the Son, (light), within him is pleading, he will become a child of God, a child of the light; and he will receive the eternal life of God, which is the full measure of Christ himself, the life of God.
Other scriptures show God's Spirit being given to every man:
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to benefit all. 1 Cor 12:7
And it shall come to pass in the last days, said God, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all men. Acts 2:14-18
The grace of God, which brings salvation, has appeared to all men. Tit 2:11
(Grace appears to all, but each man must choose to respond to the grace to receive salvation.)
But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to benefit all. 1 Cor 12:7. To benefit means so that they can receive eternal life. Jesus taught in the parable of the talents that if on earth you don't increase this small measure of Himself in you to experience receiving eternal life and to be translated into the kingdom, then at death this small measure of His Spirit is taken away from you and given to another.
The Spirit of God visits every man, in the day of his visitation. As Jesus said: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock. If any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Rev 3:20. God is fair. God is just. God is righteous. He would knock equally at every man's heart. He visits every man. He anonymously pleads with every man. Every man has his chance. The day of visitation can come from a true preacher, with spoken or written words supplied by the Spirit of God, or directly in a man's heart from the light and Word of Christ within that man's heart. At judgment, every man will remember his day of visitation: He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has one for his judge — the words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. John 12:48
So if you cannot remember your day of visitation now, does that mean you are lost with no hope? Absolutely not! You can still turn from evil as you know it and seek to hear God's voice, which if you obey and persistently continue seeking by waiting in silence, watching, and listening with obedience to what you hear, you too may witness and experience receiving eternal life. He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek him. You wouldn't be reading this unless you have a hunger to please God, and God wants to completely satisfy your hunger far more than you realize; but by his agenda and timing. From the Word of the Lord within: "Those who obey the light, he needs;" he needs those to show the love of God to the whole world that lies in wickedness with works directed by Him to his glory.
whoever believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him
The huge error in Christendom is to think that this verse means just to believe that Jesus was the Son of God, rose from the dead, etc. James corrected the popular misconception that believing in Jesus is all that is necessary for salvation, writing to the Jewish Christians: "You say you believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe that, and tremble." James 2:19; realize, James was writing to Jewish believers of the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit being one spirit, and without conflict to — Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one! Deu 6:4. So James is in effect saying, "you say you believe in Jesus, you do well, the demons do too, but they tremble at his name — do you?" And many scriptures show us that demons do believe, know, recognize, tremble, fear, and reluctantly obey in fear Jesus as the Son of the most High God. But Christendom ignores Jesus' commands recorded in the Bible, Jesus' warnings about sin, and the Apostles' warnings about sin because they do not understand this verse; they foolishly think this verse cancels all of Jesus' teachings and all the exclusions, the requirements, and the qualifying conditions of heaven. It is not enough to believe that Jesus is the Son of God; you must believe him — believe his commands, believe his teachings, and act on them; otherwise you don't really believe in Jesus. He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has one for his judge — the words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. John 12:48
From the Word of the Lord within: "Everybody who believes the son, shall be made perfect." Note, the Lord did not say "believes in the son ;" he said "believes the son." There is a huge difference between believing in Jesus to be the Son of God vs. believing what the son speaks to you from within you heart as you wait in humble silence, watch, and listen for him. To hear him speak to you, you must walk in the steps of faith as Abraham did; you must wait on God, listen in humble silence, hear, believe him to be the Son speaking to you, believe what he tells you to be true, and then obey whatever he commands. Do this repetitively with persistent dedication, and he will eventually make you perfect, which is to be delivered from even the desire to sin, which is to receive salvation. The words that you hear him speak to you are spirit and impart the life of God to you, John 6:63; he shows you your sins in your heart, he removes your desire to sin from your heart, and imparts the life of God into your heart — until finally you have so much of his life in you, that you become like him: free of sin, thus perfect. Salvation is to be saved from your sins, (not while sill immersed your sins), and results from believing Jesus' commands and teachings to you over time, not just believing in the facts of His life instantly.
From the word of the Lord within:
- "What is necessary for salvation? -- obedience to commands heard.
- Listen to my voice, and I will be your shepherd.
- Hear the word of the Lord from within.
- Blessed are they who hear the word of God and obey.
- Be slow to speak, quick to listen. (as in listen to Him)
- To hear and obey is hard.
- Only those who want to be clean can hear.
- Getting quiet is preparation.
- Think on His name.
- Ears must hear."
Look at the verses in Acts, describing how new members were added by the Lord to the early church in Jerusalem, headed by Peter, John, James, etc.
And all who believed were together, and had all things common; they sold their possessions and goods, and distributed the proceeds among all, as every man had a need. And they continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and singleness of heart. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:44-47
This clearly shows that being saved is not instantaneous with believing, baptizing, and joining the church; no, they were described as were being saved — as a process with an end in the future, at the death of their selfish sprit on the cross. Further evidence that salvation is not instant, but a process of carrying your cross is provided by Paul repeatedly writing to churches of believers:
And Peter echoes the same message that salvation is not just believing or faith, rather salvation is the end of faith's obedient journey and requires growth:
Simon the magician believed and was baptized. He tried to buy the power of laying on of hands. Acts 8:13-18
Peter said to him, "Repent therefore of your wickedness, and pray to God that perhaps you may be forgiven for your heart's thought. For I perceive that you are in the gall of bitterness, and the bond of iniquity." Acts 8:22-23. Obviously Simon had not been "saved" by believing or baptism.
Jesus told five out of seven churches of believers in Revelation that they were lost, on the way to destruction. The Smyrna believers were about to enter tribulation, whom he encouraged. Only the church of Philadelphia was doing well because they had kept [obeyed] his word with patient endurance. Notice again! Jesus said that five out seven Christian churches of believers were on their way to Hell. Massive error had already taken hold 2000 years ago, until today the false church is pervasive with grace supposedly being a license to continue to sin.
So when does believing result in salvation? Jesus told us himself:
And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in [depends on, trusts, and obeys] him, may have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40. So your belief must lead to you seeing Jesus, the face of God. When your belief results in you persistently waiting on God, in humble silence, to hear Him, and to obey Him — His words that you hear Him speak to you impart the life of God; until finally you are pure and you see the face of God in your heart: Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, Mat 5:8. And every man who has this hope in him, purifies himself even as He [Jesus] is pure. 1 John 3:3
and he further told us:
whoever lives and believes in me, shall never die. Those in Him and believing while in Him will never die. The use of word lives refers to who lives in the life of God, not the life of the flesh, which fleshly life must be lost to find the life of God. You must be living in Jesus, who is the life of God, who is eternal life, who must be possessed in sufficient measure to be your true Lord, controlling your every word and deed — then you will never die to the life of God. See Footnote 2 to John 11:26 for more detail.
From the Word of the Lord within:
- "You are a son when Jesus appears in your heart to guide you.
- To know you are born again is to see your salvation appear in your heart.
- Salvation occurs when you are one with Christ and God.
- If you are still sinning, you belong to sin and not to Me.
- Listen to and obey my voice; listen to my sweet words of wisdom.
- If you pay attention and obey, it results in union with God.
- We must become like Him to merge with Him.
- He joins with our cleansed nature.
- Like the Apostles, you too must be cleansed.
- Once you are in union, it is permanent."
may have eternal life.
Eternal life is the eternal life of God, and is not something to be received after you die still sinning; the eternal life of God is to be received and witnessed while you are alive on earth. It occurs when you are freed from all sin, translated into the Kingdom of Heaven, and enter union with God and Christ. Because of Adam's fall, we all are dead to the life of God, Gen 2:17,3:24, having been cut off from eating from the tree of life. Eternal life is to have the life of God restored in you to the spiritual image of God in true righteousness and holiness. When you experience salvation, you witness passing from death to life; and you witness Jesus Christ bringing eternal life — while alive on earth:
Truly, truly, I say to you, 'He who hears my word, and believes in [depends on, trusts, obeys] him who sent me, has eternal life, and shall not come into condemnation; but has passed [past tense] from death to life.' John 5:24
There is a voice of the Lord like thunder over the waters described in many Old Testament passages. This is radically different than the small still voice we hear from within our hearts or from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit and the Word of the Lord within speak with words from Jesus, so we are hearing from the Son of God. But until we can truly hear the Voice of the Lord, we will not know for sure it is the Lord speaking to us. From the Word of the Lord within: "You will always have doubts until you hear His voice. My voice is like thunder over waters." You will hear His voice for the first time at final judgment, and you will then know His voice; when you hear His voice for the first time, you have passed over from death to life.
We first have to listen to the Holy Spirit and the word of the Lord within to hear and obey His many teachings and commands. Then with long persistence and patience in doing obedient works of repentance, we experience the baptism of fire and death, to then hear the Voice of the Lord as we pass from death to life. Until then, we have to be on our guard to not be deceived by the enemy, pretending to be the Lord speaking to us. Based on the advice of Edward Burrough, (click to read), a giant in the early Quakers, until we can distinguish between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy, we should do nothing for the Lord but repent. When we can hear the Voice of the Lord, we walk in the light; and William Penn wrote, "Though it is the duty of all to walk in the light, and to wait for it, that by it they may be instructed in the way of life and salvation, yet it is they only who are actually led by it, that can rightly discern between the false spirits and the true."
* By way of review: to be guided or led by the light, the light must first arise in your heart like a magnificent star, so that you are shown everything to do and told everything to say; the unmistakable arising of the light comes from faith in the voice.
When we can hear the voice of the Lord that is like thunder over the waters, we truly experience the fulfillment of the scriptures. See The Kingdom, the Return of Christ, and Salvation's Completion in How to Benefit from the Changing Power of God by Waiting on the Lord for more on the events that occur when you hear the voice of the Lord that is like thunder over the waters.
Whoever has been born of God does not commit sin, for his seed [Christ] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 1 John 3:9
And His seed are the words he has planted in your heart, words that you have heard him speak to you, the Word of God. Luke 8:15
Those words we hear him speak to us are engrafted into your heart, James 1:21;
and those words we hear him speak to us are Spirit and impart the life of God to us, John 6:63;
which life of God is Christ, John 1:5, 14:6, so that Christ is formed within you, Gal 4:19.
Until finally Christ is fully formed and actually resurrected in you. 2 Cor 4:14,Col 2:11-12,3:1,Eph 2:5-6,Gal 2:20,Rom 8:11
You then see Christ, the glory of God, appear in your heart and witness him bringing your salvation and eternal life.
The key of understanding eternal life this verse is to understand that "eternal life" is not to live life as we know it forever; Christendom tells us there is even eternal torture in Hell, which one must be alive to feel, (See Is There Hope for All, to learn how Christendom has twisted Hell to be eternal). Jesus is talking about "the eternal life of God," to which we must be restored while on earth, to then enjoy forever.
Now for those who think that beginning belief is all that is required for eternal life, consider that Jude, (the half-brother of Jesus), advised the early Church to earnestly contend for the faith, waiting for them to actually experience Jesus bringing them their eternal life:
Beloved, while I was diligent to write to you about the common salvation, I found it necessary to write and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith, which was once delivered to the saints. Keeping yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring eternal life. Jude 1:3,21. Now if you think that just believing is all that is necessary, for what are you advised to contend? And if you think you are instantly saved by believing, why would the brother of Jesus be writing believers that they must keep themselves in the love of God, looking, (future tense), for Jesus to bring eternal life? Do you think you are a more special Christian than those in the early Church, founded by the Apostles, who were looking for a future bringing by Jesus of eternal life to them in their lifetime? Eternal life is brought by Jesus at the completion of one's salvation in all generations of those who have the hope and have purified themselves! To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear the second time, not to bear sin, but to bring full salvation. Heb 9:28. To wait on God is to persistently and patiently sit in humble silence, listen for his voice and words, watch for his revelations, hear his commands, and then obey Him; only those who heed and obey Him receive eternal salvation. Heb 5:9
shall not perish,
To perish is not to be without life, or be destroyed, or die and go to Hell to later be destroyed; it is to lose the life of God altogether. There is a small seed of the life of God in every man. Christ is the life of God, and in him was life, John 14:6; and the life was the light of men. John 1:5. The Light (Christ) is given to every man who comes into the world, John 1:9, so that through the Light, all men might believe, John 1:7; and by abiding in the Light and obeying the Light, man receives salvation to become a child of the light, a son of God. For God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5. So man is given a small measure of light that he might believe what it shows him, what it reproves him, what it convicts him — while a man is alive on the earth. If a man is totally obedient to the light, he will become a child of God, a child of the light. But if he hates the light because it reproves his selfish lifestyle and behavior, then he dies in his sins; and when a man dies still sinning, the small measure of Christ the light and life steps out of him, leaving the man in total darkness, which is Hell. Then the small measure of light, (which is the talent in the Parable of the talents), which the man had, is taken away from him and given to another who profited his talent while alive on earth. The result: eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power 2 Thes 1:9; man is cut off from the life, power, and glory of God, dwelling in total darkness. That is what to perish means in this verse.
Salvation, purity, and deliverance from sin, occurs when you experience the grace of God (Christ) bring it to you as Christ destroys the selfish spirit in you by the spirit of his mouth and by the brightness of his coming as he crushes the head of Satan under your feet. Rom 16:20
I have waited for your salvation, O LORD. Gen 49:18
Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me. Mic 7:7
It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lam 3:26
Truly my soul silently waits upon God; from him comes my salvation. Psa 62:1
And it will be said in that day, "Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Isa 25:9
To those who persistently and patiently wait for him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation. Heb 9:28
Those who are persistently and patiently waiting on God, see Jesus appear in their hearts, and see Jesus bring their salvation, which is to be delivered (freed) from all sin. To wait on God is to persistently sit in humble silence, listen for his voice and words, watch for his revelations, hear his commands, and then obey Him; only those who heed and obey Him receive eternal salvation. Heb 5:9
Blessed is the man who hears me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. Proverbs 8:34, Luke 11:28
Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. Dan 12:10. Christendom does not believe purity is even possible; they do not understand and therefore continue to sin [do wickedly].
One is purified by obedient faith, which work is carrying the inward cross of self-denial over time. To seek, listen, hear, and obey - is part of the cross.
Christendom denies the cross is necessary, and so Christendom is perishing for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing; and whose end is destruction, whose God is their stomach [appetites, lusts], and whose glory is in their shame, who think on earthly things. 1 Cor 1:18, Phil 3:18-19
Faith is not instant, it is a process of work that yields growth. As Peter instructs us: by which exceedingly great and precious promises are given to us, that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust:
For this very reason, make every effort [the maximum possible effort] to add to your faith, virtue [excellence]; and to virtue, knowledge;
And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance [patience]; and to perseverance, godliness;
And to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
For if these things are in you and abound, you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, brothers, be diligent to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things you will never fall. 2 Pet 1:5-8,10
Let's look further at all the verses after John 3:16, which also totally change the traditional interpretation:
John 3:19-21: And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world [every man], but men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.
20 For everyone who does evil [sins] hates the light [so hates Christ, who is the light], and does not come to the light for fear his deeds will be exposed and reproved.
21 But he who practices truth comes to the light, so that his deeds may be shown to have been produced [formed and powered] through God.
Whoever continues to commit evil [sin] loves darkness, and is condemned — whatever they might believe.
He does not come to the light, for fear his evil deeds will be exposed and reproved, (judged).
He wants to continue his selfish lifestyle, his life of evil, and so he rejects and hates the light [which is Christ].
He loves the darkness, where his deeds are not exposed as evil, so he rejects the light and hates the light, which is Christ.
Like the demons, he can think that Christ is the Son of God;
but because he loves his lifestyle, and hates the Light's conviction of it,
he withdraws from the light, into the comfort of darkness, where there is no disapproval;
and so he is condemned. Whatever he says he believes with his mouth — his actions betray his words.
If he believed in the light, he would obey the light. If he believed in Christ, he would obey Christ.
To believe is to obey. Obedience leads to receiving the Holy Spirit. Obedience leads to righteousness. Obedience leads to salvation.
But, a person who wishes to do the right thing, to please God, to be rid of sin — will accept the light's disapproval of his evil deeds, and be motivated to change his ways, (to repent). He believes the light is from God, from the Son of God, and loving the light, he obeys the light's gentle pleading, counsel, and commands to him.
Verse 21: Amplified — But he who practices truth — who does what is right- comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are--wrought with God — divinely prompted, done with God's help, in dependence upon Him.
A true believer does truth, or practices truth — does what is right. (He is finished with sin, doing what is wrong.) A believer comes out into the light, (without fear) to show that his deeds (or works) have been: wrought with God; or divinely prompted, done with God's help, in dependence upon God.
In Rom 10:8, Paul says he preaches the word, which is within your heart and in your mouth; and in Rom 10:17, Paul says faith comes by hearing the word of God. So faith results from hearing the word of God from within your heart, and recognizing it as the Spirit of God speaking to you, or Christ (the author of anyone's true faith) speaking to you; and believing it enough to be obedient to what you hear. Thus to believe is: to believe, [trust, depend on, obey] on the word heard in your heart. Blessed are those who hear the word of God [within your heart] and keep [practice, obey] it. Christendom would have you believe that hearing someone read the words of the Bible is hearing the word of God, and if you believe them, you are a "believer." But this only results in belief in a book and having faith in the words in a book — Biblical faith. Yet Paul has just told us that faith comes from hearing the word, which word is in our heart; so to have real faith, you must hear from within and believe whom you hear to be the Son of God. This is believing in Jesus. This is the true faith — hearing Jesus speak to you, believing it to be him, and then obeying him. When you hear Jesus speaking to you, Jesus becomes the author your faith: Looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12:2. Now to attain salvation you must believe enough to keep listening and keep obeying him. For Jesus became the Author and Source of eternal salvation to all those who heed and obey Him. Heb 5:9. He who rejects me and does not receive my words, has one for his judge — the words that I have spoken will judge him in the last day. John 12:48
Abraham is credited as being the father of all nations of believers, because righteousness was credited to him due to his faith. But what was the evidence of Abraham's faith? He walked in the steps of faith by willingly exposing himself to God's commands and obeying God's voice. He believed enough to listen for God's voice and to then obey what he was told to do. To believe without seeking God's commands and then obeying them is a false belief. And so we too must walk in the steps of faith, which is believe enough to wait, watch, listen, hear, and obey God's voice — and the evidence of our faith is to produce the fruit of the spirit, thus to show ourselves to be true followers of Christ; and the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness [or meekness, or humility], and self-control. The branches that do not produce fruit are cast into the fire to be burned.
3 John 4:2 says: Though Jesus himself did not baptize, only his disciples.
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