Just a heads up first to let you know this is right out of my study Bible. Word for Word. I wanted to make sure you got the message so I didn’t want to chance that not happening if I put it in my own words.
10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 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.
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Knowledge is not salvation. Nor is good works. You should know the Bible, but even more important, you should understand the God whom the Bible reveals and the salvation that God offers.
When the Israelites were wandering in the wilderness, God sent a plague of serpents to punish the people for their rebellious attitudes. Those doomed to die from snakebite could be healed by obeying God’s command to look up at the elevated bronze serpent and by believing that God would heal them if they did (Numbers 21: 8-9) Similarly, our salvation happens when we look up to Jesus, believing he will save us. God has provided this way for us to be healed of sin’s deadly bite.
The entire Gospel comes into focus in this verse. God’s love is not static or self-centered; it reaches out and draws others in. Here God sets the pattern of true love, the basis for all love relationships — when you love someone dearly, you are willing to give freely to the point of self-sacrifice. God paid dearly with the life of his Son, the highest price he could pay. Jesus accepted our punishment, paid the price for our sins, and then offered us the new life he had bought for us. When we share the Gospel with others, our love must be like Jesus’–willingly giving up our own comfort and security so that others might join us in receiving God’s love.
Some people are repulsed by the idea of eternal life because their lives are miserable. But eternal life is not an extension of man’s miserable, mortal life; eternal life is God’s life embodied in Christ, given to all believers now as a guarantee that they will live forever. Internal life there is no death, sickness, enemy, evil, or sin. When we don’t know Christ, we make choices as though this life were all we had. In reality, this life is just the introduction to eternity. Receive this new life by faith and begin to evaluate all that happens from an eternal perspective.
To believe is more than an intellectual agreement that Jesus is God. It means to put our trust and confidence in him that he alone can save us. It is to put Christ in charge of our present plans and eternal destiny. Believing is both trusting his words as reliable and relying on him for the power to change. If you have never trusted Christ, let this promise of everlasting life be yours.
People often try to protect themselves from their fears by putting their trust in something they do or have: their good works, their skill or intelligence, their money or possessions. But only God can save us from the one thing we really need to fear–eternal condemnation. We believe in God by recognizing the insufficiency of our own efforts to find salvation and by asking him to do his work in us. When Jesus talks about unbelievers, he means those who reject or ignore him completely, not those who have momentary doubts.
Many people don’t want their lives exposed to God’s light because they are afraid of what it will reveal. They don’t want to be changed. Don’t be surprised when these same people are threatened by your desire to obey God and do what is right because they are afraid that the light in you may expose some of the darkness in their lives. Rather than giving in to discouragement, keep praying that they will come to see how much better it is to love in light than in darkness.
KJV Study Bible