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Answers to Bible Questions
Scriptures are from the KJV of the Bible
(Q) John 3:16 is a favorite scripture to use for salvation, but can that scripture alone save anyone today?
(A) John 3:16 say’s: 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. This is a beautiful verse, but when was this verse given and who was it pertaining to?
I believe that many in our churches today are not receiving the correct message for salvation in this age of grace in which we “now” live. The whole Bible is about Jews and Gentiles, law and grace. The Jews were given a gospel of salvation that is different from the one we are saved by today through our Apostle Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles, Romans 11:13: 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: and also in Acts 9:15-16 we see (Saul, later called Paul) as the Apostle to the Gentiles: 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
There were different Gospels or (Good news) given (by God) down through the ages of time for salvation. Many will not agree with this view, but let me show you from scripture that we know there were at the very least two different gospels, Galatians 2:2-8: (This is the Apostle Paul talking) 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the “uncircumcision” was committed unto me (PAUL), as the gospel of the “circumcision” was unto( PETER); 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) Many like to argue that there is only one Gospel given in the Bible, but like it or not verse 7 above proves there are at least 2 different Gospels. The circumcision (under the law) and uncircumcision (under grace) cannot be the same as the Apostle states again in verse 7.
However, today in the age we live in there is ONLY ONE GOSPEL. The Gospel for us today is the Gospel of the UNCIRCUMCISION because we are under grace. The Gospel of the CIRCUMCISION does not apply to us today because they were under the law. Salvation under the law always required works plus faith. Salvation under grace requires faith plus nothing.
John 3:16 was given under the law which required faith plus works for Salvation, Acts 2:36-38: 36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Again, we are under grace today which requires ONLY FAITH for Salvation, Ephesians 2:8-9: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Law and grace were given by God under what the Bible calls Dispensations. Today, we live in the “dispensation of grace” which was given to “our Apostle Paul” as recorded in Ephesians 3:1-2 which says: 1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward. The message that was given in John 3:16 was for the Jews who were under the law, not grace. John 3:16 was for the whole nation of Israel who were under the law, that message “alone” cannot save us “today. Why not? Again, like I said above that message required FAITH PLUS WORKS for salvation. John 3:16 also required repentance and water baptism for salvation. Today we are saved by GRACE ALONE with no works, Ephesians 2:5-9: 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Again, verses 8 & 9 quoted above 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
What does John 3:16 say: 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. Whosoever believeth in Him (Christ) should not perish; but the demons also believe in Him (Christ) and they “shall” perish in the lake of fire, separated from God for all eternity, James 2:19: 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
The Bible teaches that there were different “Dispensations” down through the ages of time. I teach the Bible from a dispensational point of view, the only view that rightly divides the Word of truth. Don’t let the word “Dispensation” confuse you. All it means is that God had different ways of dealing with mankind down through the ages of time. God does not change, but He did and does change the way He works with different people at different times down through the ages.
From a dispensational point of view the Bible teaches that the “Whole Bible” is completely true and accurate down to the smallest detail. However, a lot of the Bible is only for our learning and not for our obedience because most of it was not written to us or for us. Romans 15:4: 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. The books of the Bible that were written to us and about us today for our obedience are “Romans through Philemon.” These books were written to us and about us and are for all people today living in the dispensation of grace. We can learn much from studying the Whole Bible, but again a lot of it is not for our obedience.
We must obey II Timothy 2:15 in order to teach the correct message for salvation which says: 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
We must not mix law and grace together for our obedience-that is a no, no. John 3:16 does not tell the whole complete message for us today who are under grace. If I told you that no one today can receive salvation just by believing John 3:16 alone, would you believe me? This would be a very serious mistake which many are making today.
Let’s look at Romans 2:16: (Paul is speaking here) 16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ “according to my gospel. “Paul’s gospel was different than the gospel given to the 12 Apostles. We shall all be judged and saved “today” by the Gospel God gave only to Paul, our Apostle for today. Paul was not and is not part of the 12 , but he is an apostle of one, with no connection to the 12.
So how can we be saved today and gain acceptance into Heaven? Let’s read I Timothy 1:15-16: (Again Paul is speaking) 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. 16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him (Christ) to life everlasting. According to this scripture “Paul” is the “first” one into the “Body of Christ” and he (Paul) is teaching the true salvation message for us “today.” The other gospel messages in the bible do not apply for salvation today because they were “only” for the Jewish nation of Israel. Today, Paul’s gospel is for both “Jews and gentiles” who when they believe make up the “Body of Christ.”
What then was Paul teaching? I Corinthians 15:1-4: 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Here again we see Paul was the “first” one to teach the true gospel message for us “today,” the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus on His Cross at Calvary some two thousand years ago.
Christ Jesus is the focal point through all dispensations and Lord and Savior of all, but again He has worked with different people in different ways down through the ages. Christ is always first and foremost, but He chose Paul to be the Apostle of the gentiles to relay His plan and will for us today.
Today, everyone needs to understand the following: Romans 3:9-20: 9 What then? are we better [than they]? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin.. 10 As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
All unbelievers today must understand and believe they are dead in their sins, headed for the lake of fire with no hope, unless they believe and understand what? Romans 3:21-30: 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. 29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: 30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through Ufaith.
Everyone need to understand that it is the shed blood of Christ that grants us the forgiveness of our sins by grace through faith in Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, Ephesians 1:7: 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (under the law forgiveness of sin was through repentance and baptism, Acts 2:38.
What happens when we first believe the gospel of our salvation? Ephesians 1:13-14: 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Then what comes next: I Corinthians 12:13: 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. This baptism into one Spirit is done by the operation of God and not by man by the means of water baptism. Water baptism is not required today, Colossians 2:12: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the “operation of God”, who hath raised him from the dead. No water baptism here!
All believers today are living in the Dispensation of Grace given only to our Apostle Paul, and all believers are part of the “Body of Christ. The Church age we are living in today began with Paul, it did not and could not begin on the day of Pentecost as that day was a Jewish feast day and had nothing to do with the “Body of Christ. As I said before in this article, Paul was the first into the “Body of Christ when he was called by God to make known the Dispensation of Grace and also the mystery which was hid in God until He (GOD) made it known by revelation to Paul, Ephesians 3:1-9: 1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: 3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, 4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) 5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; 6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: 7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. 8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Remember this, and remember it well, the Bible is not like a smorgasbord where you can pick and choose whatever you want. No, we need to study the Bible “rightly divided” according to the proper dispensation in which we are living to find the true salvation message for us today. John 3:16 is not for us today, believe it or not!
Israel as a nation has been “temporarily” set aside and they are blinded to the truth that Christ was their Messiah. This means that the dispensation of the law was also put on hold so God could bring in the dispensation of grace given to Paul. God did this to make the Jewish nation jealous because again, we are saved only by grace, no works. John 3:16 was under that law program and again required works for salvation, Romans 11:7-12: 7 What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded 8 (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.9 And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, and a stumblingblock, and a recompence unto them: 10 Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway. 11 I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
There is much, much more to all of this than most people realize, but I do not want to make this article over bearing for anyone, so I want to leave you with a few more scriptures which I believe everyone needs to know about.
Let’s finish up with II Corinthians 5:16-21: 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. We follow Christ today through His Heavenly ministry, not His Earthly ministry. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The above scriptures show us that Christ Jesus has paid the price for all sin, for everyone who has or ever will live. Today, sin is not the problem because it has all been paid for. However, there is one problem! We must believe!! All sin has been paid for, but it does not apply until each person comes to Christ of his or her free will and willingly put their complete and total faith, trust and belief in Christ for their salvation. This is why all believers today are given the “Great Commission” to teach the message of reconciliation as it says in verse 19 above. Verse 20 shows that all believers today are “ambassadors” for Christ, and we need to be teaching the message of reconciliation in Christ’s stead to the unsaved. All it takes is true sincere faith or belief in Christ and what He accomplished at Calvary 2000 years ago, Faith plus nothing, and you will be saved!
I hope all who read this article can see that John 3:16 “alone or all by its self” will not gain anyone entrance into Heaven. These verses were so very true for Israel under the dispensation of the law, but in order to receive salvation today in the dispensation of grace we need to move into Paul’s epistles, (Romans through Philemon, all under grace) and teach the salvation message given “only to Paul,” I Corinthians 15:1-4, the gospel of our salvation for “today,” I Timothy 1:15-16.
Maranatha (Lord come)