For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
“Hell on earth.” That’s how the husband described the invitation to go Black Friday shopping with his wife. We may chuckle at the hyperbole. But do you ever notice how often “hell” makes its way into conversations? “War is hell.” “Hell, no!” “It’s hotter than hell.” “To hell and back.” “H-E-double-hockey sticks.” “Hell’s Kitchen.”
While “hell” is used to describe many situations on earth, to really savor the sweetness of John 3:16, we need to come to grips with the reality of hell. John 3:16 describes hell as “perishing.” At its most basic definition, hell is separation from God and all of his blessings. Hell is suffering. Hell is rejection. Hell is anger, pain, and sorrow. And hell is where we were headed. But…
That’s what this sweet Bible passage is all about… “but.” In Jesus, God’s one and only Son, we find a “but” to our prescribed destination. “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Just as hell is real, so is heaven. Heaven is seeing God face-to-face. Heaven is being the recipient of every blessing God gives. Heaven is joy, contentment, acceptance, peace. And heaven is what God promises to every person who trusts that Jesus is the Savior they need. Savor the sweet truth that in Jesus, you have life now and forever.
Holy Spirit, work faith in my heart that I may receive the gift of eternal life that is mine through God’s one and only Son. Amen.