This Week's Focus Passage

This Week’s Focus Passage: John 17:23 ‘That the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst

This Week’s Focus Passage: John 17:23

‘That the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovest me’


    Probably, the most well-known passage in the Word of God is that found in John 3:16; For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have eternal life. It certainly is no wonder that such a glorious and grand statement such as that which expresses God’s love for the world to be so great, that He would give His only begotten Son unto the world, in order that whosoever believed on Him would not perish, but rather would enjoy life eternally. One of the deeper problems with the employment of that grand verse, John 3:16, relates to the manner in which it has been so sorely abused. Many are they that embrace this expression that God so loved the world to be the teaching that multitudes eagerly embrace, and bind their understanding to a false gospel teaching that “God loves everybody,” and therefore, He has a wonderful plan for everyone “under the sun.” From this pernicious, and false, ‘gospel’ has sprung the teaching that God is the Father of all mankind, and that He is not willing that any should perish. This is that teaching that permits multitudes to die in a false peace, imagining that God is their Father, and that all are going to spend eternity with Him in His heavenly mansions; regardless of lifestyles that speak of nothing but wickedness.   Churches are thus filled with ‘make-believers’ and worldliness to the extreme. 

    When we read, ‘God so loved the world,’ absolute truth would inform the serious mind, that in the case of John 3:16, the world is the world of those that belong to Christ; those for whom Christ came to save; those for whom He died on that Roman cross at Golgotha. The use of ‘the world’ in other contexts should disabuse any reader of even the imagination that everyone is going to heaven, because God so loved the world. Many places in the Scriptures make use of the word, or term, the world, where it is not considered by anyone that it intends the ‘entire world.’ Just as an example, we set forth only a few of such verses. In Luke’s gospel, and in the first verse of its second chapter, we may read the following; Now it came to pass in those days, there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be enrolled. Now, in spite of the fact that we may read from a secular historical history, that, “Caesar Augustus, also known as Octavian, was the first Roman emperor, he reigned from 27 BC until his death in AD 14. He is known for being the founder of the Roman Principate, which is the first phase of the Roman Empire, and Augustus is considered one of the greatest leaders in human history.”—Wikipedia (blame them if any of these allegations prove to be false). But, taking these things at face value, we simply make our point that when Luke has written, all the word should be enrolled, it does not include, nor does it mean, the ‘entirety of mankind on the globe.’ In fact, history informs the reader, clearly, that Caesar Augustus was not the emperor of the entire world, but in reality there was much of the world that was not under his control. The reader is encouraged to investigate on their own to determine if this is not the reality. So that when Luke writes all the world he is simply stating that this emperor had demanded that all of the world of his domain was to be enrolled; that a census was to be taken of the dominions of Emperor Caesar Augustus. 

To simply offer up just one more example, there are many; we place before readers, one such example from Mark. When we read in the gospel of Mark, in chapter one, and verses 32-33, the following: And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were sick, and them that were possessed of demons. And all the city was gathered together at the door. Now we may understand that when Mark has written they brought unto him all that were sick, he may have actually intended the reader to understand that they had brought all that were sick; it is at the very least, a possibility. And also, perhaps he intended to say that all that were possessed of demons were brought. But surely, no one was expected to understand him to stating that every individual, both those that were sick, and those possessed, were gathered together at the door. At the door definitely implies a restricted area. And yet, many are willing to construe John 3:16 to teach that all shall be redeemed, simply because they wish to believe such a falsehood; and many are those willing, sadly, to teach such a misconception.

The true, Holy Spirit taught, and blessed wonder of the ages, is that God has a people, throughout the ages, unto the present, and beyond, that He loves with a love from before the foundations of the world. This that true, sovereign love that is spoken of through Jeremiah the prophet. We read in Jeremiah 31:3, these fabulous and glorious truths spoken to Jeremiah, inspired by God the Holy Spirit, to be stated in that volume, under the name of Jeremiah, where we are blessedly informed, that, Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn thee. And, we are able to witness, through that blessed expression of the true reality of the love of God for His own, and equally, the manner of God’s demonstrating that love to His ‘peculiar people.’ He has not only informed us, and Jeremiah, that He has loved us from everlasting, yea, from before the foundations of the world. Added to that incredible statement, He tells us that because of that everlasting love, He shall, through His lovingkindness, draw us, and every chosen vessel, unto Himself. Or, in the language  of Psalm 110, His people shall be made willing to come to Him in the day of His power. God the Holy Spirit has covenanted with God the Father and God the Son, that at the precise, agreed upon time, He will regenerate the heart of the chosen one.

And, in this same prophetic book of the Word of God, we may happily read of that covenant between the Father and the Son, and ratified, we may say, by God the Holy Spirit. The salvation of men is the activity of our Sovereign, Triune, God. At Jeremiah 31:31, we may read of this glorious and loving covenant of God’s Grace; 

Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel. [The True Israel of God]. This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah; I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.


David Farmer, elder

Fellowship Bible Church


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