“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” (John 3:16). These words were spoken one night by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, while He was speaking to one of the rulers of the Jews called Nicodemus. Therefore, they were spoken by the One whom God gave for the salvation of the world.

First of all, notice that Jesus said that God loved the world so much and then “that He gave His only begotten Son”; that shows that the love God manifested toward the world involved an offering and a renunciation on the part of Him (true love always involves renunciation) for He gave His Only Son, the One whom God loved before the foundation of the world. Think of that, God loved His Son before He came into this world; He loved Him, but for mankind’s sake He gave Him. Why did He gave His own Son? He gave Him in order to save man, for Jesus stated that He came into the world to save the world (“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world” - John 12:47) by giving His own flesh for the life of the world: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).

Let us dwell briefly upon the spiritual condition of this world before God. Men are on the way which leads to destruction: no matter what their race is, what their social level is, and what their cultural level is, they are on the way that leads to hell, for they are sinners, slaves of all kinds of fleshly lusts, they are children of wrath by nature under the divine condemnation because of sin, which entered the world by Adam, and by him it passed upon all men. There is none righteous, no, not one, all men have together become corrupt, there is no one who does good; that’s what the Word of God says. The Word says also that their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit, the poison of vipers is on their lips, their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery mark their ways and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes. These are hard and harsh words, yet they are perfectly truthful, for they are written in the Word of God, which is truth. Whatever the wise men after the flesh may say, facts confirm what the Word says about men. The misdeeds of men are proof of their depravation, corruption, and evil nature. And what is the end awaiting them after death, who continually disobey God doing evil in His eyes? They will go to hell, an awful place of torment in the hereafter where the souls of the wicked suffer terrible torments.

Therefore men need to be saved from this awful end, which is awaiting them after death. But how can they be saved? The answer is this: by faith in the Son of God, for Jesus said: “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). These words mean that whoever believes in Him receives eternal life and thus he will not perish with those who refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. Why is it necessary to believe in Jesus Christ in order to be saved? For – as I said before – He came into the world to save it. How? Through His death on the cross, for on the cross He bore all our sins, as it was foretold by the prophet Isaiah: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. ….He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:6,11). He was able to bear our iniquities because He did no violence nor was any deceit in His mouth. Of course He was in all points tempted as we are, yet without falling into temptation and thus He knew no sin. And the One who knew no sin, was made by God to be sin for us, and He died on the cross as an ordinary evildoer, in that Jesus Christ was crucified together with two transgressors. But Jesus not only died for our sins, but He also rose again (the third day) for our justification, so whoever believes in Him is justified by God. As Paul says: “And by him all that believe are justified from all things …..” (Acts 13:39), and also: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness …..” (Romans 10:10). Salvation from perdition is therefore completely free, it cannot be earned through good works.

Therefore if you think that you can save yourself by your merits, by some righteous deeds, you must understand that you are greatly mistaken. If it were possible for you to be saved by good works, God would have given His Son in vain. In other words, Jesus would have come to offer His flesh on the cross in vain. If you could save yourself through sacrifices, mortifications, renunciations and merciful deeds, the Gospel would not be the Good News able to save the sinner, but simply a News without any saving power. Grace would be set aside and man could boast about something before God for he could say that he has saved himself by his sacrifices and renunciations. Therefore, forsake this evil thought of your heart, humble yourself before God repenting of your sins and believing with all your heart in Jesus Christ. The fierce wrath of God which is upon you will be taken away by God and God will give you eternal life. And when you die you will not perish with the wicked, for God will bring you safely to His heavenly kingdom, where are the saints of God.

Whoever you are, consider the great love that God manifested also toward you by giving His Only Son for your salvation, consider what the God who created all things did for the sake of His sinful creatures. Consider it and believe now with all your heart in His Son to receive eternal life from His Hand.

God has spoken to you, do not harden your heart, but rather open you heart to receive the love of the truth, which is in Christ Jesus, that you may be saved from perdition.