The Promise and Warning About Eternal Life

Notes for January 19-20
John 3:16-21  

Biblical Background

  • Only Son (Only Begotten Son): the Greek words mean “special, beloved,” and were often refer in Jewish literature to Isaac in regards to Abraham’s willingness to offer up his “special, and beloved” son.

  • Eternal Life: The Greek can be literally translated, “the life of the world to come.”

    Present Tense of “Have Eternal Life”: This indicates that the person who trusts Jesus Christ immediately is in a state of eternal life – it is immediately applied to the present.

  • God’s Sacrifice of His Son: There is nothing that can compare to the sacrifice which God has made on behalf of humankind through Jesus Christ. His love is immeasurable and infinite as expressed in a number of passages in the Hebrew Scriptures including: (Ex. 34:6-7; Hosea 11:1-4).

  • Light and Darkness: Jewish literature often contrasted the darkness of evil with the light of God. The Dead Sea Scrolls of the Essene Community in the 1st Century BC reflect this concept.

  • He who is from above: All human beings originate from earth –God comes from above.

  • Signet Rings: In 1st Century times, men would officially testify to something by pouring hot wax on a document and then pressing their signet ring into the wax – making their mark and authenticating their witness to the document.

  • He Who Gives the Spirit without measure: Only God has unlimited authority to give the Spirit of God

  • The Son as Judge: The Son has authority to judge and to send people to heaven or hell. Jesus is an awesome Person to be reckoned with.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you learn about the character of God from verses 16-18?

  2. What does God want to do?

  3. How is a person condemned? What does it mean to be condemned?

  4. Why is important to know about the possibility of condemnation for a human being before Almighty God?

  5. Why are people today, even in the church sometimes, shy about talking about the judgment of God?

  6. What is the condition for being saved from condemnation? How does one do this?

  7. What does it mean that Light has come into the world?

  8. Why do people love darkness and doing evil? Have you ever loved doing evil? Why or Why not?

  9. What is the indication that a person has trusted Jesus Christ? 

  10. How can we discern whether or not a person has given their lives to Jesus Christ? What should we see? What if we don’t see signs of the Light in the actions of a person?

  11. In verse 31, who is the one who comes from above?

  12. What power and authority has Jesus been given on earth?

  13. When you think of Jesus do you think of Him as the all-powerful, judge over all the earth? Why is it important to understand this role of Jesus?

  14. How does this passage impact the way in which you talk with others about Jesus?

  15. What are you doing about sharing the Gospel, when knowing the wrath of God remains on many of your friends and neighbors?