What verse summarizes the whole gospel?

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The Gospel – John 3:16

The verse John 3:16 sums the message of the gospel. The apostle John wrote, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The gospel declares that everlasting life was offered when God gave the unspeakable gift of His only Son to redeem mankind.

God is Love 

Love is the dominating quality of God in relation to His children. It is the ruling force in His divine government. “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  Love is true only when it is revealed in the life. God’s love for sinners led Him to offer His precious Son to die for their redemption (Romans 5:8).  

Through the Father’s gift, it becomes possible for men to be “called the sons of God” (1 John 3:1). It is the nature of love to sacrifice self for others; selfishness is the opposite of love. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). For this reason, John exclaims, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us” (1 John 3:1). 

God’s love engulfs all mankind, but benefits only those who receive it (Isaiah 55:1). Love needs reciprocity in order to be fully active. None of the lost can accuse the Lord of not loving him. The Bible declares, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The opposite of “everlasting life” is not everlasting misery, but eternal annihilation, everlasting death. Sin possesses the seeds of destruction. Death results, not because the Lord wills it, but because the wicked man chooses to separate himself from the Creator of life. 

Salvation Through Faith 

The gospel declares that there is but one condition for salvation which is belief in and cooperation with Christ (John 1:12). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). To become a son of God is to enter into the covenant relationship (Hosea 1:10) by the new birth (John 3:3) and become a changed new person (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

Although it is God’s goodness that leads men to forsake their sins (Romans 2:4), having everlasting life is conditional upon Christ’s abiding in the heart by faith. The person, who daily connects to Jesus by study of the Scriptures, prayer, and surrenders to His changing power has new life and has “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24, 25; 6:54; 8:51). 

To believe on the name of Jesus is not merely a mental acceptance of Bible truths. The devils admit that there is one God (James 2:19), but they remain devils. Theirs is an intellectual act not a moral and spiritual one. To believe on the name of Christ is to appropriate the provisions of salvation in Christ Jesus for victory over sin. The gospel declares that God does not only make people His sons; He empowers them to become such if they submit to Him. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

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