The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 46 of 210
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bounded by time. There is only one alternative, the opposite of living for ever with God
and that is perishing, and there is no middle position.
The apostle Paul uses the same figure as John:
"Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them . . . . .
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything
visible" (Eph. 5: 11-13).
The light of God's truth contained in His Word, the holy Scriptures, is His standard by
which everything must be measured. Eternal life is a tremendous gift and is found only
in Christ:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
Lord" (Rom. 6: 23).
To receive the gift of eternal life by faith and trust in Christ is to be saved in the N.T.
sense. Charles H. Welch's summing up will help here:
"To receive the gift of eternal life . . . . . is to be saved. Salvation includes both life
and deliverance from condemnation, the subjects of which will not perish, but, as another
passage has it, have `passed from death into life' (John 5: 24). Thus, all who are
redeemed, whatever their calling, sphere and destiny, can rejoice as they contemplate the
love, the gift, and the deliverance revealed in verse 16 (of chapter 3:)."
Verses 25-29 record a dispute between some of the Baptist's disciples and a Jew about
purification. Previous verses (22-24) tell us that the baptizing ministry of the Lord and
John the Baptist went on side by side. There was no real rivalry except in people's
minds. However, some of John's disciples seemed to resent that Christ was attracting
more followers than John. They came to him and said, "Rabbi, that man who was with
you on the other side of Jordan--the one you testified about--well, He is baptizing, and
everyone is going to Him" (3: 26). They were evidently jealous of the Lord as a rival of
John. They did not approve of the growing crowds with the Lord and the dwindling
crowds with John. And so jealousy began to creep in and this, alas, has occurred from
time to time in subsequent Christian history.
The Baptist remained true to his testimony about Christ. He answered them:
"You yourselves can testify that I said, I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of Him.
The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and
listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine,
and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less" (3: 28-30).