The Three “Musts” of Salvation
Nov 6, 2017 3708
There are three “musts” of the third chapter of the gospel of John that explain what salvation is all about. John 3 is a very important chapter; in fact, it is chapter 1000 in the Bible. It has in it that wonderful verse,
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (v.16).
However, there is much else in this chapter that deserves our attention. Jesus is speaking here to Nicodemus, a Jewish religious teacher.
The first “must” is the most important one, because it is what Jesus has done, on which our salvation depends. It’s found in v.14:
The Son of Man must be lifted up.
When the Son of Man is lifted up, he draws all people to him (John 12:32). If we do not resist, we will find there our salvation.
Here our Lord sets forth the bedrock foundation of salvation, and of Christianity itself: the necessity of the Cross. Today some people consider that the Cross was not a necessary part of the achievement of our salvation. Others want to focus more on other aspects of Christian truth. Yet here Jesus affirms the non-negotiable nature of the Cross in the salvation of humanity. Is it the very heart and centre of your faith?
The second “must” is found in v.7. This refers to how we must respond to the Son of Man lifted up, in order to be saved:
You must be born again.
The Cross of Jesus is the bedrock foundation and imperative of Christianity, and of salvation itself.
This new birth which we must experience is the direct result of the Son of Man being “lifted up.” When accept his sacrifice on our behalf, then God unites us with Christ in his death, and therefore in his resurrection also (Rom 6:5), which we first experience as a spiritual resurrection – a new birth – into a new life that is now led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:4.11).
The third “must” is found in v.30. Now it is John the Baptist who is speaking. He is referring to Jesus when he says,
He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30.)
This is the natural result of focusing on and accepting the sacrifice of the Son of Man for our sin. This is result, not the reason for our salvation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The more we look to Jesus lifted up at Calvary, the higher that we will lift him up in our lives. As we do this, selfishness will diminish in our lives, as the fruit of the Spirit is manifested: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness” (Gal 5:22).
These are the three “musts” of salvation: the Son of Man must be lifted up, we must be born again, and Christ must increase while I must decrease. Learn them well, for your eternal destiny depends on them. – Eliezer Gonzalez