There are three verses of scripture that correlate with one another. The significance of them is not only in their content but in the fact that they are all verses ending in 3:16. It's not coincidental that God has created this trio of verses so relevant to mankind and the identity of their one Savior and Lord; the only hope of salvation.
John 3:16 - "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."
This verse is perhaps the most well known Bible verse in the world for the believer as well as the unbeliever. It is probably the most quoted scripture and the easiest to understand. God loved the world speaks of everyone who ever lived. The creator loves his creation. That is not too difficult for us to understand.
I love the idea that God didn't send a committee to save the world because committees never seem to resolve much and what they do get done takes extended periods of time and often the results are of far less value than the time expended in getting them done. Instead, God sent his "only begotten son." Jesus is the only man who could bridge the
gap between man's wickedness and God's holiness and purity. At the same time he was Emmanuel meaning "God with us." He's the incarnation, or God come in human flesh.
The next two verses speak of Christ as God but indirectly so that it requires study for the student to understand the connection although it is an obvious one. Let's look at both.
1 John 3:16 - "Hereby perceive we the love of God; in that He laid down his life for us;
so ought we also to lay down our lives for the brethren."
Many people can quote John 3:16 but haven't a clue what this verse says even though the reference is almost identical. Here we see that God laid down his life for us therefore equating Jesus and God as the same. This is a verification of two thirds of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, or as I prefer to call it, the Godhead; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The next verse amplifies what I am saying and is very emphatically applicable to only one person who ever lived.
I Timothy 3:16 - "And without controversy; great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
Consider what is being said here. Let's break this down piece by piece. First of all we are talking about God being manifest in the flesh which means God was seen in a human body. Let's follow along. Justified in the Spirit would be when Jesus came up out of the water after being baptized by John and the Spirit and the Father were there and God the Father said; "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Moving on we come to God was seen of angels. That is a given so lets move on. God was preached unto the Gentiles. The reference to the Gentiles here is significant because some disciples had a specific calling to preach Christ to the gentiles or heathen or non-Jews. This then could only refer to Christ. Believed on in the world could apply to the Father or the Son but not in this context. The clincher is "received up into Heaven." That applies exclusively to the Lord Jesus Christ. So taken together God (the second person of the Trinity of Godhead) was - and then all those things mentioned apply and make sense thereby proving that Jesus was God indeed.
Recap and conclusion: God the Father loved the lost world so much that he sacrificed His only son to save wicked mankind and grant them eternal life. God the Son laid down his life for us as an example for us to lay down our lives for others. That applies to death to ourselves and our own desires and in even physical death and possible martyrdom.
The proof of Christ's Divinity is boldly pronounced in I Timothy 3:16 because the six things mentioned about him (manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit,seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world and received up into glory} are exclusive to him. So we have three 3:16's verifying Christ's Deity and showing God's
love for a lost world. There are other 3:16's in scripture but only these three tie together.
C R Lord © 2/16/2012