Reflections on John 3:16, continued
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Reflections on John 3:16, continued

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believe in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Last essay, I explored how God gave the Son to save the world. How does saving the world this apply to the second part of the sentence, which focuses on individual salvation? To address this question, I will first consider what it means to believe in the Son.
Many people think that belief involves only confessing faith. I am skeptical of this view. Jesus said, "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). And, when describing how to identify true prophets Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16 and 7:20). To my reading, Jesus was teaching that those who have faith will act accordingly. Indeed, James said faith without works is dead (2:17).
I see belief as involving actions. Claiming faith is easy; acting on faith takes determination and, often, courage. Therefore, for Christians, to believe in the Son involves following Jesus’ teachings, the most fundamental of which is to love one’s neighbor as oneself. I am convinced that those who really believe in the Son would do their best to help those in need and would avoid harming innocent individuals, including the nonhumans who are at our mercy.
Next essay, I will consider how this faith might result in “eternal life.”

Go on to: John 3:16, “Eternal Life,” part 1
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents

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