31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
The purpose of John is that you might believe and find life.
John is written to teach men that Jesus is the Christ. Actually I love this gospel more dearly than any of the others because it clearly presents Jesus as the Creator and the Savior of the world. It is fashionable on the part of some to declare what is called limited atonement, or the idea that Jesus only died for the elect. John knows nothing of this limited atonement—over and over again he repeats phrases similar to “for God so loved the world”. Reading Calvin’s commentary on John recently, I was impressed that even Calvin did not deny the plain sense of this gospel, but rather gave free weight to their primary thrust. I do not understand why so many claiming to follow Calvin insist on rewriting the many verses of John that express that the Savior on the cross gave Himself for all.
But as I have frequently commented, John also is the most clear gospel about those who are not saved. Jesus clearly foreknows the elect, and those who will have nothing to do with Him it says, “but He did not commit Himself unto any of them for He knew all men. There is a limited atonement only in the sense that it is strictly limited to those who will come to me, for it says, “he that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The mystery of election does not allow us in; rather we must view it from the outside, but in John we see them both clearly presented. God both foreknows and predestines. Men refuse the offered grace of God, and men are held to account for their willful blindness. Neither truth can be compromised at the expense of the other without pulling the saint significantly away from the truth. One day God will judge all men who refused His conviction, and it will be found that men’s willfulness have made them, as Paul says, “without excuse.”
Sometimes I have been accused of harshness in presenting the gospel, but I say unto you that that is the way it has been handed down to us. “Neither is there salvation under any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” It begins and ends with Jesus, and I am so thankful that John makes it clear. The world is desperately lost and in need of its Savior.
1. Up Calvary's mountain, one dreadful morn,
Walked Christ my Savior, weary and worn;
Facing for sinners death on the cross,
That He might save them from endless loss.
2. "Father forgive them!" thus did He pray,
E'en while His lifeblood flowed fast away;
Praying for sinners while in such woe
No one but Jesus ever loved so.
3. O how I love Him, Savior and Friend,
How can my praises ever find end!
Through years unnumbered on Heaven's shore,
My tongue shall praise Him forevermore.
Blessed Redeemer! Precious Redeemer!
Seems now I see Him on Calvary's tree;
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading,
Blind and unheeding dying for me!
Lyrics: Avis Marguerite Burgeson Christiansen