Why the Rest of the Gospel is the Best of the Gospel.

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daily text logoApril 30, 2015

1 John 3:16

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

CONSIDER THIS

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The most popular verse in the Bible without a doubt is John 3:16. In case you need reminding, here it is:

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.

This verse is clearly the banner and battle cry for what I call the first half of the Gospel. By that  I mean the initial decision to trust Jesus by confession, repentance and baptism.

I am on a campaign to make 1 John 3:16 the banner verse and battle cry of the second half of the gospel or the rest of the Gospel as I like to say it. By that I mean the ongoing process of abandoning one’s life to Jesus Christ in love for the sake of others coming to know him. It is the movement from “believing” the Love of God in Jesus Christ to “becoming” the Love of God in Jesus Christ. Here’s 1 John 3:16. It’s why we also like to say, “The rest of the Gospel is the best of the Gospel.”

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

So why this text as the banner for the second half of the Gospel? Because it clearly and simply and profoundly defines what God means by love. Why do we need that? Consider the definitive definition of the word love by the standard source: Webster:

Love: 1) a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. 2) attraction that includes sexual desire: the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship. 3) the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration.

The world’s translation of today’s text would look like this:

This is how we know what love is: a feeling of strong or constant affection, attraction or sexual desire for a person.

Now compare again with the Bible’s definition:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

I’m not knocking feelings of strong or constant affection or attraction or romance. I’m just saying for the sake of clarity we should probably just refer to that as feelings of strong or constant affection or attraction or romance rather than calling it love.

Nothing is more beautiful or winsome or powerful than people laying down their interests and agendas and needs and desires in the interest of what is in the very best interest of other people. In fact, the most descriptive word for this kind of love is the word “holy.” It’s why at Seedbed we often pair the words together in order to distinguish the kind of love we want to raise a banner for: Holy Love.

So how about it? Will you join the campaign? 1 John 3:16. I’m loading it into my “rememberizer” today. Let’s raise a banner.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

P.S. If you want to get more of a sense of what I mean with this second half of the Gospel thinking, take a look at this five minute video. It’s fun, fast moving and involves chalk. I think you will find it compelling and it’s really the reason behind why I write the Daily Text and what Seedbed is all about.

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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