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15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.


The purpose of Jesus’ death was to give eternal life.

15 that whoever

God’s promise is for anyone who would chose to believe on what Christ did on the cross for them. God leaves the name on the check blank. It is for anyone to choose and write his own name on the check.

believes in Him

As Israel looked at the bronze snake by faith to live physically, so looking at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ by faith gives eternal life. This is an assertion that anyone who will believe will have eternal life. By looking to the cross and believing that Jesus died for their sins there, they will have eternal life.

should not perish

A look of faith at the finished work of Christ means that a person will not go to hell but will have and hold eternal life.

but have eternal life.

“Eternal life” occurs here for the first time. This life is God’s life shared with those who believe, a life that does not end (Jn 6:58). Eternal life will never cease, but the most important idea regarding “eternal life” is not its length but its quality. This life is God’s life and we have God’s life when we believe.

The word “have” indicates present possession. The person who believes in Jesus has the present possession of eternal life. Eternal life does not begin at death but at the point of salvation (Jn 5:24). People do not begin eternal life at their death but at the point they receive Christ to save them from their sins.


Only God can make provision for our sin.


On a human level nothing dead can give life. God ties Jesus’ death on the cross to our eternal life. Those who believe on Him possess this life. New birth can give new life, eternal life. The Bible closely associates eternal life and Jesus. Heaven is open to everyone who believes on Him. The answer to the “snake issue” was not by killing the snakes or taking medicine for snake poison or passing “anti-snake” laws. The answer was to look by faith at the snake on the pole. The answer to the snake of sin in our lives is to look to the One who paid for our sins on the cross.

We cannot make provision for our sin, because we are sinners. Only God could deal with the eternal effects of our sin by the death of Jesus on the cross. Man, by sin, spiritually died, and by a greater Man received eternal life. Redemption always comes by divine provision (Ro 8:3).

The heart of the gospel is the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ to heaven. Belief in this is non-negotiable.