There is a debate among Christians over the “whosoever” in John 3:16. The question is” did God put on human flesh and live on earth for 33 years to die a horrible death for a few “chosen” people He would draw to Himself, and leave the majority of people without hope? Or did Jesus come to purchase salvation for the world, for every man, woman, and child who draws breath?
God loves the world. God gave His Son so that everyone who believes will have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world – not to condemn – but to save the world. Anyone who believes in Him in not condemned. Anyone who doesn’t believe is already condemned because of his unbelief. The truth is, Jesus came to be the Light but some people prefer the darkness. (see John 3:16-21)
Some people will point to Matthew 22:14 where Jesus said: Many are called, but few are chosen, and John 6:44 where the Lord said: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and Ephesians 2:8-9 which says: It is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works so that no one may boast. These verses, they will argue, support the belief that God is selective in whose life He is working, that we as individuals have nothing to do with it.
Yet Jesus said: I will draw ALL PEOPLE to Myself. (John 12:32)
Here’s what I see according to Scripture:
- Jesus died for the sin of the world, for all of us without exception.
- God the Holy Spirit is revealing Himself, drawing to Himself every person – everyone! It’s not a question of “if” the Spirit moves in someone’s heart. The Spirit’s moving in all hearts. That’s a given.
- Now here’s where the “chosen” comes in. God chooses to save anyone who believes, anyone who is born again (John 3:5ff). God chooses to reject and condemn anyone who refuses to believe, anyone who prefers the darkness over the light He reveals to everyone.
C.S. Lewis said it best: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “Thy will be done.”
Think about that for a minute.
The Lord is “…not wishing that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b)
I think there is much more Scriptural evidence to support the fact that God, right now this minute, is working in the hearts and lives of all people everywhere, that He is seeking to save the lost, that God chose mankind to save and provided salvation for “whosoever” at the cross.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20)
If there are people to whom the Holy Spirit is not revealing Himself, if there are some who God deems expendable, if there are those God is not drawing to Himself because they didn’t make the list, they would have a right to sit in hell and say, “It’s not fair. God didn’t choose me.”
No. They will sit isolated in hell and weep over the fact they didn’t choose God, remembering all the times God wooed, drew, revealed Himself, and died, so had they believed, their eternity would be life instead of the agonizing death they suffer. They will sit there forever without excuse.
If you have yet to submit to God, to be born again, I can assure you God is working fervently in your heart right now. His desire is that you become His child through the blood of His Son. You.
If you have a loved one who seems far from making that decision, rest assured that God is working fervently in that heart right this minute, too. Keep praying. Keep living your faith in front of them. Keep trusting God because He loves that person even more than you do.
He will do everything He can to draw all people to Himself. Except making them come to Him. That is a choice they will have to make for themselves. That choice isn’t “works,” as some people believe. Paul tells us all to make that choice:
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9)
That is a promise to whosoever believes.
And when they make that choice to believe, they become chosen of God. He won’t turn away anyone who comes to Him.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)