If you have only recently joined me for the Three Sixteens, you should know that this series explores my observation that nearly all New Testament books have some “lightbulb” moment, a standout verse, event or promise, landing at the point of chapter 3 verse 16. (And no one knows why!) The 3:16 of John’s Gospel is no doubt the most famous of all. It has been printed on shirts, cards, keyrings and stickers and taught in Sunday School songs til it has become the most famous bible verse of all time (even with non-Christians). And fair enough. This verse reveals God’s great love to us in Christ, his great sacrifice of sending his perfect son to be scorned, suffer and die, to satisfy the law and save us as his own. This eternal life cannot be earned, it is free and available to all who will believe.
John 3:16 “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.”
Since I really don’t need to convince you that this is a significant summary of God’s love and His redemptive purposes in Christ, I won’t. Instead I will share a song where another clever person (yes, being cheeky here) noticed the 3:16 connection. Matt Redman has connected John 3:16 with 1 John 3:16, and put them together in a song called “This is How we Know” (from the album We Shall not be Shaken, 2009).
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.”
Redman takes us from God’s great love, demonstrated in Christ, to our response: love God and love others! We recently taught this song to our evening congregation, to match with the sermon series in 1 John. It’s not the easiest song for a congregation to learn, but it is worth the few weeks of revision for the benefit of singing these glorious truths together. You can find the lyrics below.
THIS IS HOW WE KNOW
This is how we know, this is how we know what love is
Just one look at Your cross
And this is where we see, this is where we see how love works
For You surrendered Your all
And this is how we know that You have loved us first
And this is where we chose to love You in return
For You so loved the world that You gave Your only Son
Love amazing so divine, we will love You in return
For this life that You give, for this death that You have died
Love amazing so divine, We will love You in reply, Lord
And our love will be loud, Our love will be strong
Our love should be hands and feet that serve You in this world
So let it stay true and let it endure
That You will be glorified worshipped and adored
Authors Beth Redman Matt Redman Copyright 2009 Thankyou Music