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The World of Believers and Unbelievers

No one writes or even thinks like the Apostle John. He’s light years away from my writing but I’m intrigued as I contemplate the flow of his gospel. Last week we saw that John separated the world into two groups: believers and unbelievers. People who receive and trust Jesus are reborn of God (John 1:9-13), however, what about the ones who don’t seem to care about salvation?

This is where the concept of the lower and upper story brings clarity. Lower story: Esau despised his birthright and sold it to Jacob.

In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau. Romans 9:13 NLT

Esau represents the world of unbelievers, those who have no need or care for what Jesus has done for them. Upper story: God rejects those who love the darkness and hate the light (John 3:19); people who reject God’s offer of salvation cannot enjoy fellowship with Him, ever.

Numbers 21 describes a lower story: the people rejected God and Moses, consequently, God sent fiery serpents to punish them. Repentance brought a remedy; whoever looked at the bronze serpent was healed. Jesus gave us the upper story:

“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.”
John 3:14-15 NLT

Why did the apostle John alone record this teaching of Jesus? Possibly because John, being heavenly-minded, understood the separation in the world that will never change. There will always be Esaus who reject God and there will always be those who follow God’s instructions. This reminder led Jesus into His most famous few words recorded in the Bible:

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

Unfortunately, many people stop reading at verse 16 and miss Jesus’ point in discussing the world of believers and unbelievers. We enter life as sinners (Eph. 2:3), hopelessly lost, and look to God’s Son for salvation. Jesus told us that He wasn’t sent into the world to condemn us; we’re already condemned (vs. 18). He was sent to save us.

Here’s the the gospel truth:

“But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” John 3:21 NLT

Here’s our challenge; as a believer, are we doing what God wants? Do our works, behavior, or attitudes reflect Him? If God loved the world of believers so much that He sent His only Son to pay the price of our condemnation, shouldn’t we live as if we care? Shouldn’t our belief and trust in the Savior of the World be seen? Answer: Yes, you are not an Esau, you are dearly loved by God.

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