A Voice from the Past: The Heart Of The Gospel -- By: Arthur T. Pierson

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 10:2 (Autumn 1997)
Article: A Voice from the Past: The Heart Of The Gospel
Author: Arthur T. Pierson


A Voice from the Past:
The Heart Of The Gospel1

Arthur T. Pierson2

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Introduction

There is one text in the NT that has been preached from oftener than any other in the Bible. It has been the foundation of great revivals of religion, like that among the Tahitians; or that among the Telugus in India, where 2,222 people were baptized in one day, nearly 5,000 people in thirty days, and 10,000 people within ten months; and where, even during the year drawing to its close, nearly 10,000 more souls have been baptized. It is a wonderful text. Luther called it one of “the little gospels.” It is this (John 3:16): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

You will naturally wonder what there is in that old text that is new. I have found something that was very new to me, and which also may be to you. I suppose that I had read that verse tens of thousands of times, and yet, a little while ago, as I was led to preach upon that text, I sought of the Lord a clearer view of it, that I might glorify Him, by bringing forth out of His treasure things new and old. After reading these familiar words over, perhaps a hundred times, prayerfully asking for new light

and insight, there suddenly came to me this absolutely new discovery, as though one, looking up into the heavens, should see a cloud swept away from before the stars, and a new constellation revealed. It flashed on my thought that there are ten words in the verse that are quite prominent words, such as God, loved, world, whosoever, and so on. Then a little more close and careful search showed those words in a hitherto undiscovered mutual relation: the ten words were in five pairs. There is one pair of words that has to do with the two persons of the Godhead—God the Father and God the Son. There is a second pair of words that has to do with the expression of the Father’s attitude or posture towards this world—He loved and He gave. Then there is a third pair of words that refers to the objects of the divine love—world and whosoever. Then there is a fourth pair of words that shows us what the attitude of man ought to be when God’s love and gift come to his knowledge—believe and have. Then the last pair of words points us ...

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