How Can I Believe?

A Guide To Becoming A Christian

John 3:16
Guide To The Christian Faith

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that

whoever believes in Him should not perish but have Eternal Life.”

Everything you need to know to become a Christian, putting your faith and trust in Jesus, is found in John 3:16. It is the Good News of our loving God put into a very concise form. It is a guide for you to use to discover God’s love for His creation – His love for you.

May the Lord bless you as you follow this guide. May the Lord bless you with saving faith. Pray this prayer as you begin: “Heavenly Father, bless my reading. Holy Spirit guide my understanding. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

“For God”
What does this mean?

“For” means because, for a reason
“God” means the Supreme Deity, One and only God of all

Everything begins here. God is the beginning and ending of all things. God created the universe and set this world in it. He populated this planet with everything we know. He crowned His creation with humankind.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” (Romans 1:20)

“so loved”
What does this mean?

“so” means in such a manner, in this way
“loved” means a deep caring action on a precious object

The love of God for His precious creatures, whom He created in His image, is extreme. It is a large and passionate love. It is a love that will do anything for the one loved. This love began from the very beginning of creation.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,…” (Ephesians 2:4)

“the world”
What does this mean?

“the” means our specific world
“world” means specifically all the world’s human inhabitants

The object of God’s main love is for His human creation on earth. The world God created was good and His human creation even better. He lives for His human creation, so to speak. We are His joy. He created everything else in the world for us to enjoy and care for.

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
(Genesis 1:31)

“that He gave”
What does this mean?

“that” means therefore
“He gave” means that God delivered up and bestowed

As a parent will give anything for the children they love, so God would give whatever was needed to love His children and care for them. He would do so because of His great love for His most precious creation, humankind.

God’s human creation was on a collision course with death and separation from Him. This is because of rebellion and sin against Him. God did not want this to happen so He intervened on the part of humankind to solve this problem. He did something very extreme, which we see in the next part of this verse.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“…God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”
(Romans 5:6)

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1 John 4:14)

“His only Son”
What does this mean?

“His” means God the Father
“only” means sole possession and love
“Son” means His begotten child from Himself, one with Him, Jesus, both God and Human

The gift that God gave to the world He created and all humankind was His only begotten Son. His name is Jesus. God had given His Spirit to men and women in the past to share His love and guide them but those efforts only revealed the great problem that humankind had. The only way He could deal with humankind’s problem was to bring His Son in human form to earth. He would walk with God’s human creation and learn of their situation first hand. Jesus would be the very mind of God on earth.

God provided Jesus to die on the Cross to take the punishment for all our sins upon Himself and give us His sinlessness. He became sin for us. Jesus sealed this covenant with His rising from the dead.

“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” (Mark 9:7)

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“that whoever”
What does this mean?

“that” means in order that something may be accomplished
“whoever” means all and every human being

God sent His Son to earth for every human being. There was not one exclusive group that could claim Him. What He would give would be available for all.

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all,…” (Romans 8:32)

“believes in Him”
What does this mean?

“believes” means to put ones complete trust into someone
“in” means there is an intent to enter into a relationship
“Him” means God’s Son, Jesus

This is the grace of God’s Holy Spirit at work. He creates faith in a person. It is a free Gift. What God creates in a person is a complete trust in His Gift – His Son. One believes and confesses what Jesus came to accomplish. One repents of (turns from) their sin and stops trusting oneself and begins trusting Him. This trust begins a relationship with God’s Son, Jesus, for all of life and beyond.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God.”
(1 John 5:1)

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15)

“…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

“So everyone who acknowledges (confesses) me (Jesus) before men, I also will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
(Ephesians 2:8-9)

“should not perish”
What does this mean?

“should not” means God provides a way out of a situation
“perish” means to be lost, destroyed completely, cut off, the sentence of separation from God forever

As we believe and trust God’s act of sending His Son, Jesus, to rescue us from being cut off from Him by dying on the Cross, we will never perish or be separated from Him.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:17)

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:9)

“but have Eternal Life”
What does this mean?

“but” means an alternative is provided to perishing
“have” means this alternative can be firmly possessed
“Eternal Life” means perpetual, beyond time existence with God

God provides the alternative to perishing, separation from Him, which is forgiveness of our sins and an eternal, everlasting existence with Him, His Son and the Holy Spirit. This new course of salvation with God is possible because God plants faith in those who hear about Jesus. As you come to trust Him, Eternal Life is yours.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.”
(1 Tim. 1:15)

“…to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of men, but of God.”
(John 1:12-13)

A New Beginning

Do you believe this promise that you have discovered in John 3:16, and trust Jesus as your Savior and Lord? If so, God has created faith in you. You have begun trusting Jesus with your life and eternity. The next step is to be baptized “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” to seal God’s promise for you. The Bible says, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins,…” (Acts 2 38) “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved…” (Mark 16:16)

If you have been baptized as an infant you have affirmed your baptism by your renewed and trusting faith in Jesus. Your baptism has come alive and your salvation is sealed.

From here on it is important for you to become part of a Christian fellowship where the Word of God is rightly preached and taught, and the Sacraments rightly administered.

You should read and study the Bible so that you are kept in your saving faith and are not led astray by Satan down a path that is destructive. You should purchase a Bible and begin reading the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John was written for one purpose – to bring people to trust Jesus.

You have become a child of God, a Christian, through your faith in Jesus and your baptism. Your eternity with God begins now. Pray this prayer of thanksgiving:

“Heavenly Father, You have fulfilled Your promise to me. You have placed faith in Your Son, Jesus, within me. That saving faith, trust, has begun to transform my life to live for Jesus as one of His disciples. Bless me on my faith journey. Bless me through my baptism. Thank You for Your work of grace in me. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.”

Our Hope

It is our hope that this guide to becoming a Christian, using John 3:16, will be helpful for you in finding the joy of being a child of God through faith in Jesus, the Christ. There is nothing like being part of God’s Forever Family.



All Scripture References are from the ESV Bible (English Standard Version)