Q. You always see somebody holding this message behind the end zone.
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.” What does this really mean?
A. It means that God is infinitely and perfectly holy and as sinners we can’t be in close proximity to His presence without getting burned up into oblivion. So we can’t spend eternity with Him unless we stop pretending that we can erase that sin gap problem between us by earning our way to heaven by our own efforts (this is pride). Instead, we are required to believe that Jesus (perfectly innocent scape-goat) willingly paid the price for our sins (free ticket!) so that we can spend eternity in the presence of our perfectly holy God. God had to do it entirely His way for us, because Adam and Eve (representing all of mankind’s tendencies through free will) basically said to God, “Dude, we’ve decided to take matters into our own hands and do things our way” So now God says, “Alright, but I’m your perfectly holy creator and that’s a sin. Therefore, in order to get back into safe relationship with me you will have to submit to doing it my way. And just to show you I’m not vindictive about it and I actually love you, I’m sending my own son to pay the bill for any and all of your sins.” So, instead of punishing us for our sins; God, in His love for us, asked Jesus to vicariously take the punishment onto himself so that we could have a free ticket (get out of jail free card) to blissful eternity with God.
Seems pretty simple, but the thing is, we often have so much inflated egotistical pride (from doing things our way) or an insecure need for positive personal identity in our own performances that we are often blinded by the sheer simplicity of this gospel message.