Not As of Covetousness

2Corinthians 9:1-5 For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you: For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has provoked very many. Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, you may be ready: Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, you) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting. Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof you had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. 

‘I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.’ Paul had been boasting of their giving, to the congregations of Macedonia, and of Greece which was ready to contribute a year ago (8:10). Their zeal for charity has provoked many to do their best in giving to the poor (those who had suffered financially because of the fierce persecutions amongst Christians).

‘I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, you may be ready.’ Paul sent the brethren, lest their boasting is in vain, and so they may be ready with their gift when the time comes. Paul didn’t want the brethren from Macedonia to come with him and find the congregation of Jerusalem unprepared. In that case, Paul would be ashamed that he had boasted about them (9:4). Because of this, he thought it necessary to exhort the brethren that they would go before them and prepare their gift beforehand. They wanted this to be a matter of the fruit of blessings poured out from willing and beneficent hearts, not from a grudging and covetous spirit (9:5).

Covetousness breeds the following: Greed and murder (Prov. 1:19; Isa. 56:11; Jer. 22:17); poverty and rebellion (Prov. 11:24); oppression and violence (Prov. 22:16; Jer. 22:17; Mic. 2:2); denial of God (Prov. 30:8-9); injustice (Isa. 1:23; Mic. 7:3); backsliding (Mic. 3:11); deceptions (Matt. 13:22); defilement (Mark 7:21-23); temptations and lusts (1Tim. 6:9-11; 1Jn. 2:15-17); a short life and a fool’s end (Jer. 17:11; Luke 12:16-21). Examples of covetousness: Eve-forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:6); Lot-lands (Gen. 13:10-13); Jacob-birthright and his father’s blessing (Gen. 25:31; 27:6-29); Balaam-rewards (2Pet. 2:15); Achan-money (Josh. 7:21); David-woman (2Sam. 11:2-5); Ahab-vineyard (1Kin. 21:2-16); Gehazi-gifts (2Kin. 5:20-27); Rich fool-security (Luke 12:17); Judas-silver (Matt. 26:15-16); Pharisees-riches (Luke 16:14); Simon Magus-Holy Ghost power (Acts 8:18-23); Festus-money (Acts 24:26); Demas-pleasures (2Tim. 4:10).

Thanks Be to God

2Corinthians 8:16-24 But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you. For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you. And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches; And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind: Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us: Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men. And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you. Whether any do enquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be enquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ. Wherefore show you to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf. 

‘Put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.’ To the end that they were blessed by supplying the poor saints at Jerusalem, Paul has sent Titus and another brother who was well known among the congregations (2Cor. 8:16-18).

‘Brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.’ Who this brother was is not known.

‘Travel with us with this grace’ – with this clue it is still impossible to tell who this brother was, as Paul had different companions – Timothy, Silas, Titus, Luke, and others. It is noticeable that Paul did not go around collecting money by himself, nor did he send only one brother to do so (2Cor. 8:16-20). This was a way to keep things honest in the sight of both God and man (2Cor. 8:20-23). Regardless of how honest one is and how much confidence the people have in a man, it is always right to have every part of the work of God carried on in a professional manner and fully above reproach.

‘Messengers’ [Greek: apostoloi; apostolos] a delegate, one sent with the full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went. It is found 81 times and translated apostle 78 times; messenger twice (2Cor. 8:23; Php. 2:25); and once he that is sent (John 13:16).

‘Our boasting on your behalf’ – the only boasting allowed is “in the Lord” (2Cor. 10:12-18) and we boast only of things which God has done by us. The Greek word kauchesis means boasting (7:14; 8:24; 9:4; 11:10, 17; Rom. 3:27); glorying (7:4; Rom. 15:17); and rejoicing (1Cor. 15:31; 2Cor. 1:12; 1Thess. 2:19; Jas. 4:16).

Expedient for You

2Corinthians 8:8-15 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which you have. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man has, and not according to that he has not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. 

‘I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.’ Paul did not order them to do this. He had no authority over their property. What they gave to charity should have been a willing work on their part. He took the occasion of the quickness of other congregations to help the poor (8:2-5), to prove the sincerity of their love.

‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that you through his poverty might be rich.’ The grace of giving was not by commandment (8:8), but by the example of other congregations (8:2-5), and especially by the supreme example of the Lord Jesus Christ. He became poor for all Christians, that by this poverty they might be rich.

‘Rich, yet for your sakes he became poor.’ If Jesus Christ was a mere man, as some contend, in what sense was He rich and how could He make many others rich by His poverty? His family was poor. He possessed no property from the manger to the cross. He died a poor man and was buried in a borrowed grave. The answer to these questions would have to be that He was and still is more than a mere man. He was God from all eternity (Mic. 5:1-2; John 1:1-2). He created and owned the vast universe (Eph. 3:9; John 1:3; Col. 1:15-18). He laid aside His divine form and riches and took human form to redeem. He became poor and died as man’s substitute. He now saves all who believe (John 3:16). They become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ of all God owns (Php. 2:5-11; John 3:16; Rom. 8:17-18; Col. 3:1-4; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:10; 11:15; 22:4-5).

‘A year ago’ – about a year ago they started the growth of this grace. Now is the time to finish it (8:10-12).

‘For I mean not that other men be eased, and you burdened’ – Paul did not mean that some are burdened and others eased, but that there be equality and he explained as follows: At this time they can share your abundance and supply their need. It may be that circumstances will change and they may by their abundance supply your need (8:13-14). ‘He that had gathered much had nothing over, and he that had gathered little had no lack.’ Quoted from Exodus 16:18.

To the Lord

2Corinthians 8:1-7 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as you abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this grace also.

‘We do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia.’ Paul now brags [praise always ‘in the Lord’ on the congregations of Macedonia about their giving to the poor saints at Jerusalem (8:1-5).

‘How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.’ The Macedonians, though poor and persecuted, rejoiced at the opportunity of doing good to their more impoverished and persecuted brethren in Judea.

‘Liberality’ [Greek: haplotes] simplicity (1:12; 11:3; Rom. 12:8;); singleness (Eph. 6:5; Col. 3:22); liberality (8:2; 9:13); and bountifulness (9:11).

Liberality commanded regarding: God (Ex. 22:29-30; 25:1-8; 35:4-29; 36:3-6; 38:8; Lev. 19:5; Num. 35:8); Israel’s feasts (Deut. 12:11-19); Ministers (Deut. 12:19; 14:27-29; 18:1-8; Prov. 3:9; Mal. 3:1-18; 1Cor. 9:1-27; Gal. 6:6); The poor (Deut. 24:19-22; Ps. 41:1-3; 112:5, 112:9; Prov. 11:24; 13:7; 14:21; 19:17; 22:9; 28:27; Matt. 6:1-4; 19:21; 25:34-46; Luke 3:10-11; 6:38; 11:41; 12:33-34; Acts 20:35; Rom. 12:8-13; 1Cor. 16:1-3; 2Cor. 8-9; Eph. 4:28; 1Tim. 6:18; Heb. 6:10; 13:16; 1Jn. 3:17).

‘Beyond their power they were willing of themselves.’ The Macedonian congregations gave beyond their ability, and did so willingly, even praying that their brethren would receive the gift (8:3-5).

‘But first gave their selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.’ This is the secret of all giving of material things. When one gives himself to the Lord, he is willing to do all other things the gospel teaches.

‘Grace’ this compassion on the poor is called a grace in 2Corinthians 8:1, 6, 7, 19; 9:14.

‘As you abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that you abound in this grace also.’ Seven blessings of the Corinthian congregations: They were enriched in everything (8:7), and abounding in faith (8:7; 12:9), utterance: tongues, interpretation of tongues, and prophecy (8:7; 1Cor. 12:10; 14:1-40), knowledge (8:7; 1Cor. 12:8), in all diligence (8:7; 7:11), in love (8:7; 1Cor. 13:1-13), and in the grace of giving (8:7).

In the Sight of God

2Corinthians 7:11-16 For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things. 

‘What carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.’ Seven blessings of godly sorrow are mentioned here – it promotes: Working of carefulness and obedience. Clearing of selves from guilt. Indignation and hatred of sin. Fear of God and the result of sin. Desire to make things right. Zeal to do the right thing. Revenge in punishing the guilty.

‘I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.’ This is a reference to the fornicator of 1Corinthians 5:1-13.

‘For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spoke all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I make before Titus, is found a truth.’ Paul boasted to Titus of the Corinthians and they have confirmed his boasts to Titus themself. For that reason was he exceedingly happy (7:13-14). Titus was moved with great affection for them when he saw their obedience and how they received him with fear and trembling (7:15).

‘I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.’ Paul rejoiced then since he has learned of them that they have judged the guilty and had broken up the factions that were among them. If the false prophet who seduced them from truth and righteousness had succeeded Paul would have had to act by his power to correct things (1Cor. 4:19-21). As it is now, he had confidence in them in all things that they will obey.

Godly Sorrow

2Corinthians 7:8-10 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle had made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow work repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world work death. 

‘For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, thou I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle had made you sorry, though it were but for a season.’ Paul first regretted having written such a severe letter, but when he saw its effect he was glad.

‘Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance.’ He did not rejoice because they were made sorry, but he was glad that they sorrowed to repentance. They were made sorry after a godly manner so that no harm has been done, for godly sorrow always works to the salvation of those who exercise it (7:9-10).

‘That you might receive damage by us in nothing’ – their repentance prevented him from using his power for destruction so that they received no damage in anything.

‘Godly sorrow work repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world work death.’ Three kinds of sorrow here (7:8-10): Paul’s regret for the moment as he wondered whether he had made a mistake by being too severe in his letter (7:8). Godly sorrow that works repentance to salvation, changes the life and cleanses it from sin (7:8-10). Sorrow of the world that works death (7:10). This is unrepentant sorrow or pain over lost goods, lost friends, lack of pleasure and partial reaping of what has been sowed.

Examples of sorrow: Cain in punishment (Gen. 4:13-14). Hagar in homelessness (Gen. 21:17). Israel in bondage (Exo. 3:7-10). Jacob for Joseph (Gen. 37:34-35). Jacob for Benjamin (Gen. 43:14). Hannah in barrenness (1Sam. 1:15). Saul when rejected (1Sam. 15:24, 30). David for Absalom (2Sam. 18:33 – 19:8). Mary and Martha (John 11:19-40). Jesus (Isa. 53:3; Matt. 26:37-44). Judas in betrayal (Matt. 27:3-5). The Corinthians (2Cor. 7:8-12).

Come Out.. Be Separate.. Touch Not

2Corinthians 6:17-18 Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty. 

‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.’ This is the 3rd Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in 2 Corinthians (Isa. 52:11).

‘Comeout from among them, and be you separate’ – forty kinds of people not to have fellowship with: The ungodly (Ps. 1:1-6); scorners (Ps. 1:1-6); workers of iniquity (Ps. 6:8); vain persons (Ps. 26:4); evil workers (Ps. 26:5); criminals (Pro. 1:10-15); the foolish (Pro. 9:6; 14:17); the angry man (Pro. 22:24); an excommunicated congregation member (Matt. 18:17); those causing divisions (Rom. 16:17); backsliders (2Jn. 1:9-11); false teachers (1Tim. 6:3-5; 2Jn. 1:10); the disorderly (2Thess. 3:6); the disobedient (2Thess. 3:14-15); unbelievers (2Cor. 6:14); infidels (2Cor. 6:15); fornicators (1Cor. 5:9); covetous people (1Cor. 5:10); extortioners (1Cor. 5:10); idolaters (1Cor. 5:10); railers (1Cor. 5:11); drunkards (1Cor. 5:11); lovers of themselves (2Tim. 3:2); boasters (2Tim. 3:2); proud people (2Tim. 3:2); blasphemers (2Tim. 3:2); those who are disobedient to parents (2Tim. 3:2); unthankful people (2Tim. 3:2); unholy people (2Tim. 3:2); those without natural affection (2Tim. 3:3); trucebreakers (2Tim. 3:3); false accusers (2Tim. 3:3); incontinent (2Tim. 3:3); fierce people (2Tim. 3:3); despisers of those who are good (2Tim. 3:3); traitors (2Tim. 3:4); heady people (2Tim. 3:4); highminded people (2Tim. 3:4); those who love pleasure more than God (2Tim. 3:4); hypocrites – those who have “a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof” (2Tim. 3:5).

‘Unclean’ [Greek: akathartos] translated “unclean” and “foul”: Of unclean and foul spirits 24 times out of 30 (Luke 4:33); of children (1Cor. 7:14); of the homosexual (Eph. 5:5); of the unclean thing (2Cor. 6:17) All demonic, moral, and physical uncleanness must be cleansed from body and spirit if one wants the fulfilment of the promises of 2Corinthians 6:16-18.

‘And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ The same kind of promise as 2Samuel 7:14. This means that God will assume all responsibility of parental concern and give Himself to the eternal care of His family (Eph. 3:14; Matt. 7:11). At this point here, one is in God (He will receive us) and can then be called redeemed after following the steps of verse 17: Come out from among them, and be separate, and touch nothing unclean thing.

Sufferings

2Corinthians 1:5-11 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounded by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so shall you be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raised the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; You also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. 

‘Sufferings’ [Greek: pathema] It refers to sufferings for Christ, not to those of Christ on earth. Translated “suffering” (1:5-7; Rom. 8:18; Php. 3:10; Col. 1:24; Heb. 2:9-10; 1Pet. 1:11; 4:13; 5:1); “affliction” (2Tim. 3:11; Heb. 10:32; 1Pet. 5:9); “affections” (Gal. 5:24); and “motions” (Rom. 7:5).

‘So our consolation also abounded by Christ’ – the more we suffer for Christ, the more grace and comfort abound by Christ (1Cor. 10:13).

‘Afflicted’ [Greek: thlibo] narrow (Matt. 7:14); suffer tribulation (1Thess. 3:4); throng (Mark 3:9); afflict (1:6; 1Tim. 5:10; Heb. 11:37); and trouble (4:8; 7:5; 2Thess. 1:6-7).

‘It is for your consolation and salvation’ – the substance of 2Corinthians 1:6-7 is: whether we be afflicted or comforted, it is for your good and for an example to you.

‘Partakers’ [Greek: koinonos] partaker (1:7; Matt. 23:30; 1Cor. 10:18; 1Pet. 5:1; 2Pet. 1:4); partner (8:23; Luke 5:10; Phm. 1:17); companion (Heb. 10:33); and have fellowship with (1Cor. 10:20).

‘So shall you be also of the consolation.’ Since you share sufferings for Christ, you will share His grace and comfort.

‘For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia’ Six things not to be ignorant of: God’s faithfulness in trouble (1:8-10); Gospel responsibility (Rom. 1:11-18); Spiritual gifts (1Cor. 12:1-31); God’s purpose for Israel (Rom. 11:25-32); The resurrection and future life (1Thess. 4:13-18); God’s judgments on backsliders (1Cor. 10:1-13).

‘Our trouble which came to us in Asia’ Acts 13:44 – 20:3 cover his troubles in Asia.

‘Raised the dead’ an example from Paul’s own life is given in Acts 14:19.

‘You also helping together by prayer for us.’ Paul depended upon saints for prayer. ‘Gift bestowed upon us’ – this gift refers to the contributions of the saints to Paul’s work for God (1:10-11).

Be Not Deceived

1Corinthians 15:30-34 And why stand we in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 

‘I die daily’ – this refers to the outward man perishing day by day, as in 2Corinthians 4:16, not to die to sin daily. That he did not teach. He argued that we should become dead to sin once and then stay dead to sin always (Rom. 6:6-11; Gal. 2:20). It could also refer to Paul’s being in constant danger of death daily for the gospel – even every hour (15:30, 32). At least it refers to the body, for the whole chapter is on the death and resurrection of the body.

‘Fought with beasts at Ephesus’ – Perhaps referring to his fight with the beastly men at Ephesus (Acts 19:28-31). Such men are called beasts (Tit. 1:12; 2Pet. 2:12; Jude 1:10). In his list of sufferings in 2Corinthians 11:23-28, Paul does not refer to having been in combat with wild beasts in an arena, when naming all his hardships.

‘Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die’ quoted from Isaiah 22:13 – this is the attitude of the ungodly who have no hope of a life to come, for the idea of a short life only made men want to live in sinful pleasure as long as possible (Isa. 22:12-14).

‘Communications’ [Greek: homilia] associations. Evil ones will corrupt good morals. A quotation from the Thais of Menander, an Athenian poet. Good is always influenced, corrupted, and spoiled by bad because faith comes through hearing (Rom. 10:17) and by hearing comes faith. No one is immune against this form of corruption, so for a Christian that thinks he/she will not be defiled by bad conversation or company, a rude awakening will follow when Scripture slowly but surely becomes uninteresting, hard to understand and our standards drop to worldly ones (1Jn. 2:15-17); hence so-called Christians today walk and talk like all others and never follow in the example set for born-again Christians as stated in 1Peter 2:21-23 and 1John 3. ‘Awake to righteousness, and sin not’ – return to sobriety and righteousness and quit sin in view of the resurrection.

God is In You of a Truth

1Corinthians 14:22-25 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that you are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believes not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. 

‘Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serves not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.’ This is Paul’s explanation of the main purpose of tongues. They are designed as a sign to unbelievers that through their miraculous exercise sinners might see the manifestation of the supernatural (Isa. 28:11-12). Examples of this are found in Acts 2:1-11; 10:44-48; 19:1-7 and 1Corinthians 14:1-40.

‘Will they not say that you are mad?’ This will naturally be the result of such misuse of tongues.

‘And so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.’ The chief end of all gifts and worship services is to bring people to repentance and surrender to God. This is the chief purpose of the death of Christ (John 3:16).’