“We do here announce, declare, and proclaim that this assumption (that the “WORLD” of John 3:16 means “ALL MEN WITHOUT EXCEPTION” IS FALSE. It is unbiblical. It commits one to a teaching that deviates from the gospel, fundamentally.
Imagine that the most published verse in all the Bible, a verse that has gone forth to all men without exception well beyond all other verses turns out to be a radically exclusive verse to God’s elect?
I am not a Calvinist, I do not believe in hard-determinism. But I do believe that A.W. Pink was on to something. The greatest hint to what is going on, I think, is found in Psalm 139.
This is how song begins:
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
And this is how it ends:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
The Hebrew for “search” and “know” goes from the perfect tenses to the imperfect tenses. In other words from a completed action to an incomplete action.
This seems like a contradiction but only within the constraints of time, and God is not bound to it. Calvinists camp out in the first part. Armenians camp out in the last part. Me? I camp out in between where it says Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain unto it.
You’d think that this song could bring people in both camps together. If they would just acknowledge, “hey, it’s just too high for my understanding.”
John 3:16 and the “WORLD” seems to be right in the middle where the “WHOSOEVER” is both known and yet unknown.
We could write a new song like this:
O Lord, you have known who would believe and you gave your only begotten son for them!
Search all men, O God, and find all and any who will believe in your only begotten son who died for them!
The word of God is truly, indeed, ALIVE. And it is the most terrifying thing you will ever wake up to, if you do.