One of my favorite verses is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever will believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” It’s a verse many people have heard. My question is, “Do we believe it?”
Let’s unpack this verse a little…get cozy…we are going to pull it apart and hopefully allow each part to saturate our hearts.
God so loved the world. The verse doesn’t say God was so angry with the world, perplexed, frustrated, disappointed, irritated, filled with wrath. It says He so loved the world. Let that sink in. God so loves the world. It’s not just regular human love and affection. It’s a passionate, willing to risk and sacrifice Himself for the world! God so loves you! God so loves every person created, and with an everlasting love.
That He gave His only begotten Son. Love gives. If love costs us nothing, it means nothing. The very nature of agape love is that it is selfless. The Father didn’t pick some random person or animal to be the atonement for sin (this wouldn’t work anyway since a perfect, spotless sacrifice was needed to take away the sins of the world), He sent His Son. He sent His only Son. I don’t have children, but I can’t imagine sending my child into a sinful world. I’d probably say, “Do over! Adam and Eve blew it! Let’s start over and let’s remove this tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” Aren’t you glad I’m not in charge? I sure am!
God didn’t rid the world of Adam and Eve. He gave them consequences, which is loving. He covered their nakedness, and through His Son provided a way for all to be reconciled to Him.
Whosoever will believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. I don’t want to get into the theological debate over predestination; we don’t choose God, He chooses us…some people won’t be saved. Let’s sit that aside for another day. I’d like to focus on two things.
1. Faith in Jesus is the key to salvation. Unlike many other beliefs, we don’t earn salvation or righteousness from God. We couldn’t if we tried. We can’t do enough good works to become holy and wash away our sins. Jesus paid the price, cleanses us of our unrighteousness, makes us new, and gives us His righteousness to call our own. Faith leads to good works. Good works do not save us. So any person (whosoever) that entrusts their life to Jesus and believes in Him, can find life. The Gospel is inclusive. The Gospel is Good News!
No matter how messed up we are, we can get a clean slate in Christ. Our sinful debt paid in full! God loves the world and made a way for all to have the ability to know Him and be reconciled to Him. Truth is-all have sinned (except Jesus) and the penalty for sin is death. Sin is like cancer, it destroys it’s host. God said, “I will be the cure. No need to earn it, or jump through hoops. Just believe in My Son and what’s He’s done for you. Believe. Receive!”
2. Eternal life. This life is the shortest amount of time we will live. God offers us eternal life with Him. There will be no pain, no sorrow, no sickness, no loss, and we will behold Him in all of His glory! What love is this? It’s amazing love!
So my friends, I hope you rest in God’s unfailing love. His love never fails and daily He’s pursuing your heart to reveal more of Himself. We are not changed into His likeness by striving. Every time we behold Him, we are being transformed. Intimacy with God is the key to loving like Him. He longs to pursue us, love us, wow us, empower us, teach us, encourage us, correct us to help us become all He created us to be. May we live loved!
Love is kind
Love takes it’s time
Love gives consequences
Love sets boundaries
Love is selfless
Love brings freedom
Love wants the best
Love believes in you
Love chooses you
Love looks out for you
Love supports you
Love empowers you
Love stands by you
Love is committed to you
Love is faithful
Love tells the truth
Love expels fear
Love wipes your endless tears
Love is humble
Love stoops down low
God is love!
Next post I will hopefully unpack some of the verses about God’s wrath. I get plenty of twitter messages saying I’m unbalanced because I don’t talk about God’s anger with sin. God hates sin not just because He’s holy, but because sin destroys who and what He loves; people. He is a God of justice. That justice flows out of love. Our views of love are quite tainted. Stay tuned for more on this topic.
Love you friends, mean that sincerely. You are carried in my heart and my prayers. You are and will always be, deeply loved (John 3:16).