“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.”
[JOHN 3:16 NIV]
God’s Gracious Love The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.
He loves. He gave.
We believe. We live.
The words are to Scripture what the Mississippi River is to America—an entryway into the heartland. Believe or dismiss them, embrace or reject them, any serious consideration of Christ must include them. Would a British historian dismiss the Magna Carta? Egyptologists overlook the Rosetta stone? Could you ponder the words of Christ and never immerse yourself into John 3:16?
The verse is an alphabet of grace, a table of contents to the Christian hope, each word a safe-deposit box of jewels. Read it again, slowly and aloud, and note the word that snatches your attention. . . .
“God so loved the world . . .” We’d expect an anger-fueled God. One who punishes the world, recycles the world, forsakes the world . . . but loves the world?
The world? This world? Heartbreakers, hope snatchers, and dream dousers prowl this orb. Dictators rage. Abusers inflict. Reverends think they deserve the title. But God loves. And he loves the world so much he gave his: Declarations? Rules? Dicta? Edicts?
No. The heart-stilling, mind-bending, deal-making-or-breaking claim of John 3:16 is this: God gave his Son . . . his only Son. No abstract ideas, but a flesh-wrapped divinity. Scripture equates Jesus with God. God, then, gave himself. Why? So that “whoever believes in him shall not perish.”
[3:16: THE NUMBERS OF HOPE]
Your love is truly beyond understanding. It reaches out to every person in every corner of the world. It is offered freely to all people. It is a gracious, merciful, and patient love. May we be willing to spread the good news of your love far and wide. Teach us to talk to everyone about your mighty works,
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.
We love Him because He first loved us.
[1 JOHN 4:19]
I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.