"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." (John 3:16 - 18)
What is the context?
In Theological College they often emphasised the importance of context when reading and applying scriptures. So the context is this: Everything was created by God. Jesus was the inspiration. He was at the beginning. There was harmony. The light was come into the world. But, the world didn't recognise him. (See Jn 1:1-3, 9). Humanity had a wonderful relationship with God and was appointed as earth's stewards. It was amazingly good. We had life (knowledge & experience of Him) purpose (stewardship of earth/creation) and choice (free will). (Gen 1:26-31) But, by humanity's choice this relationship was broken by rebellion. Amazingly good to amazingly bad. That story continues now in these verses.
John 3:16 is considered one of the most famous verses in the Bible. In the verse we find word of love, a benevolent Father and Son and a choice.
What is the object of God's love?
We the world are the object of God's love. His vast as oceans self-giving love.
What does he give?
He gives His Son. He gives Himself. In the words of Jesus "I and the Father are one." I don't subscribe to the notion that the Father turned His face away. Or if He did it would have been with tears of empathy and compassion, not in wrath or separation. Indeed even earthly Father's would also suffer if they sacraficed their son for others. The whole Trinity is concerned for us to be saved.
"Each of the three Persons in the blessed Trinity is concerned with our salvation: with the Father it is predestination; with the Son propitiation; with the Spirit regeneration. The Father chose us; the Son died for us; the Spirit quickens us."
- A. W. Pink (1886-1952)
- A. W. Pink (1886-1952)
Why the sacrafice?
To save us from our sin and rebellion and the inevitable consequences thereof.
What future will you choose?
You have free will, you have a choice. We all know all things are perishing. Those who don't believe are condemned already. It is like an illness that has spread to all humanity, but has a cure. The cure needs to be applied. The word perish means to be cut off from God. Without Jesus humanity is automatically condemned, cut off. With Jesus salvation is on offer. Instead of loss of life eternal life is on offer. His permanent presence. The ultimate cure. A gift and invitation from the giving reconciling Father is presented to you.
Belief is the pivot. (See Col 1:19,20). God desires all things are to be reconciled to Himself. Those who are in this new heaven and new earth have trusted in Christ alone for salvation and not in their own "righteousness." Choose life, choose Christ.