“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)
Did you know that the number one Bible verse of 2015 was John 3:16? That did not surprise me at all as it is the one verse in the Bible that perfectly describes how much God loves us. Last week I shared a poem on being still enough to hear God. This week, by looking at John 3:16 closely, I think we can accurately know the heart of God.
For God So Loved the World
World in Greek is translated as "kosmos" and there are eight different meanings for its biblical usage. Below are three meanings that really stood out for me:
God's greatest creation is not just us, but the entire universe that surrounds us. We know from the first chapter of Genesis that everything created by God was deemed "good". He loves this world He created. So we should take care of it.
Earth is just one of the ornaments that decorates the heavens in this vast universe God created, but we have the incredible privilege of being the only planet where the human family was created. A family that God loves. A family devoid of colour, sexual orientation, religion - anything divisive. You see, to God we are all the same, because despite what we might look like on the outside, on the inside we all have the same parts. And He sent His son for the ENTIRE human family because He loves ALL OF US.
GOD'S LOVE IS SO VAST AND SO DEEP THAT HE CARES EVEN FOR THOSE WHO ARE HOSTILE TOWARD HIM.
That He gave His one and Only Son
This is the single reason why we can be confident that God loves us. He sent His only son into this world because of His divine love. How vast is His love? The Apostle John makes it very clear in the following verses:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).
WHO WAS THE WORD?
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
JESUS WAS THE WORD!
In other words God came down to earth in the form of a man - Jesus - and walked among us. Why? Again - His love was so great for us that He gave up His heavenly abode in order to walk among us - to teach us the right way to live. This is like the stories of old, when a King desired to walk among His subjects to find out how they really felt about him and to grasp what they were going through. Now think about that for a minute. GOD DID THAT FOR YOU AND ME!
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-7, NKJV).
That Whoever Believes in Him Shall Not Perish But Have Eternal Life
Let's keep this in context - God gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him - in Jesus - shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 4:24 says, God is spirit, and it is because of the gift of the Holy Spirit that we are able to have communion with the King of the universe. But, those who reject God's gift of eternal life with Him, are making a conscious decision to lose access to God. To die in their sins. To reject God's saving grace. To reject His very promise to save them from themselves. These are people God loves and they are the reason He came to earth, so that no one would perish.
THIS IS THE HEART OF GOD!
She was laughing, her eyes a bright twinkle that outshone the stars in the sky. They mesmerized him. Are her eyes always this bright? As he watched her, she began to glow. Mary? What is happening to you? Wait – it isn’t Mary – what is happening? Why is everything getting so bright?
That was not Mary’s voice. That was unlike any voice he had ever heard before – magnificent, and reverberating.
“Joseph, do not be afraid!”
As the light began to grow brighter, Joseph found himself unable to move. His chest tightened in fear. His eyes, although closed, were blinded by the light shining around him.
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 3:6-10, NKJV).
"Only acknowledge your iniquity. That you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your charms to alien deities under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice," says the Lord (Jeremiah 3:13, NKJV)
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it” (Romans 6:1-2)?
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