October 23, 2023 – Monday
John 3:16-17 NKJV
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
John 3:16-17 NIV
16 For this is how God loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 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.
I promised John 3:16 along with John 3:17 as they go together in a major way. First a personal story from when I worked as systems engineer maybe two decades ago. On a Friday afternoon, a coworker, let’s call her Susan, said, “You’re a Christian, aren’t you?” When I replied in the affirmative, she asked, “What does John 3:16 mean?” At first I thought she was joking, but it came out the man she was dating had told her if she saw someone holding up a sign “JOHN 3:16” among the Bengals fans, it would be him holding up the sign. After I told her from memory and then looked it up in my parallel Bible (KJV and NIV) and showed here. She went away with a bemused look on her face. I do not know if they continued to date or not, none of my business.
I mentioned to my bride that I thought John 3:16 and 3:17 went together like peanut butter and jelly. She told me to make sure I mentioned that. Okay, now that that’s done let’s begin actually looking at the verses and beyond. For those wondering, this trip to these verses began on October 11, 2023 when I commented on the last three verses in John 2 as I had done on Facebook 10 years ago on that date. And that led to the first verses in chapter three which inexorably led to where we are today.
Looking at John 3:16, we have, 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. What is this love that led God the Father to do this? Let’s first look at what
Paul tells us about love, what it is not in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body]to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. All that boils down to love is not possessing the power and ability to do all things (v1). Love is not having knowledge of all things (v2). Nor is love the giving of gifts and showing kindness to the poor (v3).
Knowing what love is not, we ask “What is love?” Paul once again answers us in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. And to add even more clarity, I think all Bible believing Christians believe the truth that God is love from 1 John 4:8. Going a bit further, The Lord is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in loving kindness. The Lord is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works from Psalm 145:9.
If we are not sure what it means that God so loved world, let’s turn to Matthew 5:44-45a, 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. I mention all of this to make it clear God sent Jesus for all of us and His blessings from Jesus are for all who will turn to Him and believe. If we look ahead to verse 18, we see we were all condemned before Jesus’ arrival, 18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Jesus is the source of life eternal and of forgiveness from our unrelenting rebellion against God.
Having jumped ahead to verse 18, let’s look at verse 17, 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.This ties to verse 18 above where we were all condemned before the grace offered through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Jesus died on the cross so that anyone could be saved who believes in Him, this is how great is God’s love for everyone in the world. Jesus got more explicit in John 6:33, 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. And more so in verse 51, 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
The best example of this is Saul (later Paul) when in Acts 9:1-2, Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the Way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Saul was breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord but on the way to Damascus, a bright light from heaven fell upon him and he was blinded. A voice asked, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? After asking Who are you Lord, Jesus replied, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Saul was forgiven and made an apostle to the Gentiles! Much later we read in 1 John 2:2, And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world
Bottom Line: Never doubt the grace of God. There is no sin greater than God’s grace and mercy. The New Testament tells us that over and over, again and again. Believe what it says.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the wonder of Your grace and Your love for all of us, no matter our sin. Believing in Jesus’ sacrifice as payment for our sins reconciles us to You. Our gratefulness knows no bounds. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Still writing and working for the Glory of God