5 – “For God So Loved The World!”

Going … Make Disciples!

Everybody knows the verse: “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!” And always the emphasis is put on two of the first five words: “God SO loved the WORLD!” The understanding of most is that God’s love is SO great that it encompasses every single individual throughout the entire history of mankind on the face of the earth. The problem, we are told, is that people don’t KNOW God loves them … so WE have to tell them! But is that what Jesus meant when He spoke these words to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader, who believed the only way to enter into God’s kingdom was to know God’s Law and to keep it? Reading John 3:16 in the context of what Jesus says in the following verses it becomes clear that what most people believe this verse says has literally been “lost in the translation!” Jesus was revealing to Nicodemus why His coming was necessary for the salvation of anyone, and how His suffering and death on the cross would be the ultimate expression of God’s love for those who would believe in Him. People were perishing without a Savior, without Jesus … and people ARE perishing without a Savior, without Jesus. It is the failure to understand the human condition that makes the truth of the Gospel “dispensable” or even offensive to so many. God’s “love” is seen as some helpless, almost desperate feeling that is dispensed by whatever means possible to as many as possible, hoping some will respond. Such is not the love of John 3:16. May the Spirit of God help us to understand Jesus’ words, for ourselves and for those with whom we may be used of God to speak, in order that they may believed and be saved from the wrath of God that the “world” … that we and every human being … deserve. May Jesus Christ be praised!!