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. (John 3:16)
John 3:16 has long been celebrated as a powerful, succinct, declaration of the gospel. Of the 31,373 verses in the Bible, it may be the most popular single verse used in evangelism.
We learn the amount of God’s love: For God so loved. This means that the love was a significant amount of love. The idea of so loved is connected to the idea of that He gave – there is a cause and effect relationship. He only gave what He gave because He loved so much. A gift at Christmas shows love if it cost something. One of the best Christmas gifts I ever received is a blue sweater knitted by my wife Inga-Lill before we were married. One might find a more expensive sweater other places, but my blue sweater cost something – a great amount of time that Inga-Lill spent knitting it.
We learn the object of God’s love: For God so loved the world. God did not wait for the world to turn to Him before He loved the world. He loved and gave His only
begotten Son to the world when it was still the world. What Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:7 (You must be born again) refuted the popular Jewish idea of the scope of salvation: for God so loved the world. Many Jews in that day didn’t think that God loved the world. They thought that God only loved them. The universal offer of salvation and life in Jesus was revolutionary.
We learn the expression of God’s love: He gave His only begotten Son. God’s love didn’t just feel for the problems of a fallen world. God did something about it, and He gave the most precious thing to give: His only begotten Son. Real love – Christmas love – is all about giving.
We learn the recipient of God’s love: Whoever believes in Him. God loves the world, but the world does not receive or benefit from that love until it believes in Jesus, the gift that the Father gave. Believes in means much more than intellectual awareness or agreement. It means to trust in, to rely on, and to cling to. When we trust God and rely on Him, we benefit from His love.
We learn the intention of God’s love: Should not perish. God’s love actually saves man from eternal destruction. He didn’t give suggestions for self-improvement or ideas for personal transformation. He says, “Come to Me, look to Me, and I will save you.”
We learn the duration of God’s love: Everlasting life. The love we receive among peo- ple may fade or turn, but God’s love will never change. He will never stop loving His people, even unto the furthest distance of eternity.
Seven Wonders of John 3:16
We might say there are Seven Wonders of John 3:16:
God, who is The Almighty Authority
So loved the world, which is The Mightiest Motive
That He gave His only begotten Son, which is The Greatest Gift
That whoever, which is The Widest Welcome
Believes in Him, which is The Easiest Escape
Should not perish, which is The Divine Deliverance
But have everlasting life, which is The Priceless Possession
What do we do? It is simple. We need to receive this love, and we need to respond to this love. Make it a Christmas of true Christmas Love.