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
This verse begins with two clues contained by “for God so loved”. The word “For” can be used in place for therefore and so speaks of a specific manner. These words tells us to look back to learn the reason that caused the action that followed. If we are to understand this verse better than it is reasonable to pay attention to the reason God gave us.
We find a reason for the type used in this verse but with a twist. The words Just as are used to show equity between the two examples.
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. John 3:14-15
We find an Old Testament event that creates a New Testament criteria needed to be fulfilled. Moses lifted the bronze snake up in the desert that led to an action of the New Testament. Lifting the snake on a pole was a type of Jesus on the Cross therefore in the same manner the Son of Man was also lifted up. Everyone who looked to the snake on the pole would live and those who looked at and believed on Jesus Christ would live forever.
“Even so or just as” meant there was an equivalent idea significant to the idea of being lifted up. The word “so” introduces the idea “in this way” or the original type led to what followed. The words in this way God loved the world could replace the word God so loved the world. In the Old Testament the snake was lifted up for those rebelled and were bitten by snakes but in New Testament Christ was lifted up for reconciling the sins of the world. In both events those who looked at what was lifted up to be saved and given life, the difference of life and death.
In context these ideas explain the reason behind God sending his son into the world. At that time the world composed of an untold number of people who lived before the law was instituted and going to perish. How was God going to build a kingdom of kings and priests with people who were tainted with sin and unworthy of his kingdom? In this verse and in Psalms 145:8 we learn the Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
Through a wealth of love and his grace God gave his son to the world so they may come to the knowledge of his plan of Salvation. Because God is rich in love; gracious and compassionate he sought a way to be reconciled to the people of the world. For this reason God sent his son to be lifted up and die on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. Ultimately Jesus would be acknowledged and people would believe in him.
John 3:17 tells us that God sent his son to save the world not for the purpose of condemning the world. Because of God’s compassion he does not want anyone to perish, but if they refuse to repent they will. John 3:17 reveals the reason why God so loved the world. God is the essence of life itself and even the life God created is worthy of reverential respect.
Again we have to understand the nature of God to know why he sent his one and only begotten son to prevent man from perishing. God has always existed so the choice of life meant to continue to live forever. By the grace of God he did what he would expect from mankind and gave them a choice to live forever. On the other hand perishing meant that mankind would be destroyed in eternal torment.
Within John 3:14-17 there are three words (so, that, and for) that present a sequence of actions brought about by a cause. These words have synonyms that describe thus, accordingly, hence, as a result of. However we have to say that God planned these things well in advance to present his plan of Salvation. By the same token we have to place our faith in Jesus Christ to believe everything he did for our salvation was to rescue us from the wrath of God.
What is love if it wasn’t demonstrated to be seen and understood by mankind? It was because of God’s respect for life that sent his Son to display his love so that whoever believed in him would have a hope of glory and expectation of the future. Don’t we raise our own children to have a better outlook on life?
God’s love exceeds immeasurably more than the love man has ever known. Would you give your life to save your children? You probably would not give your life for someone you didn’t know but God has. John 3:16 is a prelude to a personal association with God based on trust. It begins a lifetime of learning about the love of God with a promise of eternal life like our heavenly father has.
That life is based on the premise of love and a reverential respect for life that God has. Loving God with your entire being and your fellow citizen in the kingdom represents a reverential respect for life. Without that kind of love the kingdom of God would not stand forever. God’s love is profound as Christ died for us who are sinners to demonstrate the love God has for us.
It may not be possible to totally fathom the love of God but we will have an eternity to get used to being loved. John 3:16 has a logical reason to say God so loved the world, because of his love and his value for life he has reason to save the world from perishing. Since the beginning of the world men did as they saw fit but God saw the problem of sin and dealt with sin in his compassion to save mankind. The bible says love finds no fault in others but the world finds fault in almost everything. However, fault finding tears down other people most of the time without just cause.
Sin is the just cause to find mankind worthy of man perishing but God had compassion to justify mankind through Jesus Christ. He painted a picture of love in the person of Jesus Christ for the world to see. Christ was not just for those believe in him since he died once for all men. He became a means for those who believe to be credited with right standing in God’s sight. Whoever believes in him has right standing with God and they shall have eternal life with a hope and a future in God’s presence. 10/02/2014
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