Day 8 – December 4
For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. [John 3:16 CSB]
This is perhaps the best known verse in all the Bible. We are accustomed to seeing it on eyepaint and banners at football games, wrestling matches, and dog races. If you grew up in church, you probably memorized this verse first. The version you were taught likely begins, “For God so loved the world.” That is not incorrect as a translation, but the one we are reading today is better. Why?
When we are taught, “For God so loved the world,” what we think it means is “For God loved the world SO MUCH.” In fact, it is better thought of in the way that one might tell a story about me washing a car. “For Mr. Corey so washed the car: First, he filled a bucket with water. Next, he added soap. Finally, he asked his kids to wash the rest of the car. “So washed” (or “so loved”) intends to tell HOW I washed the car, not HOW MUCH I washed the car.
Why does this matter? Well, for starters, if you read very far in Scripture, you will find that God is at enmity with the world. That is “the state or feeling of being actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.” God certainly demonstrates his love to those who will call upon his name, but the reason we need a Savior in the first place is because things are not ok. We are all going to perish without him, because of sin.
God loves his children. He is good to the world, too good in fact considering the consequences of sin. And he is just. He must pour out his wrath on all who are opposed to his Lordship.
What’s the good news? “everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Father, thank you for loving us in this way, that you sent your Son to pay the debt we could not satisfy. Thank you that because you are my Lord and Savior, I am no longer your enemy. May your gospel be so prevalent in the world that as many hear as your will allows. Amen.
Written by: Pastor Corey Green