This is perhaps the best-known text in the Bible and a most wonderful text it is! But to understand the marvel of God’s love to the world we need to be clear about the nature of the world.
When Jesus talks about the world, He is describing humanity, which of course includes you and me. But the world is in a sorry state, full of injustice, oppression, deceit, hatred, murder, increasing disregard for the sanctity of life, broken relationships, abuse of children, and so on. And we are all part of this. The root cause is a terrible departure from the Law of God, which Jesus describes as ‘loving the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ The Bible also asserts that we have all sinned – ‘there is none righteous (perfect) no, not one’! We have all fallen short of the standard Jesus set. If we are truly honest with ourselves, you and I know that this is true of us.
So, it’s against this stark background that the love of God is seen. For if we think that we are all rather good people and are not surprised that God loves us, then our reaction to this text would be ‘so what?’ The reality is the complete opposite to this, so the love of God shines forth in amazing beauty. This world is in opposition to God, but God so loves the world that instead of rejecting and casting away this world, He displayed the greatness of His love. That greatness is vividly illustrated by the quality of the gift God gave, that which was nearest and dearest to His heart – His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, He went further. He sent His Son to die a cruel death, on a cross, to receive Himself the wrath of God that we deserved for our sins. What love! Such love!
To receive God’s forgiveness for our sins, the text tells us that the only way is to ‘believe on Him (Jesus Christ)’ and if we do that then God promises eternal life rather than eternal destruction. Have you trusted in God’s greatest of all gifts – His Son?
Acts 2 vs 21