God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him isn’t judged; whoever doesn’t believe in him is already judged, because they don’t believe in the name of God’s only Son. “This is the basis for judgment: The light came into the world, and people loved darkness more than the light, for their actions are evil. All who do wicked things hate the light and don’t come to the light for fear that their actions will be exposed to the light. Whoever does the truth comes to the light so that it can be seen that their actions were done in God.” (John 3:16-21, CEB)
Everyone knows John 3:16 or at least has seen the reference on a poster at a sporting event. We think that is the verse we all should know from this passage. And while it is a great verse to hear and comprehend, is it the end all be all of this passage or section of scripture.
For God so loved the world that God sent God’s only Son so that everyone who believes in the Son won’t perish but will have eternal life. Now there is a lot here we need to unpack. All who believe. Not how I believe or you believe, or we ant someone to believe, but all who believe as they believe in Jesus will have eternal life. That means you can not exclude someone because they sin differently than you or because their lifestyle doesn’t match what you think should be included. And when is it that God loved? And is that a continual love? The answer to the first question is not actually given, but to the second the answer is yes. The word used here for love is αγαπε and is in the form of third singular aorist active indicative. The important part there is aorist active, this is a verb that happened in the past but has continual action into the future. Meaning from whatever point God loved the world that love continues to have action into the future forever. There is not a moment after the time God so loved, that God does not so love the world.
But all of that on that verse to say I don’t think that is the most important verse here. John 3:17 says that God did not send God’s Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him! Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. Jesus didn’t come to give us all the reasons we don’t measure up. Jesus didn’t come to give people rocks to throw because others live in different ways than them. Jesus came so that the world might be saved.
Jesus came to save us. To show us a better way.
So the next time you see a John 3:16 poster, ask the holder if they know what John 3:17 is…
Love Out Loud!
Loving People. Loving God.