Devotional, John, New Testament

For God so Loved the World (John 3:16-21)

16 “For God so loved the world,  that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

John 3:16-21 ESV

For God so loved the world, He gave the world a present!  What did the world offer to God to deserve this gift from its divine creator?  Nothing, really! Instead, the world sinned against Him, fell short of His glory, and lost in its own wicked ways.   The world may not choose God, but God still chose to love the world.   The motive of God’s gift is not because of the world’s good deeds nor its great needs, it’s simply because of His love, His love that started since the beginning.  Because He loved the world, so He gave.  The gift He gave was not any random present.  He gave His only begotten son, Jesus.   The glorious and holy one, the Father,  gave his only son to a fallen world — where He would be despised,  rejected, and slain.  But the Father still chose to give, and the Son chose to come.   It was not a day trip from heaven to earth that he took.  It was no brief stop that the Son had made.  He became one of us in the world, and He lived in the world.  And to fulfill God’s plan, He died for the world.   It is all because He loved, so He gave.  

Because God first loved and gave, the world is given the choice to believe.  And for “whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”.  For those who choose to believe, and from the moment we believe, we receive eternal life!  To have eternal life is to be with God.  How great is God’s love to us that He wants to be with us, not just the few years we have in this world, but through eternity!  What a commitment God has made! Before I commit myself to Him, He already promised His eternity with me!  His love and passion for the world He created is beyond words, and thus He had to show it in action.  He loved, He gave, so we may believe and receive.  

The gift is given, so what is the response from the recipient?  What is our response to God’s zealous love? Should we receive this precious gift with a thankful heart? And because of His love for me, I ought to love Him and  serve Him wholeheartedly in return. 

Dear Lord, thank you so much for your love!  We love, because You first loved us.  Teach me and help me to love you, and love others, even at times when I’m being judged, criticized, or rejected by others.  May the motive of my services be only my love to You.  

P.S. John 3:16 is such a popular and inspiring Bible verse that many have come across. I invite you to share your encounter or story of John 3:16 in the comments below.

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