“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
— John 3:16
There is no doubt that John 3:16 is the most loved verse by Christians in all of Scripture. In fact, so many people know this verse that when people hold up signs behind the goal posts at football games they just write John 3:16 on the sign and assume everyone knows what it says. It has been called the Gospel in a nutshell. But because it is so familiar it can also be taken for granted.
But here is a question, “What if John 3:16 was not true?” What if God did not “so love the world?”
Well, without God's love there would be no hope in this world. Our world would just be a dark planet hurtling through space with no purpose other than to exist. It would be a place of despair with no hope or direction. That is the view of this world by those who would try to remove God’s love from the equation.
But praise be to God that He does love the world. Every blade of grass, the face of every child is evidence that God loves the world. But the biggest demonstration of God’s love is the cross.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “God demonstrated His love for us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
So again, what if God did not love the world? Well, He would not have “sent His only begotten Son.” And if that had been the case, then there would have been no one who could live God’s law perfectly and no one who could have paid the penalty of our sin. But the good news is that God did give us His Son so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but receive eternal life. That word “whoever” is very important. God did not send His Son so that only people who were rich enough or pious enough could be saved. No, He “loved the world”…all of us, so that, whoever believes in His Son as their Saviour, rich or poor, black or white, young or old, will not perish but receive eternal life.”
And that brings us to the last part of this verse, eternal life. We have already established that God loved the world so much that He gave us His Son; that whoever believes in Him will not perish, and now we have the end result of that belief in Christ, eternal life in Heaven. God's love is a giving love, a selfless love and a love like that needs to have place to express itself. In other words, there has to be an object of that love. And so God offers us eternal life in Heaven so that He can continue to manifest His love to us for all eternity. He doesn't want us to perish in unbelief, He wants us in Heaven to be the unending objects of His love. God is love...that's who He is!! So, aren't you glad that every word of John 3:16 is true? It truly is the Gospel in a nutshell. “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life...amen.