For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NIV)
This is likely one of the best-known verses in the Bible. It is frequently memorized, used in evangelistic efforts, and brought out in discussions of God’s love. But have we become so familiar with it that we lose some of its impact?
“God so loved the world.” Not the planet we live on, the world system, or the way we do things. But rather the people who live here. God has a great love for us. Not just believers. But all people. God’s love is beyond our comprehension.
“That he gave his one and only Son.” God’s love for us was so great that it led him to give the world a gift. Not just any gift. But the gift of his Son, the second person of the Trinity. And this gift included sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, atoning for the sins of the world.
“That whoever believes in him.” The gift that God offered this world is held out to every single individual. But not everyone receives it. The gift is one that is accepted by faith. In order to receive the benefit of this gift, we must trust our lives into his keeping.
“Shall not perish but have eternal life.” Apart from the gift that God offers to us, we would all perish, eternally condemned and separated from God. But the gift of God’s Son is also the gift of eternal life. Not just living forever. But living the life we were created to experience. In God’s presence, knowing him.
Receive the Gift
God holds out his gift to all of us. If you have not taken the gift he offers you, I would plead with you to do so. It is the gift of forgiveness and life.