“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
(John 3:16)

This beloved verse feels good like a fleece blanket on a chilly afternoon, doesn’t it? Most of us can quote it in our sleep. Even those who don’t believe seem to know these words, or at least have been made aware of them.

Sometimes familiarity can have a numbing effect – the powerful becomes the mundane, the essence of God can become merely words on a page.

I don’t want this to happen to me or you. Neither does the Lord.

Let’s break it down and renew the wonderment of the first time we heard this life-changing Truth.

“For God so loved the world…”

This love is referring to agape (ag-ah-pay) love. This love is unconditional. It always seeks the highest good of the other person, no matter what he/she does. Agape love is self-giving love that gives freely without asking for anything in return. Agape love is a love by choice.

“For God so loved the world…”

God had not given up on His creation! Throughout history, the Creator was hurt, offended and angered by His people, but He never gave up on them. Even though the children of God continuously broke the covenant, God, in His infinite mercy, never did. Yet, He acknowledged that His people could not walk in righteousness on their own. The daily blood sacrifices of animals achieved their atoning work only for a moment – the effect of the sacrifice remained external, not life-changing. The atoning of sin for the purpose of righteous had to be complete because God, our Father, longed to be with His creation.

In His mercy, God found a way to create an inner work, a work of righteousness where He could dwell within His beloved children. His Son, the perfect Lamb of God would atone for our sins once and for all, bathing us in His Holy blood, making a way for us to commune with the Father. It would be a new work, a work of the God-Head – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God gave His Son, His only Son…His beloved Son.

Isaiah 9:6 reads, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His Name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

And His Name shall be called Jesus.

And He would suffer and die on the old rugged cross – the ultimate altar of sacrifice – so that whoever believed that He was the Son of God – fully God and fully man – so that WHOEVER believed this would never die but live from everlasting to everlasting.

Believing in Jesus would mean more than standing on church doctrine or traditions of religious law. No. History was turning a corner.

Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is pisteuo (pist-yoo-oh) meaning “to trust in, be fully convinced of, have faith in.” Pisteuo expresses “reliance upon and such deep trust in”, that this belief produces obedience to the authority and Lordship of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus. There is something about that Name.

Thank You, Father. Thank You for Your love and Your mercy. Thank You for Your persistence, for never giving up on us. And most of all, thank You for Jesus, our Savior, Redeemer, Prince of Peace and Lord. Your ways are higher than our ways, Your thoughts are not our thoughts. And Your plan of salvation is perfect and entire. Thank You, Lord.