"God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
This is the greatest verse in the Bible on the love of God. Its theme is the greatness of God's love in salvation. "So loved" states that God's love for us was very great. The rest of the verse details this greatness. We note five of these details of God's great love for us.
"God so loved the world." The "world" is the perimeter of His love. No perimeter of love is so large. It includes everyone be they good bad or indifferent. Anyone can be saved No love has embraced so many as God's love. That shows the greatness of His love. If we love a few neighbors, relatives, friends and most of our family, we think we are filled and overflowing with love. But compared to the perimeter of God's love, we have not even begun to love.
"Gave." Giving is the proof of any love. If you love you will give. And how and what you give shows the character of your love. The greatness of God's love is seen in the fact that God gave the most precious thing He could possibly give, namely, His only begotten Son. to save us. If you love God you will not be stingy in the offering plate. Real love gives generously. If you think you are giving well, check your giving with what God gave. That will give you perspective on your giving. Comparing your giving with what God gave may not give much proof of your love. You may talk of your love but does your giving indicate that you really love God?
"Gave his only begotten Son." God gave the gift we needed the most for salvation. With His resources God could have given us anything, but with His love, He gave just the right gift. No other gift matches the prudence of God's gift of His Son to us for our redemption. No other gift from God would be so profitable, so fitting as the gift of His Son. Love is discerning and wise. True love gets the right gifts for the one loved. It provides salvation for the sinner.
"Shall not perish." Love protects the one that is loved. And the protection God gives is the best protection of all, for it is spiritual protection, and it is permanent protection. Salvation protects from hell.
"Shall have everlasting life." God's love provides life. It saves us from death, from hell. And the greatness of His love is seen in the greatness of the life provided. This life is not a second rate life but if the best life of all. Furthermore, the life He gives is everlasting life. It will never end. All of this emphasizes the greatness of God's love. Do not refuse God's love. It will only led to perdition for eternity.
"And God said, Let there be light; and there was light." (Genesis 1:3).
Our text speaks of four things about God's salvation for man in Christ who is the light of the world (John 8:12).
"God said." Just as God planned that light should be in the creation events so God planned that the Light (John 8:12) should come to man for the Gospel. The Gospel is not man's concoction but it is God's plan. Man would not have proposed the Gospel if he could have. For one thing man did not see himself so lost and in such darkness that he needed the light of the Gospel of Christ.
"Let there be light." Christ is the Light (John 8:12). The word translated light indicates that the light was already in existence. Two lessons regarding Christ and the Gospel are seen here.
• Pre-existence incarnation. God made the existing light to shine upon the earth. So it is with Christ (John 1:1)
• Planned incarnation. Christ was planned as the Savior of sinners (1 Peter 1:20). The Gospel plan, like the light, already existed.
"And there was light." The power of God was involved in making the existing light shine upon the earth which was shrouded in darkness before this event. We note three ways God's power was demonstrated in the coming of Jesus Christ to earth.
• Period. When God decreed that light should come much opposition to the light reaching the earth was present. The earth was so shrouded in darkness that the light could not penetrate the darkness but the power of God overruled and the light shined upon the earth. So "when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth His Son." (Galatians 4:4) God's period/time for that Light was brought to pass by God's power. No darkness has the power to delay or hinder the coming of the Gospel Light in any way.
• Prince. When physical light came upon the earth, it was shrouded by great darkness, but it did not put out the light. When Christ, came into the world, Herod was the king his evil shrouded the land in great darkness, but He could not put out that Light.
• Path. A taxation decree necessitated a pregnant Mary to travel some 70 miles on a donkey. Satan would use the decree to force an early and fatal birth of the Christ child, but God's power used the decree to fulfill Scripture in where Christ would be born (Micah 5:2).
"There was light." Without light, life cannot exist. Without Christ there is no salvation life (John 1:4). So when Christ came it was said, "the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up." (Matthew 4:16 cp. Isaiah 42:6). The Gospel in Christ brings eternal life