The World’s Greatest Lover?

A lot of people sell advice on love. I once heard a Pastor say ‘the third commandment is to love yourself’, the sad thing about that statement is that it is heretical. When you come to understand the total depravity of man, you never struggle to realize how selfish we as created beings can be. The truth is that we often focus too much on ourselves and too little on the love of God. Whether you watch the movies or listen to the most popular songs, their advice seems to give a self-centered approach to love. The counsel of worldly wisdom always gives the wrong advice. It never lasts and often times leaves families broken. So what does God say about love in the Bible? I’m sure you have heard of John 3:16, the most popular bible verse in the world.

For God so loved the World, that he gave His only begotten son, that who so ever shall believe in him will have everlasting life.

John 3:16

What does John 3:16 say about Love?

1, True Love Comes only from God. It says ‘For God so loved’, which means that everlasting life is connected to the free gift of God; a term the Church calls grace (being given that which you do not deserve or unmerited favor). The Bible teaches that all must be saved from their sins. Everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23) and nothing can help you except God’s gracious love. Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, someone who was born into the right family, was wealthy, and intelligent. But that was not going to get him into eternal life. Nicodemus could not do anything to deserve God’s love.

2, The Greatest Lover is God. The verse say’s ‘God so loved’, which means His love is intense, exhaustive, and nothing can limit its impact. Nothing the world offers satisfies our need for love more than God’s ability to love us. Greek is the language of the New Testament of the Bible and it has 5 words for love. The word used here is agape love, which does not just refer to physical love, but rather a sacrificial affectionate love. God loved you with the greatest sacrifice, his death for your salvation.

3, God’s Love is for Everyone Who Believes. The verse mentions ‘God so loved the world…that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ Jesus came to die for the whole world; every race, gender, and age. Sadly, not everyone goes to heaven because not everyone believes. You must know that God’s love co-exists with His judgment. Often times many forget to mention the context surrounding John 3:16 that makes the judgment very clear (John 3:17-21). John 3:17-21 explains that eternal life is for believers, but not everyone believes. One common misconception is that God’s love is for un-believers. Sadly, many run away from God’s love because of the shame they feel when their sin is exposed. When the light of Scripture reveals your sin, you must respond through confessing Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9). While God’s love is available for everyone, it is limited to those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Sadly, un-believers don’t come closer to the light because they don’t want to turn away from their sin. It is not too late, so don’t run from God’s love, but let God take the shame from you. Jesus said ‘My yoke is easy and my burden is light’ (Matthew 11:30).

4, God’s Love was Unique in Jesus. John 3:16 says ‘He gave His only begotten Son.’ This is a bad translated from Koine Greek and really should be translated ‘He gave His only unique Son.’ Only Jesus could represent the perfect love of God. Jesus is God in the flesh, God incarnate. Perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Christ was sent on a mission from God to represent God uniquely in the flesh to everyone. That is why the Bible teaches that Jesus was God (Colossians 2:9) and He was sent to die for you. The relationship with God and Jesus in their persons of the Trinity makes Jesus unique in His authority to execute judgment over death and life according to who believes and who doesn’t believe (John 5:25-29).

5, His Sacrificial Love Leads to Eternal Life. John 3:16 ends with ‘that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.’ The Bible is clear that simple belief leads to eternal life. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith.” Do you believe in God’s love, sacrificing His unique Son for your sins? Everyone who believe in Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave will have eternal life with God. We must profess God’s love was uniquely manifested in Christ and no one else.

David J. Lupinetti is the Associate Pastor at San Tan Bible Church in Arizona. He has a passion for Expository Preaching, Biblical Counseling, Discipleship, and Evangelism.

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