This verse. We see it everywhere. The bottom of Forever 21 bags, In N out cups, and half the population, whether they follow Jesus or not, have it tattooed onto their body. We have almost entirely lost the significance of the verse. So lets break it down a little:
“For God so loved the world…” Ok stop right there. He loved the world! Not just the Jews, who where his chosen people. Not just the legalistic Pharisees. Not just the broken sinners. He loved us all. We are called to love ALL without discretion, for we ALL are loved. What stops us? Is it our pride and our belief that we are in some way above others? Is it our selfishness in not wanting to give up what we “deserve” or have “earned” in order to show others love? What is it? I watched Christians day after day proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, walk outside and ignore the first opportunity to give away some of that love because they have something more important to do. Like serve at Sunday school, or make lots of money, or do what God has “called” them to do or even serve themselves. All those things are fine and dandy in and of themselves, but if we constantly have our blinders on to those around us who are in need aren’t we going against the first and most important call God has ever had on our lives? Have we not merely become selfish, uncaring, bible thumpers? How is this an example of Christ? Go love. Go love the world. The whole world. That’s your calling. That’s your purpose.
“That He gave His only begotten Son…” Isn’t it wonderful that we serve a selfless God? His only son. He watched His only son roam the earth for 40 some odd years, get up on a cross, and die even though he didn’t deserve it. Why? Because He loved the world. How dare I read that passage and not be overwhelmed with humility. I deserve to die everyday because I am filthy, and yet I don’t have to because God loved me before I was even born and He died for me. What a beautiful sacrifice from our King. I desire to make Christ my example on how I am to live in my short existence on this temporal earth. If He could go and die a brutal death for a crime he didn’t commit, for people he didn’t even know, why cant I stop and give a homeless man a dollar and have a conversation with him? We as people that are saved by grace, need to give attention to pouring that grace out freely without ever desiring something in return. Love with nothing in return. To those who don’t deserve it. To those who do deserve it. Hey we are all in the same boat.
“That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” nowhere in that verse does it say “and you have to be perfect” or “only if you deserve it” or “do this and then this laundry list of rules”. That has all been abolished. I have spent to better half of my adulthood fighting against my need to earn my own salvation and trying to fix others so they too could earn theirs. We cant. Its a gift given to us by a graceful God who loves us and the buck stops there. Yes we will grow in our walk with God and will become sanctified, but we cant measure our amount of salvation by our purification. A prostitute can receive Jesus start walking with Him, continue doing her work, die and go to heaven and kneel before the King clean as the day she entered the world. Gods Grace abounds beyond our realm of understanding. His love is deeper for us than we have the capacity to absorb.
My purpose in all things is to Love. I am broken and I fail at it all the time. May God be gracious with me.