The Love of God
John 3:16 Ampl. For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes on (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
We have heard and probably read this scripture since our childhood. We have heard it at home, in Sunday school, and in songs and many other forms. Even non-Christians know John 3:16. What in reality does this passage of scripture mean? What does John 3:16 mean to you and me personally? It is a powerful and astonishing revelation that God sent Jesus to die for the sin of the world. Praise God! It is remarkable that, according to Romans 8:1, Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. It is truly wonderful to know that we have been reconciled to God through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:16). However, apart from the initial steps to salvation: the drawing of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging our sin and a need for a savior, repentance, confession, and acceptance of Jesus as redeemer, most Christians meld into the corporate body of Christ. Although we all have varying experiences along the way, many believers disappear into the community of the redeemed at large. And it is from this point of view that a lot of believers perceive their walk with God. We hear it said, we read it in the Word of God, so we know it is true, but the average Christian is not walking in the revelation of God’s love for them individually. Many of us are doing the work of the Kingdom, true for the love of God, but our eye is also on the inheritance, heaven.
You might say, “Jan, that’s a pretty bold statement.” “How can you say that and prove it?” Well, factually I can not, but in observation, just looking into the faces and the lives of Christians tells me that most of them do not have a revelation of the love of God for them personally. There is a distinct difference in a person’s development when they are loved and they know it. From infants to the geriatric, love makes a difference. There is nothing that material wealth can do to compensate for love. No earthly accomplishment can fulfill the natural need to love and be loved. Fame can not replace the absence of love. Love can not be replaced by any acceptable substitute.
John 3:16, the love of God, the redemption of whosoever will. Let us look beneath the words, the celestial sound, and the general good will toward mankind and see the deeper truth of the love of God. In this session, I want to look past the inheritance and investigate the relationship.
The question is why did God create man? I believe it goes back to the beginning, in Genesis. If you have ever taken one of my classes, you know that I start every subject I teach with that question. In my opinion, knowing why God created man is important because it gives us the foundation upon which to build a solid base for developing our relationship with God. Every thing about the love of God hinges on these questions. For what purpose and to what end was man created? Why does God love us? What makes God’s love different form any other kind of love?
So many questions. How can we even begin to answer them? How can we even hope to know His heart and mind? However, God did not just create man and leave the scene shrouded in veiled mystery forever sealed shut. He did not leave us to wonder about His plan, but He left a trail of messages, some hidden, some in plain view to direct us to the fulfilled revelation of His love. He said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] make mankind in Our image, after Our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the [tame] beasts, and over all the earth and over everything that creeps upon the earth.” Amplified Bible. God made mankind to be an expression of His glory in the earth and to spend eternity with Him in unbroken fellowship.
In the beginning in Genesis 1:1 – 2:25, we see how carefully God created a place for man. Gen. 1:1 In the beginning (Rêshïyth) meaning the beginning of a fixed period of time, God created (Bârâ): to form, make, produce; to cut, to cut down, to engrave, to carve. Bârâ emphasizes the initiation of the object, not manipulating it after its original creation. The word is used in the Qal and refers to an activity, which can only be performed by God. Entirely new productions are associated with Bârâ. The word also possesses the meaning of bringing into existence. In the beginning, God prepared, formed, fashioned and created the heavens and the earth (Erets): the physical planet and the earth was: to exist, to be, to become, to come to pass, to be done, to happen, to be finished. Note: There is reason in my mind to believe that there is a space of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, because Genesis 1:1 says God created the heavens and the earth out of nothing but Genesis 1:2 says there was chaos. If God created something out of nothing, I don’t think He would have created darkness (chôshek): dark, darkness, obscurity, night, misery, falsehood, and chaos. I believe something catastrophic happened between Gen. 1:1 & Gen. 1:2. That is another class (Y)
The creation of the heavens and the earth was no casual display of the powers of a whimsical creator, but God carefully crafted an environment for His greatest creation, mankind.
Everything God did in creation up to the creation of man was for man’s benefit. The atmosphere, climate, the smells, the look and texture of everything, the resources. All for man, for his benefit and enjoyment. It reminds me of how expectant parents prepare a nursery. It is their desire to prepare a place specially designed for and to accommodate and meet the needs of the one who will occupy the area. Everything that they do has at the root; the needs of the baby, always keeping in mind the immediate and future requirements. In the natural, no nursery is stark and sterile in appearance. It is a bright, joyful, colorful room, with all sorts of things that will be pleasing to the baby. The whole task is one of joy and eager anticipation with a desire to have everything prepared before the child arrives.
Why do they do this? I would say because of the love for the expected child and the sense of responsibility to provide an acceptable habitation for him/her. This tells me that God loved man before He created him and He made a place suitable for him to inhabit. Okay, it is all well and good to prepare the nursery, but when you bring the baby home from the hospital, you can’t just put it in the nursery and leave it there without care and attention. Now that the baby is born there are a different set of requirements. Now comes the daily moment by moment care for the baby.
In the same way, God has prepared a place suitable for us because He loves us.
Why does He love us? He chooses to love us. Why do two people want to have children? They want to have a family. They want to love and be loved. They want to nurture and see the development of the child. They want to deposit into another qualities that will enrich the life of the child so that he/she can be a productive part of society. They want to impart some of themselves into another being. They want their name, characteristics, etc to go on.
I believe that God wanted a family and He created man. God wants man to love and know Him. God wants man to be like Him and rule and produce.
This is what I would like to leave you to think about. The revelation of the love of God for you will change your whole attitude about you, your life other people, and your circumstances. Do you remember when you realized that someone loved you? It changed your whole prospective. Your day was brighter, no matter what was going on in it. You had a smile. You would have sudden warm thoughts about that one and hug yourself. Even if something unpleasant happened, you really did not linger in depression over it. Just the thought of the loved one would lift your spirits.
And when you were with that one, everything else faded. Your eyes and ears were for that one alone. This is what God wants to say to each one of us. God loves you, Jan, God loves you, _______. He chooses to do so to fulfill Himself.
(All Scripture is taken from the Amplified Bible unless otherwise stated)