Verse of the Day Devotion: John 3:16
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
This verse is probably one of the most recognized verses in all of scripture. This shows how much God loves us and wants to be reconciled with us. He loved us even though we did not love Him. He loved us even though we refused to follow His ways. However, His love for us does not constitute an approval of our conduct. It shows that He loved us in spite of what we do.
This was a gift, the most valuable gift that can ever be conceived. This was not just a book of rules or laws. It was nothing we could ever have imagined. And it was a free and undeserved gift. It was a gift given for the sole reason that He loved us beyond all measure. It was an act of pure love and eternal compassion. It was because He did not want us to perish, to be separated from Him forever.
And what was this unimaginable gift? It was His Son, His only begotten Son. Something man has no claim to. And again, something that was so amazing and incredible, it is inconceivable to the minds of men. Imagine someone you know who committed a great crime that was punishable by death. Someone you love and desire to fellowship with, even though they do not care to fellowship with you. You then find out that someone who has not committed a crime could pay for the man’s crime by suffering the consequences that man deserved. And you have a child who is completely free from any wrongdoing and could set this man free by dying in his stead.
This is what God did. He conceived a child in the womb of Mary for the sole purpose of having Him die to pay the penalty for the sins we had committed. He loved us before we could ever have loved Him. Note this verse, “We love, because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19. The basis of our love for Him is because He first loved us. However, let’s go a little farther with this idea. “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.” Revelation 13:8. Our names, us who have accepted Christ and are Christians, have been written in the Lambs book of life from before our world was created. And this is due to God’s foreknowledge of our accepting Him, not His indiscriminate choice. And because our names are there before the foundations of the world, so must have been the plan to give His Son for us in sacrifice. He loved us before we were even created, before Christ came to die. And because He came to die, we have the immense honor to love Him. Remember, we love Him and others because He first loved us.
This beautiful and powerful verse has so much in it, we could contemplate for a long time and still not understand the full ramification of its meaning. He loved us before He created us. He knew we would fall away, and He still created us. He provided the means of salvation before we even sinned, and it was through the death of His only begotten Son. And anyone who believes in Him and the work He did on the cross will have eternal life. There is no greater love than that which God gave. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. This will be a difficult question, but is this the kind of love we have for others? Jesus said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.” John 15:12
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.