John 3:16 is probably the best known verse in the Bible. Lots of children have memorized it in Sunday School, perhaps because it sums up the whole gospel so succinctly.
God loved the world so much that in order to redeem the world, He allowed His only son to die as a sacrifice for us. That kind of love is hard to fathom. And it was for the whole world. When Jesus spoke these words, the people of the time thought that the Messiah was coming only for the Jewish people, and that the Gentiles would be condemned. They expected judgement, but John 3:17 clarifies for us that Jesus did not come to condemn us, but to save us. All we have to do is believe in Him. It is our choice. The creator of the universe could choose to make us do whatever He wants us to, but He doesn’t. He loves us so much that He lets us do whatever we want. When we do choose to believe in Him though, we are rewarded with eternal life. The Greek word used here for life represents not only life after death, but life here and now, and it represents the quality of life as much as the quantity—the more abundant life that John 10:10 describes.
I think this sounds like a great offer. There is no need to perish. The gift of life has been given; all we need to do is accept. Why is it that there are people who don’t want to accept? Fear, maybe? Fear of losing control of their own lives? Ironic when you think about it because God has given us so much freedom. (II Corinthians 3:17, Galatians 5:13-14)
I chose this verse for today because I think of it as a Valentine verse. I will share the Valentine with you here just in case you have never received it in an e-mail. Happy Valentines Day everyone!