"God So Loved The World!" John 3:16
Far too many of God's children miss the blessed message of this text, by trying to fit it into their theological system. The Calvinist strives earnestly to make the text read, "God so loved his elect". The Arminian tries to make it teach universal redemption, suggesting (contrary to scripture) that there is no such thing as electing love and distinguishing grace. If we can put aside the prejudices of our theological systems, and read this verse as poor sinners in need of divine mercy, we will find much to comfort our hearts and encourage or faith. Here our Lord plainly declares God's revelation, of his infinite love to perishing sinners.
"God so loved the world". He did not have to love the world. There was nothing in the world which merited or constrained his love, He did not need to love the world. But it was eternally the pleasure of God to set his heart upon the fallen sons of Adam in sovereign infinite love! The word "world", as it is used here does not refer to the extent of God's love, but to the character and condition of the people whom God loved, "The whole world lieth in wickedness". Men who had broken God's law, who by their own willful sin had rebelled against Gods authority; men who were depraved, helpless, dead, perishing sinners, are the objects of God's love!
"That he gave his only begotten Son." Our misery was so great that none could deliver us but the eternal Son of God. God's love was so great that he withheld not the Son of his love. At Mt. Calvary God gave his Son to die in the place of sinners whom he loved. He gave his Son over to the hands of inflexible justice, to satisfy the claims of justice against our sins, so that we might not die.
"That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." We deserve to die. We were all perishing under the wrath of God. But, by divine revelation, we have seen the Son of God dying as our Substitute. Believing that his blood and righteousness alone can satisfy Gods holiness and justice, we have cast ourselves upon Christ. And now we live!