A Remarkable Love

John 3:16-17 “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.”
How often have you heard the question, “God is a forgiving God isn’t He?” The thinking behind this question goes something like this: “Even though I have done wrong things I hope that God will look at all that I have done and see that I have done good things as well, and will forgive the wrong things and accept me into His kingdom based on the good things I have done.” Yet the Bible paints a very different picture of how God will deal with our sin. John 3:16 which is most often quoted to support the idea that God will forgive everyone in the end clearly does not teach such a truth-less and unjust love. Yet it is true to say that God’s love is a remarkable love and John 3:16 puts this love on full display.
Consider with me six remarkable realities of God’s love:

1. It is A Divine love – For God so loved

Here John presents us with the greatest Lover who has loved to the greatest degree. This love is not the love of the creature but the love of the Creator to the creature. God is presented here as the great initiator of love. There is no greater or more glorious love than divine love.

God does not need to be pacified and drawn out by our plight and human efforts to love Him He simply loves because that is His nature. God is not a stern angry unforgiving God, but rather a God whose love motivated Him to create this world knowing that His beloved Son would need to be sent to die for us, to take our place under judgment for our sins. This truly is divine love, a giving love not based on anything man could do but rather on what God had decided to do for mankind.

Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

2. It is A Universal love – …world

God’s love is expressed without partiality or particularity of peoples. An old children’s song says it best, “Red and yellow black and white all are precious in His sight.” To love the world means that God’s love is not conditioned on nationality, or social status. This love smashes through all the national and natural boundaries and saves men of every kindred, tribe, nation, and tongue, and in the process saves the worst of sinners. His love is able to save to the uttermost those whom he has chosen.

3. It is A Sacrificial love – …gave His only begotten Son

In this statement we behold the greatest act, and the greatest gift ever given in the entire universe.
The phrase only begotten means “unique.” Jesus is the unique Son of God; there is no one like him, no one who is his equal. Therefore when God gave Jesus, he gave the best gift in the universe.The verb he gave must be taken in the sense of he gave unto death as an offering for sin. This is what Calvary’s cross is all about. Jesus Christ came to give His life a ransom for many.The cross displays in full measure the heinous nature of sin, heinous, because the ransom price cost God the death of His unique and only Son.The cross displays the way of forgiveness consistent with the justice of God. A holy God cannot wink at sin or else He would no longer be holy or just. God provided a way by having the judge (Jesus Christ) stand and receive the punishment of the condemned.The cross displays the full measure of sacrificial love in that God simply gave… He was not coerced, or manipulated to love. He wasn’t moved by any good thing in us, He simply set His love upon us, and it cost Him the very best of Heaven.

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

4. It is A Dividing love – …that whoever believes

Here we see that this love divides humanity into two camps – those who will believe and those who won’t. So while it is true to say that the God of the Bible is a forgiving God that forgiveness flows unconditionally only to those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Having turned from their sin to follow Him they will personally experience the reality of this love. To everyone else this message is simply foolishness.
1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

To reject and harden your heart towards the love of God is to remain in the camp of unbelief and condemnation. To believe is to leave the loves of this world behind and embrace the only love worth holding on to – God’s love. How you respond to this love will determine your eternal destiny. You will either spend eternity in the Fathers house or you will spend eternity in hell.

5. It is A Delivering love – …shall not perish

This love delivers us from eternal judgment

To “perish” does not merely speak of losing your physical existence; nor does it mean you will be annihilated. As the context (verse 17) indicates, the perishing of which this verse speaks indicates divine condemnation, complete and everlasting, so that one is banished from the presence of the God of love and dwells forever in the presence of a God of wrath.

6. It is A Purposeful love – …but have eternal life

This speaks to the hope and destiny of such love. It means that the relationship between God and man which was broken by mankind’s sin has been restored never to be broken again.

The sweet communion and fellowship with the creator of the universe becomes a reality to the believer here and now. We are able to live our lives in the reality of fellowship with God.

Romans 8:14-17 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
So then, we can see divine loves incredible purpose in that it is a love that stretches all the way from heaven to earth, from the holy to the unholy, to bring us back to a right relationship with God. It is an infinite love in that it extends from eternity past to eternity future, it is a grace filled love because it gave the precious gift of the only begotten son of God and it is an immutable love because it never changes for it flows from the God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.
The question remains to be asked, “Have you experienced this love? Do you live your life in or outside the circle of such love?” Remember your eternal destiny depends on your answer to these questions.

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