Have you ever thought about how we use the word ‘love’ to describe so many things? We ‘love’ ice cream and cake; we ‘love’ watching movies; we ‘love’ a football team, when what we really mean is ‘like”. But when God’s Word tells us that God so loved the world, He is talking about the greatest love – God’s love for each of us. He loves everyone. And this love is not a feeling. It’s not an emotion. This love is an act of God’s will. It is a commitment He has to love all of us, whether we do what He wants us to do, or if we rebel against Him. He may become deeply disappointed in us, but He always loves us.
So, in John 3:16 when it says, “For God so loves the world,” the world is everyone. That includes all Republicans, Democrats, Communists, Hindus, Buddhists, and Capitalists. It includes Muslims, Jews, Baptists, Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians and professed atheists. It includes bad guys, good guys, hell raisers, do-gooders. NOBODY is left out. God loves everyone and He expressed His love by giving us something. (Real love always involves giving.) God’s love for us is so great that He sent His most precious gift, His Son, Jesus, to the earth in human form. And He expressed it again when He sent Jesus to the cross to sacrifice His life to pay the penalty for our sins. Your sins. My sins. That’s a whole lot of love, folks.
But there’s a catch – God expects a response from all of us. The verse goes on: “Whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Again, ‘whoever’ encompasses everybody in the world, regardless of your background – whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. So, to believe in Jesus means to put our total trust in Him as our only hope of escaping spiritual death and receiving eternal life.
I was 16 years old when I finally came to understand what it meant to believe in Jesus. I had been raised in a Christian home, I went to church, and in my mind, I was a Christian. But it wasn’t until I was at a Christian camp and the speaker began to talk about how much God loved me, then what Christ had done for me on the cross, that I really understood I needed to believe in Jesus in order to be sure that I had eternal life. That was the turning point in my life.
My hope is that you’ll not only believe in your mind who Jesus is and what He did for you, but you’ll believe in your heart, soul and mind, and put your trust in Christ. Then, you don’t have to worry about hell. You don’t have to worry about permanent separation from God, because God has given you eternal life—an eternal relationship with Him that can never be lost when you put your trust in Christ. That is what I believe because Scripture teaches it. How about you? What do you believe about Jesus?