“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, NLT).
Anybody remember that guy with the rainbow colored afro who used to hold up the John 3:16 signs at sporting events? I do.
Some of you reading this may not be old enough to remember him, but you’re at least familiar with the verse. Perhaps too familiar. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve heard these words so many times that you’ve almost stopped listening to them.
I think I heard them in a fresh new way today at Room in the Inn when the guest speaker chose that as the theme of his message to the homeless men.
“For God . . .” Every great story begins with God. Every story of hope and redemption, every story where good overcomes evil, begins with God.
“For God loved . . .” If your God is known more for what He hates and what He is against rather than what He loves and what He is for, perhaps you’re serving a god instead of God. The defining verse about the God of the bible starts out with “For God so loved . . .”
“For God loved the world . . .” God doesn’t just love white Republicans. God doesn’t just love Americans. God doesn’t just love religious people. God doesn’t just love “successful” people with the perfect resumes and perfect lives.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave . . .” True love always involves sacrifice. The epitome and the ultimate example of sacrificial love is God giving us Jesus both to live and to die for us.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone . . .” Salvation is for everyone. Not just a select few. Not just for some. Not for those who deserve it (because none of us do). It’s for anyone who asks for it. It’s for you and me.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes . . .” Sometimes, faith gets overcomplicated. Sometimes faith gets reduced to pithy bumper sticker slogans. Faith is simple yet profound. It costs nothing yet it is priceless. Faith means believing not just with your heart or your mind but with your whole life.
“For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
That’s it. You don’t have to perish. You have the choice of eternal life. Not just a future pie in the sky by and by kind of life, but real and robust life to the full right here and now. God will always respect the decision you make, whether for Him or not.
The choice is yours. What will you do with it?