Summary: To show that God loves the world that is in rebellion against Him and that gratitude to Him ought to be the response to His grace. The application of the Law of God seems to be the only thing that brings some people to see their need of Christ.
"The Ones Whom God Loves"
JOHN 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
It’s a wonderful truth. It is gospel truth; truth in a nutshell.
The Lord says He loves the world.
“For God so loved the world.” Some say: "But He does not make it better, he does not stop the evil. If he loves it so much why does he allow all this terrible evil?"
When it says God so loved the world, it’s a world that you and I know. What world is this? What is in the world?
‘Kosmos’ is the Greek word used here and it means:
Translator’s N.T. says: ‘kosmos’: “The physical world, or mankind. The word is sometimes used, and especially by John, in the sense of mankind in opposition to God.”
(Translator’s New Testament, BFBS, London, p. 579)
Why does God not stop all the evil, such as suffering and death? It says He loves the world...
But the gospel says we are at war with God.
He loves us, but we are at war with Him.
He loves an unworthy people but we do not return the favour, the grace, we turn to our own way:
Isa 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him (Christ) the iniquity of us all.”
We are in rebellion against God.
We oppose God at every turn.
“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 6:23)
And so Paul’s religion and Jesus’ religion is the same.
No wonder the world is described by a Greek word that shows that we at war with God and that it is not a just place or a fair place or a friendly place or a good place BUT,
and hear me on this, it does not mean that God has rejected His world. Far from it! GOD LOVES US.
Nor does it mean that we Christians cannot ask God to help us make it a better place!! Because we can and we are called to do it and we shall.
William Wilberforce did not fight the slave trade for decades because he believed the world to be a kind, friendly place or because he had a desire to change something out of a political desire or goal. He wanted his fellow men and women to be free and to do this he believed God and followed God’s will for his life.
John Wesley and His brother Charles together with George Whitefield did not think this world would get better on its own.
They knew the gospel and what it could do. They knew the gospel could and would be the only answer to the world’s terrible situation: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
When Jesus says “the world” he means mankind in rebellion.
If you have been converted, changed to Christ by faith in Him, then His anger at your rebellion has been removed, He is not angry with you.
But God will judge the world…
Good news! The gospel in this is that whoever believes in Him will not perish... which implies that Jesus believed that some will be judged and perish.
God cannot have relationship with an automatic being, an automaton. God may as well not have made people if they were only going to be able to do His will.
Think about that…Imagine having friends who could only do what you wanted. How long would that relationship last? Would it be a relationship on equal terms or would it be a slave-owner one? Imagine spouses in such a “relationship” ? Or your children?
As we studied in Romans: “The wages of sin is death…” This implies you can commit sin, can have the freedom to sin, to rebel. And we did, we all did, it’s in our nature.
What makes a dog, a dog? That it has been identified by its DNA as canine. A domestic dog is Canis familiaris (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/domestic+dog)
Is a dog, a dog because it barks? Does barking make any animal a dog? No! Even though it may sound like a dog it is not a dog simply because it barks. Seals bark, so do sea lions.
A dog barks because it is a dog. It is not a dog because it barks.
Even though it is the only being that sounds so completely like a dog when it does bark. It is a dog’s nature to bark, indeed it cannot do other than to bark.