“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The apostle Peter described God’s word as a light that shines in a dark place (2 Peter 1:19). This is certainly an apt description. Just as light effortlessly overcomes darkness, Scriptural truth overcomes doctrinal confusion and error. Today’s verse passage has been dubbed “the golden text of Scripture” because, with very few beautiful words, it announces God’s plan for man. It does this clearly, decisively, and unmistakably. The passage indicates both a carelessness regarding man’s opinion on how God ought to operate while at the same time communicating God’s genuine care and concern for all His fallen image-bearers. In short, God loves us dearly but will not take advice from us on how he ought to run the world. We ought not to be surprised if His will and ways turn out to be different from what we supposed (Isaiah 55:8-9). The golden text contains a series of superlatives that we would do well to contemplate. The text begins with the greatest object of study, namely, God Himself. We are told that He is performing the greatest of acts; He is loving. Not only does He love, He loves the greatest number of people imaginable. God loves the world. He has demonstrated that love in the greatest of ways, which is in His giving us something. What He gave was the greatest of gifts. He gave us His Only Begotten Son. The supreme worth of such a gift is far beyond the ability of man to comprehend. In giving His Son, God has made the greatest offer to the greatest number of people. It is the greatest offer because it involves the greatest deliverance from the greatest threat while at the same time promising the greatest blessing imaginable. Furthermore, this greatest of offers is extended on the simplest of terms. Believing in Christ, exercising active trust in the Savior who loved us first, is all that is required. The apostolic witness is as clear as it is precious: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). This is the Gospel message entrusted to our care to share with others. Their reactions will vary of course. “For the Jews require a sign,” wrote Paul, “and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (1 Corinthians 1:22-24). Let us contemplate the “golden text of Scripture” and the precious Gospel so clearly and beautifully encapsulated in it. May our meditations fill us with love for the God Who loved us first and may our genuine love come to expression in faithful and fruitful obedience, for God’s glory and for the good of those He loves.
God bless you, my dear church family,