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  • sonnyholmes

Yes he does. You too.


BE CERTAIN OF THIS

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 3: 16, ESV


It wasn't the first Bible verse I ever memorized. Back in Beginners Sunday School our teachers told us to learn and quote one Bible verse. So, I learned John 11: 35, "Jesus wept", the shortest verse in most of the versions. Ha! Smart me, and all the other kids in our class. Soon after, they asked us to learn the above passage, John 3: 16. The research people at ranker.com have tabulated their findings and list this verse as the most popular and often quoted verse in the Bible. In my personal faith experience it is one of the most enduring certainties of this life. God so loved the world.


Sounds simple enough. Trouble is, these days, it's often the pro forma entree in our faith discussions, the expected answer when people are reflecting on the horrors of human behavior, even our own personal missteps. To say "God loves you and has a purpose for your life" was the much used and memorized intro in evangelism training back in the day. Today, even though it is one of the most profound certainties in the universe, it is often received with a shrug. Like, tell me something I don't already know. That God loves his creation is generally acknowledged. And, presumed.


Still, God's love is a complex truth for the mainstream. He does love his creation abundantly. Scripture identifies his provision and care for the human species, the animal kingdom, and his glorious universe. Also, there is certainly biblical evidence of his caring love for those called into personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Paul wrote about husbands loving their wives as "Christ loved the church", his elect (see Ephesians 5: 25). And, many others. Few of us would argue God's care for those who follow him in Christ.


Then, there's the word "world" in John 3: 16---"God so loved the world". Jerry Robinson, writing in The Gospel Coalition blog, March 13, 2017, provides an interesting translation of the Greek term kosmos, translated "world" (click here to read the article). The word can be translated several ways in the New Testament, one meaning the world or universe, another meaning existence apart from God. You know worldly things. Robinson notes that in John 3:16 Jesus was referring to badness more than bigness. He writes, "It’s primarily the moral order in willful and culpable rebellion against God". Meaning that God's redemptive love is for those who either reject him, or live self-contained lives apart from acknowledging or committing their lives to him.


That God loves me, a confessing Christian with stubborn, often selfish ways is an astounding miracle. That God loves everyone is even more so. These truths should govern my lifestyle, relationships, and response to the world around me. His love for the world should give me a heart for everyone. And, this simple truth should be a certainty that gives us all hope and courage in a world punctuated by question marks.


Covid-19 is a pandemic with many uncertainties. Remember his love as you experience them. He loves me. Yes, he does. And, you too.


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