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John 3:16-17

16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

Condemned.  God’s word teaches that because of our sin, we stand condemned, separated from the Lord, dead in our transgressions (Ephesians 2:1).  God’s word also teaches that all sin must be punished and that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Hebrews 9:22).  But God. Only three chapters into this great love story we know as the Bible, God promises a sure plan to rescue humanity from their sin (Genesis 3:15). 

God’s love for humanity, for his image bearers, for “the world,” is overwhelmingly evidenced in this ‘sure plan.’  God sent his son, Jesus, to live the perfect life we could not live, SO THAT he could die the death we deserved, SO THAT ‘the world might be saved through him.’  This ‘sure plan’ is a gift to those that believe. It is a free gift, but an expensive one.  God’s love so remarkable not because the world is big, but because the world is so bad. 

Believe.  This word is repeated over 100 times in the gospel of John and accounts for over half the times it appears in the entire New Testament.  In John 6, Jesus explains to the crowd again that the work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.  Paul echoes this in Romans 10 saying, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  

Sin is our problem. God’s merciful ‘sure plan’ through Jesus is the solution. Belief in God’s ‘sure plan’ is our response.

  • In what ways might this passage change how you view and respond to sin in your own life?
  • In light of this passage, how would you describe God to someone who has never heard of him?

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