Marvelous Love
“The one who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.”

By Jon W. Quinn
There was a little girl who is said to have put it this way in a prayer she said at bedtime one evening after what may have been a day more difficult than many: "Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it."

The little girl had found some appreciation for the extent of the love of God. He loves the whole world according to what may well be the most familiar verse in the New Testament (John 3:16). This passage that offers great comfort as it looks at the character of Almighty God by which He forms His attitude toward us.

God Is Not Picky About Whom He Loves

The giving of His Son was not for the good or righteous, but for sinners - for you and me (Romans 5:6-8; 10-11). Is there anyone so lost that if he puts his belief in Jesus Christ that God will turn away because he had sunk too low to save? No, there is no one like that (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; John 6:37; 1 Timothy 1:15-17).

The more you and I become like the Father, the less picky we will be about who we love. It should be helpful to remember the extent and magnitude of God's love - How can I regard another human being as being without value if Jesus died for them?

It will also be helpful to remember that I needed reconciliation as much as anyone on earth. Without it, I was just as lost. I must never let the self-righteous attitudes of the Pharisees become as my own - see the man born blind healed by Jesus (John 9:30-34; 35-39).

God Is Picky About Whom He Saves
But while God is not picky about who He loves, it is still true that everlasting life is a gift given to those who believe on Jesus. What does it mean to believe? It means what God says it means; not any more and not any less. Than that!

Many think to
"believe in Jesus" mean to think the right things about Him, but even the demons do that (James 2:19). Others might say it is required to acknowledge His lordship, but at the very least we may be certain that it requires more than a verbal acknowledgement (Luke 6:46). Some say that we need to believe that what He says is true, but we also find some doing that as well but they still are not acceptable unto God (John 12: 42-43). All these are less than what God says "believing in Jesus" means.

"Believing in Jesus" means coming to Him, practicing the truth, obeying Him as we thereby place our absolute confidence in Him. It is in the context (John 3:21; 36). We recall the teaching of Peter that shows both the love of God for all as well as the requirement of "believing in Jesus" to be saved - and that believing entails doing what He says; “but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” (Acts 10:34-35).

So, loving Jesus entails doing what He says. Even He said so! (John 14:15; see also 1 John 5:3). Our text says that it is those who "believe in Him" that "shall not perish" but have "everlasting life".

Loving Everyone Does Not Mean Saving Everyone
Does the fact that God does not save everybody indicate that He does not love everybody? Some people apparently think so. But think: Can a parent save a child from bad decisions if the child rejects the parent's counsel? If a child makes a poor decision in spite of parental guidance and advice, and must suffer hurtful consequences, does that mean that the parent loves the child any less? (John 3:19; 1:9-13). The rejection of God by man results in consequences, but this does not mean God loves anyone any less.

There are many today suffering from illness and disease. But with many, there was a time previous to the suffering that they had contracted the disease. They had not yet experienced the painful consequences of being sick. Of course, they would like for cures to be found, but it all becomes deeply personal and perhaps even desperate when it is me or one of my loved ones. No one desires a cure to be found for a disease more than those who contract it and those who love them. Perhaps if men and women understood the horror of sin and its consequences, they would eagerly research for a solution; a cure.

Good news! We have a cure! But there is only one, and it will do us no good if we ignore the eternal consequences of sin just because we have yet to enter into eternity. The cure is Jesus (Acts 4:12).
Our Text - John 3:16 is very personal. Though it talks of God’s love “for the whole world” I find myself in the verse twice!

For God so loved the world - since I am part of the "world" I know this applies to me. We often read it thinking about all the others. Do we forget that we are in that number that God loves so deeply?

That He gave His only begotten Son - I must find out about Who this is that was given for me. Having read the New Testament, I found out that it is Jesus of Nazareth.

That whoever believes in Him - Here I am again! I am the "whoever" in this phrase. “Whoever” out of the whole world that believes in Jesus, called here the “only begotten Son” of God. I need to find out about the "only begotten Son" so I can put my confidence in Him.

Will not perish - That is the promise I was looking for! Having accepted that I am terminally sick without His saving gift of love, and having discovered that He is the answer so that I need not die, I need to respond to Him by faith. He is truly "the resurrection and the life"!

But have everlasting life — Not just longevity - "forever" but vastly superior quality of life and living as well. This wonderful cure not only restores health, but improves it beyond any and everything we have yet known, in this life. As the little girl said in her prayer, God loves "all of everybody in the whole world."


From The Bradley Banner 9/18/2011
Published by the Bradley Church of Christ
1505 E. Broadway
Return to Bulletins of the Month
Return to Homepage