The Object of God's Affection

Lou Lotz

READ : John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his only son.

There was a popular song in the 1930s: The Object of My Affection. John 3:16 says that the object of God’s affection is the world. “God so loved the world.”

That’s odd. Now, if the verse said, “God so loved Israel,” that would make sense. God’s love for Israel is a thread that runs throughout Scripture. But the verse does not say, “God so loved Israel.”

If John 3:16 said, “God so loved the church,” that, too, would make sense. The church is the body of Christ. “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” says Ephesians (5:25). But the verse does not say, “God so loved the church.”

John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world . . .” The world is God’s enemy. “If the world hates you,” said Jesus, “be aware that it hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18). And listen to James: “Whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God” (4:4).

Calvin said that the most difficult commandment is the one that tells us to love our enemies. God obeys his own commandment and loves his enemy, the world. Scripture says that the peace of God passes all understanding. But for me, it is the love of God that passes understanding.


Father, thank you for your love.