God So Loved the World

David Bast

Read: 1 John 4:7-14

The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. (v. 14)

The incarnation didn’t mean Jesus was running away from home. It was part of a divine plan agreed upon by the Father and the Son: “The Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”

“God is love,” says John famously (v. 8). This is not an abstract statement about the divine nature. God is love in action. God manifested his love by sending his Son into the world so that we might be saved through him. Jesus came to offer the atoning sacrifice for our sin (v. 10). “But God shows his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

The most important word in the most famous verse in the Bible is the shortest one—“so.” “God so loved the world that he gave . . .” John 3:16 isn’t just about God loving the world; it’s about how much God loves the world. The true measure of love is what it will give for the sake of the beloved. God gave the world his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. Such a gift, offering so much to so many! All for those who will just believe.

We should also note how John uses that same little word in his epistle. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11). —David Bast

As you pray, ask for the love for others that proves you do love God.