“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)”
John 3:16 is without question the most well-known verse is all scripture. Even non-believers are familiar with the verse, and can even quote it. You see it displayed on signs in just about every sporting event. For most, John 3:16 was the first bible verse learned, and the first verse shared when talking to others about Christ. And for good reason. John 3:16 paints a picture of God’s love like no other. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son.” What more could we possibly share with the world around us than God is love. Well, God is love, absolutely. However, there is something else in this verse that we’re over-looking – something worth sharing with the world as well. Right after John writes “For God so loved the world,” he says “that he gave his only Son.” In other words, as much as God is love, he is equally righteous and demands the penalty of our sins be paid in full. Neither God’s love nor his righteousness can be diminished or separated. He’s not one or the other, he’s both righteous and loving. It was God’s righteousness that demanded a sacrifice be made for our sins, and it was his love that offered Jesus as our substitutionary lamb. Paul summarized it like this:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:23-26)”
There is no greater verse in all the bible that so succinctly and accurately expresses the magnitude of God’s love than John 3:16, and perhaps no greater verse to share with others; but as we share this great love with the world around us, let us not forget to share that our God is not only a loving God but a righteous God as well.
Your daily prayer:
Father, you are as righteous as you are loving. These attributes will forever echo throughout creation. For all that you required for the penalty of our sins, Christ provided through his vicarious sacrifice. You are truly righteous, just, loving, and worthy of our praise.