For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16
For God SO loved the world… What does this mean? The word SO in the Greek text is οὕτω(ς) – pronounced “hoytō” which means “after this manner.” God loved the world… in this manner… this is how he loved… That he gave his only begotten Son… that whosoever BELIEVES… There is a promise - and a condition. The promise is that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. The condition is that we must believe. So, what does it mean to “believe” in Him? Believe in the Greek text is πιστεύω – pronounced “pisteuō” which means “to entrust to one with complete fidelity.” It is so much more than just believing to be true… it is a commitment to fidelity. Jesus requires that we be faithful to Him. It is a love relationship of the deepest kind.
In Ephesians 3:17-19 we see where Paul writes “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” To be filled to the full measure of all the fullness of God… what a statement! The primary attributes of God are His love… and His holiness. The two are interweaved and cannot be separated. As followers of Christ, these two attributes should be evident in our lives… Love and holiness. Any idea of love that does not include holiness is not love. As parents, we cannot love our children without disciplining them. As husbands and wives, we cannot love each other without fidelity. As brothers and sisters in the Lord, we cannot love one another without holding one another accountable. And as Christians, we cannot love our neighbor without standing for righteousness. In this manner, God loved us… that He gave his son… as a sacrifice – one who received our punishment… so that we could be cleansed of our sin… so we could be holy. In 1 Peter 1:16 the Lord commands us “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” John 4:16 tells us “God is love.” It does not say “love is God.” Love is defined by the very nature of God, not the reverse. This world tries to put its own definition on love and then attribute that idea to God. It is an attitude of permissiveness towards sin. But love, as defined by God, requires holiness… and He has made a way, through His Son, to make us holy.
May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ this day. May you experience the reality of His love. And may you become a conduit of that love to others. For God is love… as He has defined it.