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God so loved

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John 3:16 doesn’t say, “For God so loved the world that He felt emotional about it.” God didn’t look at this world and say, “I just can’t resist them; I’ve got to get them in heaven. They’re terrific.” There wasn’t one thing in us that was deserving. We were enemies; we hated God; we were sinful and vile, but God loved us anyway. And He loved us so much, He gave Himself.

That’s the difference. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world” (emphasis added). If God was going to love anything, and it was a matter of being attractive, it wouldn’t have been the world. The world hated God, but God loved the world. It’s not the object that defines God’s love; it is His nature to love.

John 3:16—“For God so loved the world” was a startling truth to Nicodemus in his narrow exclusivism. God loved not the Jew only, but also the Gentile; not a part of the world of men, but every man in it, irrespective of his moral character. For “God commendeth his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). This is wonderful when we begin to realize what a world in sin is. The love of God is broader than the measure of man’s mind. God desires the salvation of all men (1 Tim. 2:4).

 It tells us of the width of the love of God. It was the world that God so loved. It was not a nation; it was not the good people; it was not only the people who loved him; it was the world. The unlovable and the unlovely, the lonely who have no one else to love them, the man who loves God and the man who never thinks of him, the man who rests in the love of God and the man who spurns it—all are included in this vast inclusive love of God. As Augustine had it: “God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.”

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