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The Love of God to a Perishing World (John 3:16) (2)

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“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” ().
is the epitome of the gospel—a concise statement of the blessed scheme of redemption. In which we have,

I. The Grand Design Contemplated by God.

That men “might not perish, but have everlasting life.”

A. Man’s perishing state is implied.

This is abundantly established by other statements of Scripture. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” All men are naturally in unbelief, therefore children of wrath, and condemned already. Man’s perishing state includes,

1. The tendency of the body to dissolution. “Appointed unto all men once to die,” etc. “Dust thou art,” etc.

2. The present spiritual death of the soul. Dead in trespasses and sin. Image of God defaced. Powers of the mind alienated from God. Result, restlessness and misery. No peace, etc.

3. The exposure of the soul to the bitter pains of eternal death. “The Soul that sinneth shall die.”

B. What God contemplated in the scheme of redemption.

1. Restoration of the soul to the life and image of God.

2. The resurrection of the body by the power and in the likeness of Christ.

3. A title to, meetness for, and the enjoyment of, eternal life in the world to come. Notice,

II. The Means by Which God Executed This Glorious Design.

He gave His only-begotten Son. Observe,

A. The person.

“His only-begotten Son.” “His fellow.” Though He assumed the form of a servant, yet He thought it not robbery to be equal with God (See , etc.). Observe,

B. He gave His Son.

He did so by promise—in types, and shadows, and sacrifices—prophetically—at last, actually, in the fullness of time, “He sent forth His Son,” etc. ().

C. The end for which He gave Him.

To assume human nature—to magnify the law—to reveal the doctrines of the gospel—to be the example of His people—to shed His blood as a ransom for sin, and thus to die in the place of transgressors—to rise again for the justification of sinners—to be the ever-living advocate of His church, etc.

D. The persons for whom He gave Him. “The world.” “And do testify, that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.” “And He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (; , etc.; ; ). Notice,

III. The Divinely Appointed Mode by Which Men Obtain the Benefits of This Gift.

“That whosoever believeth,” etc. Observe,

A. The mode appointed is faith.

“Believeth”; so as fully to credit God’s testimony of our guilt, wretchedness, and danger—His mercy—Christ’s ability and readiness to save, etc.; and heartily to embrace Him in His mediatorial capacity, relying solely and fully upon Him for acceptance and eternal life.

B. The extent of this mode.

“Whosoever believeth.” It embraces all countries and colors. It includes all grades of guilt, and all hues of moral character. It embraces everyone, save the obstinate, impenitent unbeliever.

IV. The Great Original Cause of God’s Unspeakable Gift to the World.

“God so loved the world.”
The cause was His own free, unsolicited, sovereign love. The degree of this love is referred to, not determined—for it is only known in all its richness and vastness to the divine mind, and is recorded by the word “so.” Eternity itself will be too limited to solve this word, and to find out its unbounded significations.
It is love high as heaven—deep as the verge of perdition—wide as the universe—and durable as the everlasting ages to come.

1. The fallen state of our world, and its perishing condition.

2. The good news which the gospel proclaims; God’s love and mercy toward it.

3. The easy way of access to the salvation God has provided; not by works, but by faith.

4. The failure of those who perish. For “whosoever believeth” shall have everlasting life.

Jabez Burns
Burns, J. (1992). The Love of God to a Perishing World. In A. Bryant (Ed.), Sermon outlines on the attributes of God (pp. 56–57). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.
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