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God's Love for the world

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We saw with the opening words of this verse (“For God”) the centrality of God, the one-and-only God, and that salvation originated with Him.
Then last week we saw how this God “so loved” – that He responded with love instead of condemnation, and with an intensity of love that is beyond our understanding.
Today, as we come to the third pair of words in this great verse, we see that this love which God has is for “the world.” “For God so loved THE WORLD …”. Let’s look together at what that means:
First it means, THE WHOLE WORLD

I. The Whole World

The Greek Bible word we translate “world” here is the word “kosmos”. That word has several shades of meaning: the sinful world system that opposes God, the world in which we live, and one of the most common, all the people who live in the world.
A.T. Robertson, the legendary Southern Baptist Greek scholar, tells us this word here means “the whole human race.”
When it says that God “so loved the world”, that means that He loves everyone – everyone who lives in the world. We find that elsewhere in scripture as well:
Titus 3:4, speaking of what God did for us in Jesus, says
Titus 3:4 LEB
But when the kindness and love for mankind of God our Savior appeared,
The Greek word for “mankind” (“anthropos”) here means the entire race, men and women; the whole species of mankind.
lets keep reading Titus 3:5
Titus 3:5 NKJV
not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

regeneration Refers to the transformation of the corrupt human nature by the Holy Spirit. Jesus described salvation in similar terms, emphasizing God’s radical work within a person (John 3:3, 5, 8).

John 3:3 NKJV
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
So who does God love and who can be born again or regenerated according to scripture? - “the whole world of the whosoever’s”
Now also, this Greek word “kosmos” can also be used in another sense, that of “the world” as a system opposed to God. It is a Sinful World...

II. The Sinful World

This is the amazing part of this Theology. That God loves me despite my sinful nature, that is, God loved us even when we were in sin, a part of that sinful “world.”
“For God so loved the world. . . .”
It has been said, that
The manner of his love is not merely seen in the infinite value of what he gives — his only begotten Son — but in the rebelliousness of whom he gives him for.
Romans 5:7–8 NKJV
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Just before John 3:16 Jesus compares his own coming with the what happened in the day of Moses when the people rebelled against God and said they were sick of manna. The result of this sin was a plague of serpents all through the camp, people dying everywhere.
When Moses prayed for the people, Numbers 21:8 says,\
Numbers 21:8 NKJV
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.”
So God’s design of love is to rescue the rebellious people from perishing was to lift up a serpent on a pole so that all the people had to do was look at it in faith and be saved.
Then Jesus says in John 3:14–15,
John 3:14–15 NKJV
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
When John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that he gave,” it means he gave his one and only begotten Son to a world of rebels, serpent bitten, sinful, perishing — and in him is their only hope. God loved this world.
The Gospel of John, Volume 1 The Love of God (John 3:16)

As St Augustine had it: ‘God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.’

Think of the greatest sin you have ever committed. I imagine something probably comes to mind! We don’t like to think of ourselves that way; we like to think of ourselves as all “cleaned up” and dressed up, and “on our best behavior” when we come to church before God. And we hope that He will love us and approve of us that way. But think of yourself committing your worst sin, whatever that has been – you know what it is, and God knows it. You need to understand that it is while you were in THAT sin – THAT one! – that God “so loved” you, and sent Jesus for you.
If you are wondering today, “Can God forgive me? Can God love me?”, the answer to your question is “Yes!” He so loved “the world” – even the world in sin — especially the world in sin! He sent Jesus to save those of us in sin, every one of us who would admit our sins and be willing to turn back to Him and receive Jesus as our Savior.
It is not that you have to “clean yourself up” to become acceptable to God. If you are waiting for that, you may as well quit now! You will never measure up to that! But God doesn’t love you because you get cleaned up spiritually! He loves you “while you were yet a sinner.”
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