All Salvation lies with God
Sometimes the picture is drawn of a stern, angry, unforgiving God and a gentle, loving, forgiving Jesus. Sometimes the Christian message is presented in such a way that it sounds as if Jesus did something which changed the attitude of God to men and women from condemnation to forgiveness. But this text tells us that it was with God that it all started. It was God who sent his Son, and he sent him because he loved the world he had created. At the back of everything is the love of God.
The tremendous thing about this text is that it shows us God acting not for his own sake but for ours; not to satisfy his desire for power, not to bring a universe to heel, but to satisfy his love. God is not like an absolute monarch who treats each individual as a subject to be reduced to abject obedience. God is the Father who cannot be happy until his wandering children have come home. God does not smash people into submission; he yearns over them and woos them into love.
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, those who love God and those who never think of him, those who rest in the love of God and those who spurn it—all are included in this vast inclusive love of God. As St Augustine had it: ‘God loves each one of us as if there was only one of us to love.’