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For God so loved the world... | Pastor's Blog | Gardendale Nazarene

For God so loved the world...

I would like to spend the next couple devotionals looking at for us to look at one of the most well-known verses and the oft-overlooked next verse.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” (John 3:16-17)

I have been challenged by the writing of David Lose concerning these verses. Today, we will look at verse 3:16.

Lose writes, "In this verse, we hear of God’s profound love for the world God created, a love so deep and abiding that God would suffer even the loss of God’s own Son in order to communicate that love.

But as profound as that may seem, the verse is actually even more meaningful when you understand a bit more about the language John employs in it. In fact, in some ways, the key to this verse is wrapped up in the Greek word kosmos, which we translate as ‘world’ and is the root of our word ‘cosmos.’”

Let’s look at a few places Jesus uses kosmos in John’s gospel:
  • John 14:16-17: And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.
  • John 15:18-19: If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
  • John 17:14-16: I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

These are just a sampling of kosmos verses in John, but they help us see what Jesus is saying. Lose continues, “Whenever John uses this word, you see, he employs it to describe a world at enmity with God…The world, that is, cannot even perceive the God’s Spirit of truth.”

How does this change our reading of John 3:16-17? God sent His Son into a world that was in conflict with Him. This is the beauty of the incarnation- God’s act of redemption came into a world that was opposed to Him. God loves you so much that He risks everything for you. As Martin Luther says– this is the gospel in a nutshell.

This is the love and hope that stretches from Christmas to Easter. This is the great story that we must celebrate!

May we join in the celebration this Lent!