Devotional: ‘For God So Loved the World’

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John 3:16 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.

Suppose you wanted to test a runner’s speed – what would you do? You would have him run a race. Suppose you wanted to test a weightlifter’s strength – what would you do? You would have him to lift some heavy object. Suppose you wanted to test the measure of someone’s love – what would you do? You would challenge him to love the unlovable.

The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is a part of God’s unchanging nature. How do we know that God is love? How do we know that measure of His love? We see the greatness of God’s love when we look at the cross. The Bible says- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…”

In trying to measure the magnitude of God’s love we need first to consider how easy it would have been for Christ to have avoided the cross. Jesus said – “Do you not know that if I ask the Father, He will send more than 12 legions of angels to come and deliver Me?” (see Matthew 26:53)

The old song says – “He could have called ten thousand angels, to destroy the world and set Him free.” Yet those lyrics aren’t exactly right. I have read that a legion of Roman soldiers consisted of at least 6,000 trained men. If that is the case, Jesus could have called for over 72,000 angels to have come to His rescue. No doubt Michael and all of his heavenly host had their flaming swords drawn and were ready to rush to our Savior’s defense. How many angels did Jesus need to deliver Him from His enemies? We learn from 2 Kings 19 how God used just one angel to destroy an army of over 185,000 enemy soldiers. Therefore, twelve legions of angels could easily have defeated an army of over 13 million. Yet, because of His great love, our Savior did not once ask for their deliverance.

Secondly, in measuring the magnitude of God’s love we need to consider for whom it was that Jesus died. The Bible says – Romans 5:6 When we were unable to help ourselves, at the moment of our need, Christ died for us, although we were living against God. 7 Very few people will die to save the life of someone else. Although perhaps for a good person someone might possibly die. 8 But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. NCV

Very few people would give their life for someone else. I’m sure that most parents would die for their children and perhaps there are a few who might give their life for a very close friend. Yet who would die for a total stranger, and even more so, who would die for someone who was their enemy? Yet Jesus did. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners and hostile in our minds towards God, Christ died for us. The Bible also tells us that He died for the sins of the whole world. (see 1 John 2:2) Jesus Christ died even for those whom He knew would never receive Him.

“For God so loved the world…” ‘So’ is a little word, yet in this case it carries a lot of weight. God so loved the sinful that He gave His one and only Son to be the sacrifice for their sins. My friend – “God is love”.

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