Monday, August 10, 2009

Astounding Love

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
Unfortunately...many have missed the meaning of this remarkable text altogether.

We are told often that God's love is great because it extends to each and every person who has ever lived. "Just think," so it is said, "of the multitudes of men and women who have swarmed across the face of the earth. Oh, how great the love of God must be to embrace within His arms this countless multitude of people."

But I'm not so sure. I'm not convinced that we learn much about God's love by counting heads. God's love is magnified not when we ask how many? but when we ask what kind? That is, the issue is not quantity but quality. The nature of the people God loves is crucial, not their number.

The highlight of John 3:16 is that God has loved the world. The contrast is moral, not mathematical. The difference between God and the world isn't that He is one and it is many. The point John makes is that He is holy and the world is sinful! That's what makes His love for the world so astounding.

God's love for the world is remarkable because the Lover is righteous and the beloved is not. He who dwells in unapproachable light has entered the domain of darkness. The just has died for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). In other words, we marvel at John 3:16 because it tells us that God has loved the moral antithesis of Himself.

When the apostle John uses the term "world," both here and throughout his writings, he portrays it as sinful, estranged, alienated from God, and subject to His curse. The world is detestable because it is the contradiction of all that is holy, good, righteous, and true. The world is that system of fallen humanity viewed not in terms of its size but as a satanically dominated rebellion at war with the kingdom of Christ.

The point, then, is not that the world is so big that it takes a whole lot of love to love it at all. The point is that the world is so bad that it takes an amazing love to love it at all.

--Sam Storms, The Singing God: Discover The Joy Of Being Enjoyed By God, p.36-37


Jessica said...

wow, i haven't heard this take on this passage before, but it's beautiful! thanks for posting. is this a book you are reading?

pilgriminconflict said...

you're welcome. yes, it's so very good! based on zephaniah 3:17: God sings over us!

Justin said...

love it... it does take an amazing kind of love for a Holy God to love a wicked world... Praise Him for His infinite love