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 (ESV)
This is quite possibly one of the most famous verses in the Bible. It is simple, yet it encompasses so much. For someone who grew up in the church, it is easy to quote this verse without really thinking about what it means. Today as I ran and meditated on this verse, I began to realize just how unbelievable its message is.
God, the holy, loving, perfect, and righteous creator, loved his creation. When you think about his love, think about the love a parent has for a child. It is incomparable to any other love. Despite a child's shortcomings, disrespect, and rebellion, there is nothing that can stop a parent from loving him. And despite all of that, a parent would give anything to protect him. God loved the world the same way.
God loved the world, the dark, sinful, rebellious, lying, cheating, killing, raping, hating, biting, spiting, prideful, narcissistic, and all around terrible people of this world. God's creation, who turned their backs on him within the first generation of their existence, hated him, yet he still loved them.
How much did God love the world? He loved us so much that he willingly and purposefully gave his only son, his perfect son whom he loved. And his son willingly went. Christ became the perfect sacrifice for a world that was so lost in their sin. One sin deserves eternal death in the Lake of Fire, and he who knew no sin took the punishment for every single sin of the world that was ever committed and ever will be committed. He died on the cross. He was buried for three days. And then he rose again. In doing so, death had bruised his heel, but he had crushed its head.
Any man, woman, or child who believes this. Who accepts it. Who professes to believe it with their mouth. Anyone who believes will be saved from eternal damnation in Hell, eternal darkness, separated from God. Instead, they are given a gift so shockingly undeserved. They are given eternity, infinity, and incomprehensible amount of time in the presence of God. They are given eternal life.
This verse is so humbling. I realize how insignificant my life is. I realize how selfish, narcissistic, and prideful I am. When I revel in the unbelievable beauty of God's grace, love, selflessness, mercy, and might, it is so clear that I am but a helpless sinner saved by grace.