Simple Devotions
For the Complex Life

Because God Loves the World

That verse is as familiar to Christians as the morning coffee pot. Yet there are parts of John 3:16 that we miss.

In recent years we seem to have interpreted it thus: "For God so loved the Christians..." The emphasis in the churches nowadays is on us; how wonderful it is for us; we are saved; we have the blessings; peace, joy; we are going to Heaven. That's true, but take a look at the church bulletin next Sunday... chances are you will not find one program for taking the gospel directly to the people outside of the church. That is a tragedy, and it was never God's intention.

Let's examine John 3:16. "For God so loved the world..." Notice the verse begins with that statement. Who and what is the world? The world we live in, and the people who inhabit that world. It includes non-Christians.

The truth is, God loves the people outside the church; those who don't know Him; those who don't know the meaning of "saved", "in the natural", "slain in the Spirit" and other Christian jargon.

God cares about sinners. Remember, we were once like them! Second Peter 3:9 reads: "The Lord is... not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." That is God's will. "Any" includes everyone, but people will not know what repentance means unless we tell them! Are we really loving our neighbour as ourselves if we don't tell them?

It is easier (and more comfortable) to sit and wait for people to come into the church - but Jesus said go to where they are.

The gates of Heaven are always open for those who will believe. God wants to give every human being an opportunity to know Him, and we as today's believers are His instruments. Jesus told us to take the message, the Gospel, to all of the world (Mark 16:15).

Today, will you do just that? Will you step outside of your comfort zone to love one another as God first loved us (1 John 4:19)? Are you willing to take the first step and tell someone about what Christ has done for them? Are you willing to step outside of your comfort zone, to save someone from Hell (Revelation 20:15)?