This verse is the most preached of all gospel texts. It presents the five essential components of God’s good news. Firstly, “God so loved the world”. Unlimited love was His motivation, holding nothing back, even His Son. The ‘world’ means all the people in the world at every point of time; all have sinned - everybody except Jesus has offended God’s holiness. Secondly, Jesus Christ was sacrificed by Father God, although He was infinitely precious. Such love was totally undeserved by sinful human beings as 1 Peter 3:18a says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
Thirdly, His sacrifice demands a personal response of faith. Anybody is allowed to believe in Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world’ (John 1:29). God does not limit access to His grace because of anybody’s religious background, race, culture or other social distinction. Fourthly, when a person trusts Jesus they are promised that the sentence of eternal punishment has already been paid by the death of Christ, and so they will never perish. Fifthly, those who trust in Jesus are promised eternal life. ‘Eternal’ means ‘will never cease’. New life in Christ starts now, free from condemnation and guilt (2 Corinthians 5:17 ), and will continue through death into God’s Kingdom for ever.
The gospel is such good news. It announces that anybody who believes in Jesus Christ will have their guilt and the threat of hell totally removed; and they are also promised eternal life in peace with God, starting when they are born again. All this is because the holy God loves sinful people and does not want them to perish. This news is not only good, but also critical to everybody’s eternal destiny. If you believe this, do you share it? Do you realise the urgency to be a Gospel ambassador, as the Apostle Paul said, “We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20). In proclaiming Christ, it is like one beggar who has found bread telling another hungry beggar where to get it, and that there is plenty for everybody! If you are in Christ you are a Gospel ambassador – so serve your King well!
© Dr Paul Adams