They are arguably some of Jesus’ most famous words.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Jesus didn’t prescribe a religious regimen of keeping a bunch of rules or attending a bunch of church services or giving the right amount of offerings or dressing a certain way.
“Do you want life?” Jesus asks people whose sins keep us from the life he wants for us. “Then … here it is. I give it to you. You don’t have to find forgiveness, it’s right here. You don’t have to fight for peace, it’s already yours. You don’t have to figure out how to be better, you’re already perfect in forgiveness.”
There are no conditions to God loving you and Jesus saving you, other than you needing to be loved, needing to be saved.
When you know you need it, and it is given to you, your response is simply receiving it. And it changes you.
You live with joy and peace because Jesus’ love is bigger than all circumstances. You forgive others freely because that’s how Jesus forgives you and them. You don’t place conditions on your love for Jesus. You can’t help telling others about Jesus.
If you’re considering Christianity, or perhaps plateaued in your faith or church life looking for a boost, here is where you start.
The Bible is unique in that the true God, the only real God who can do for us what we need a Savior to do for us, is a giver not a taker.
God so loved the world—all sinners—that “he gave.” God doesn’t need you to give him anything because he’s God, he doesn’t need anything. But what he wants more than anything, he gives. He gives you a life that is forgiven, free from guilt, and forever eternal whether you’re living here or in heaven.
God is a giver, not a taker.
Life is a gift from God, not just in eternity but right now. That’s why they call it the present.
PRAYER: Dear giving and gracious God, you are too often accused of taking, when your ultimate wisdom and love wants to give. You gave your Son, Jesus, to the world. May the world believe in that gift. Starting with me. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Meditate on Romans 8:32. How does God giving his Son serve as a pattern for how he gives you other things?