God loves us (vs 16a): “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” – In this verse “God” (the designation of the divine nature) is used of the Father, who gave his Son. God is a loving God (2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 John 4:8,16).
The object of love is “the world,” (kosmos), a broad word that here refers to all humanity. God doesn’t limit this love only to the Jewish people or to believers, but to all of humanity. It is this great love of God that motivates us to love Him & love others. “We love, because He first loved us” 1 Jn.4:19.
The word love ‘agape‘ is not talking about an emotional love nor has the definition of love or romanticism the world understand, but agape is ‘benevolence, good will’ it is an act of the will, a selfless, sacrificial love that cares & constantly seeks the benefit of the other person. Agape love is active. It demonstrates love through actions. Please see 1 Cor.13. This is the love that God has for us, the reason He gave His son & also the love that moved Jesus to voluntarily die for us in the cross (John 10:18).
The world cannot teach us this love, because it comes from God. In Galatians 5:22 we learn that ‘agape’ love is the fruit of the Spirit.
The ancient Greek had 4 terms to define ‘love’: ‘Agape’, ‘Phileo‘, denoting personal attachment, friendship, brotherly love, this is a feeling, a fondness. You can find both terms in Jn. 21:16. Storge (natural love and affection of a parent for their child, family loyalty). Rom.9:10 translated ‘kindly affectioned’, & Eros (romantic love).
In this way the love of God was revealed to us, that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we must also love one another. . . 16And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him 1 John 4:8-11, 16
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in sins, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and He raised us up and seated us together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, 9 not of works, so that no one should boast. Eph. 2:4-9
God wants us to hate evil or sin (Rom.9:10), but to love one another (Jn.13:35), love our neighbors , & even love (agape) our enemies. Matt. 5:44. Also let us not forget that LOVE . . . rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. 1 Cor.13:6.
On one hand God loves the sinner (Romans 5 :8; 1 John 4:10), but on the other hand God hates sin or evil. Sin separate us from God (Is. 59:2, Jer.5:25), it blinds us to the truth (1 Jn.2:11) & we will perish if we stay in our sins.
‘But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us‘ (Rom.5:8).
There are some that teach that God hates sinners & to prove it they use Psalm 5:5 :” You hate all workers of iniquity“. The Hebrew word for iniquity H520 “âven” literally means “perverseness, wickedness“. Iniquity is sin at its worst. Iniquity is premeditated, continuing with out repentance & escalating sin (Job 6:29). God hates (without sinful intent, not like men hate) these type of sinners, He abandons/gives them over to a reprobate mind, because they had harden their hearts. Please check also ‘Iniquity‘.
There is a use of the word hate today that means malicious, which is incompatible with love/benevolence, and this type of hate God does not have (Deut.32:4, Psalm 5:4) He is Holy! The word hate is used in the bible to describe to ‘love less’ or to ‘reject’ (Gen.29:30-31), disgust, etc. That type of hate can certainly co-exist with benevolence, so there is no contradiction when we properly understand the meaning of these words.
We can find that the object of God’s hatred is always evil and wickedness. And when referring to people it’s because of their continual unrepented sin, or iniquity. It is not, that for no reason at all God decided to only love a few people (or the elected, according to Reformed /Calvinist doctrine) & hate the rest or non-elected.
– The second part of that verse John 3:16b says: “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life“. God loves the whole world and wants ALL to be saved, He longs to have a relationship with us, but He will force no one to yield to His plan.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim.2:3-4
The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some count slowness. But He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Pet.3:9
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
who gave Himself as a ransom for all. This was the testimony given at the proper time. 1 Timothy 2:6.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” Titus 2:11.
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” John 1:29.
Any denomination that changes or limits the atoning sacrifice of Christ to be only for a few chosen ones, is contradicting God’s Word & changing the gospel!
Do not believe what others tell you (including us), because we are not going to be judged by what some other person says. On the Day of Judgment (we are not going to be judge according to the Mosaic Law either as some teach) we are going to be judged only by what our Lord said when He came. That is going to be the only standard for judgment. Our Lord JESUS says in John 12:48:
“The word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day“.
The concept of a ‘Limited Atonement’ means that Jesus didn’t die for everyone, but only for a limited or selected group, namely Calvinism’s “elect” or the ‘Israelites’ alone, or the Awakened Ephraimites, or the Jehovah’s witnesses’ elect, etc. The rest or the alleged “non-elect” wouldn’t have a Savior who really died for them, BUT if they didn’t have a Savior, then how can they be held accountable for rejecting a Savior that they never had? So a Calvinist (or any ‘elected one’) would then have to say that the rest are not condemned for rejecting the grace of Calvary, or for not believing Jesus, but because of their sin or because God hated them for no reason. However, that’s not at all what Jesus said.
Remember in all these passages of John 3, Jesus is talking, next verse Jesus is referring to Himself, these are His own words:
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3: 17-18
What is the reason some are condemned & some are not? because of election? sins? not being of a particular race, an Israelite or an awakened Ephraimite? No, none of those, but because of FAITH! Either they believe HIM or they don’t.
What happens next, is that after we truly believe Him we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit & as a consequence and because of our love for Him, we will bear some fruit John 15:4-10. Those fruits got nothing to do with keeping the Mosaic Law (Old Covenant) as some teach, but with the Holy Spirit working in us, in our hearts. We need to remain in Jesus & His words remain in us. Jn 15:7
We all have a choice to make, either we believe God or we believe that other voice, we have the same choice as Adam & Eve! If we reject the Word of God as our only authority, then we are rejecting God’s authority, the Truth & we will be on our way to deception, we will accept a lie.
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”. John 3: 16-21
Again, Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12
God is light & in Him there is not darkness at all. 1 John 1:5, Jews knew God is light: Psalm 27:1, Habakkuk 3:4, Hosea 6:5, Isaiah 51:4, 1.
Five point Calvinists teach that faith is a gift of God, which is put in the sinner’s heart that was elected for salvation. But the Bible teaches otherwise. It’s salvation that is a gift of God & it’s not by works we do. But faith comes by hearing God’s Word:
“God, who at various times and in diverse ways spoke long ago to the fathers through the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the world.” Hebrews 1:1-3. Today we proclaim His spoken words.
“The hour…now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live” (John:5:25).
For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?. . .So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. 18 But I say, have they not heard? Yes, indeed:
“Their voice went into all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.” Rom.10:13-18
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Eph. 1:13.
18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him. Luke 8:18
Then why some people are able to believe or have faith & some others don’t ?
First, it is necessary for the gospel of Christ to be preached so that sinners can hear, then believe & be saved. Many haven’t heard the real gospel, some have heard a counterfeit & many others are trying to be good or doing good works to attain salvation. This is the reason we must preach the true gospel to every person, in every nation, in the whole world (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46, 47).
Second, I recommend you to read the Parable of the Sower. The seed, is the Word of God & it’s given to everybody when we preach the gospel, but it depends on the condition of the heart (soil/ground) to receive it, keep it & then give fruit.