John 3:16-21 Devotional Commentary

God loves us through Jesus Christ: Weekly meditation for May 5-11

John 3:16-21 (GW)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us wisdom and insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
Who or what can separate us from the Love of God?!

16 God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.
17God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but to save the world.
18Those who believe in him won t be condemned. But those who don t believe are already condemned because they don t believe in God s only Son.

In the last two meditations, Jesus had fully explained to Nicodemus that one can neither see nor enter the Kingdom of God unless one is born again from above. Now Jesus, the eternal Word in the flesh, discloses the unfathomable divine attribute of God's heart which moved Him to dispense His Mercy and Grace to redeem the lost from His judgment upon sin.

The entire human race had fallen into judgment because of sin and rebellion. All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. Because of sin, no one has the desire to return to God, no not one! God prepared the Way. He sent His Son to the world so that by believing in Him the lost will find their way back to Him, God our Father and our Creator.

So God, because of His divine Love, sent His Holy and Righteous Son to be offered as the Sacrifice to pay for sin's penalty. Since the Righteous, Holy, and Just requirement of God's Law has been satisfied by the Sacrifice of the Son of God—Jesus Christ, God saved the lost by His Grace through faith, repentance, and acceptance. God showed His Love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Jesus came to the world to save the lost in keeping with His Father's Will. Jesus Christ, the Son of God came, not to judge or condemn the world, but to be God's salvation for those who would repent and believe. Judgment had already been pronounced upon the world due to sin and disobedience. Jesus came to deliver the condemned from judgment and set the lost free. He came to reconcile the world to God, not to reiterate the judgment already in place.

Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ remain in the condemnation under which they were born as sinners. Adam's descendants are conceived and born in sin. The whole world is mired in the bondage and the blinding darkness of sin. Unless man is somehow intercepted in his hapless journey, unless man is somehow apprehended by the loving God, he is destined for the cauldrons of hell. The Scriptures teach us, that there are only two kinds of people on the earth—those who believe and are, therefore, redeemed, and those who do not believe and are, therefore, condemned.

19This is why people are condemned: The light came into the world. Yet, people loved the dark rather than the light because their actions were evil.
20People who do what is wrong hate the light and don t come to the light. They don t want their actions to be exposed.
21But people who do what is true come to the light so that the things they do for God may be clearly seen.

Those who do not believe avoid the Light because they do not want their true sinful nature to be exposed. The Light has come into the world, but people preferred darkness. Jesus Himself is that Light. Jesus says: I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will have a life filled with light and will never live in the dark.

Jesus came into the world from the very presence of the eternal God, and people ignored Him. They did not want His salvation. Preferring their own familiar corrupt ways, they chose darkness instead of light so that their sinful ways would not be exposed. In choosing darkness, one rejects Jesus Christ the Light. Therefore, one is left in condemnation.

These are the two realities of our world—Light and Darkness. We choose the one and reject the other. As unbelievers, we are basically on the side of evil from birth due to inherent sin. From that moment on, we naturally spend our energies resisting the Light, relentlessly fighting to keep the Light out of our lives. We choose to live a guarded sinful life in the dark. We naturally avoid the Light because deep down in our soul we are ashamed of the darkness which has become our normal life.

In contrast are those redeemed saints who know the truth because they have been brought to the Light. The works of those that love the Light truly reveal that those works were done in them through the Spirit of God! Again, God is the Motivator. God is the Initiator of all the good that is accomplished through His redeemed servants. God alone gives life to a person s spirit. Once a person is made new by His power, God enables that person to do what honors and glorifies the Redeemer. When all is over, this person will humbly praise God, not only for his redemption, but also for his life s work.

Living in the Light of God's presence, the believer will no longer be afraid to be recognized as:

  • The child of God!
  • The servant of the Most High!
  • The disciple of Jesus Christ!
  • The voice of the Holy Spirit!
  • The messenger of the Gospel!
  • The minister of reconciliation!
  • The witness of Truth!
  • The Ambassador of Peace, Mercy, and Grace!


Jesus finally told Nicodemus Who He is and why He came. He is Jesus the Christ, the Messiah, the promised Savior, the Son of God. He came to save the lost. He is not just a miracle worker and a good Teacher. He is the Lamb of God Who came to be the Sacrifice for sin. He came to do for us what we could not do for ourselves. He came to secure for us what we could not earn.

Indeed, Jesus' words are dynamic and powerful. His words are both the foundation and the substance of our faith in God. Through His life on earth, His teachings, ministry of love and compassion, healing and miracles, His Sacrifice and Resurrection, His righteousness and obedience, Jesus brought to us God's redemption and brought us to the heart of His Father, God the Almighty.

The heart of God, you say? Yes, the heart of God! The very heart of God where we see and experience by faith:

  • His redeeming touch by the Holy Spirit which floods our sinful heart with irresistible conviction.
  • His gift of faith which aids our overwhelmed heart to respond by faith in obedience.
  • His Love which compelled Him to send His only begotten Son to be the Sacrifice for our salvation.
  • His Compassion which moved His heart with unbounded Love to condemn His righteous Son for our sake.
  • His Justice which did not spare even His own Son to pay the penalty required from us by the Law, placing God's judgment upon Him and delivering us from the judgment we deserved.
  • His Power which, through the Resurrection, conquered sin, death, hell, and the devil, setting us eternally free from condemnation.
  • His Grace which took away the judgment we deserved and gave us Jesus' righteousness we did not earn or deserve.
  • His Mercy which looked upon the lost with divine empathy and redeeming favor, sacrificing His Son as a ransom for the perishing.

Jesus' words to Nicodemus show us God s heart, constraining us to reflect upon our own hearts. That picture is not so pretty. There, in the hidden chambers of our own hearts:

  • We see the works of evil conceived in the dark quarters of our sin nature.
  • We see, not a self-giving love, but a self-serving greed.
  • We see a God-denying rebellion.
  • We see a heart which shuns the brightness of God's Light.
  • We see a heart which prefers the darkness of a godless night.
  • We see a heart that is ignorant of the God Who has created all that exists.
  • We see a heart which chooses to worship creation instead of the Creator.

Jesus' words show us that the heart of man is proud, arrogant, and boastful, the antithesis of the heart of God. It is evident from Jesus words that God's heart and the heart of man are irreconcilable. They can never coexist in peace with each other unless one or the other moves to make peace.

Being corrupt, sinful, and self-centered, man cannot and will never make this move. Man is sadly deceived and feels completely satisfied with his personal pursuits, indulgences, and, the state of his dark and dead life. It is not in man's nature to seek reconciliation.

Man neither recognizes nor acknowledges the rift between himself and God, his Creator. Therefore God took the first and only necessary step to redeem man from the pit of his own folly. God sent His only Son into the world to deal with sin and to bring the light of His good news to man s darkened world.

Seeing the hopelessness of our own dark hearts, we can only cry out before we drown under the waves of our sin, Lord, save me! Save He did! By sending His only begotten Son into this world because He loved man, the crown of His creation. God reached forth with His hand and, through His Son Jesus Christ, grasped our lifeless souls, breathing His new life into our dead spirits. Jesus did this by being lifted up on the Cross, the perfect Sacrifice atoning for the sins of the world.

Aided by God's prompting Grace, we surrender ourselves to the irresistible conviction of the Holy Spirit, and call on Him Who died for us, to show us the Way. He says to us, come follow me for I am the way.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

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John 3:16-21
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