Several of our teens will be competing in Word of Life’s Regional Teens Involved competition in Jacksonville on Saturday, April 30. One of them, Raquel Love, is competing in the Creative Writing – Prose category. Below is the entry that she wrote for the competition.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
John 3:16 has a special place in the hearts of all Christians. But perhaps no one really takes the time to understand what each word or phrase means. As each word or phrase is defined and explained below, perhaps you will find a new love for this wonderful verse.
“For God…” God is the Supreme deity. He is always there for us, whether we want Him or not. He is personally interested in us as individuals. The Bible says, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b) Even though God hates wickedness, He still desires His children’s holiness (II Peter 3:9-10). “He hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” Who is God in this passage? Is it Buddha? Is it Mohammed? No it’s God… The One and Only!!
“So loved…” This means He doesn’t like the conduct of men…He still has benevolent feelings towards them. Love is such a powerful word! There are three words for love in the Bible. One is agape, which is an unconditional, true to the nature of God kind of love. It is about who He is. (God is Love. 1 John 4:8). Another definition for love is eros, which is a physical, lustful feeling. And then there’s phileo. This is a person-to-person, brotherly love for one another. The love that John 3:16 is talking about is agape, because that’s the only kind of love that can save a sinner.
“The world…” The “world” is the ungodly multitude, the whole mass of alienated people from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ. God is not just talking about one continent; He is talking about the whole world we live in! Italy, Jamaica, Russia, Mexico, and America–He’s talking about these and more.
The all-powerful God of this world sent His only son, Jesus, to take the blame for our sins and put them on the cross for us! Now that’s amazing! Jesus took every sin of the world to the cross– lying, cheating, stealing, and murdering. Then there are little sins like bad thoughts, grudges, poor attitudes, and other sins that nailed Him there. That’s why the death of Jesus is so important. He did that because He loves us that much! Who else would do that for all the people of the world?
“That whosoever …” Whosoever means every individual in the world…. It doesn’t matter whether they believe in God or not. It doesn’t matter even if they don’t believe that God exists. He still loves them all equally. “Whosoever” means the very religious or the pagan who has never even heard of God!
“Believes in Him…” Believe means placing your confidence in, or trust in something. What is one thing that God can do that no one else can? God can take our sins away. Neither Buddha nor Mohammed can take our sins away. Just because mommy and daddy are Christians, doesn’t mean they can save us from our sins. Only God can save us from our sins. God is the only One! Anyone and everyone who believes in Him, and knows Jesus died for them on the cross, will live forever with Him!
“Shall not perish…” This means that when God comes to take us Christians to Heaven someday, we will not have to worry about the Wrath of Hell. We will be with God forever and ever!
“But have everlasting life.” Every person that knows Jesus as their personal Savior and knows He died for them on the cross will experience eternal life. All the Christians that will live in Heaven with God will be safe from the evil things of the world forever! That’s exciting!
God loves us! That is the triumphant message of the Bible. That is the greatest message we will ever hear. God wants us to know His love for us, so He demonstrated that love at great personal cost (Romans 5:8). God loves us! We know that because He gave his Son for us. He didn’t want the power of “perish” to claim us, so He gave us the power of His love. He sacrificed so we could have life. God loves us! Don’t ever doubt it. Don’t let the evil one rob you of this life-giving truth. God loves you and wants to give you everlasting life!