God loves the world! Everyone knows John 3:16. It says, “For God so loved the world…” But the same author, the Apostle John, in his first Epistle tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” How can God love the world and instruct us to “not” love the world at the same time?

God’s love is different from ours. The world is fallen and in rebellion to God. His love is unique because the world is so bad. Our love is normally for what is so good in our estimation. His love is remarkable and surprising and awe inspiring. God loves the world with the love of redemption. The verse goes on, “…that he sent His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish but have everlasting life.” He loves us with a wholly sacrificial love. Our love is more self-serving. Even our love for our own family is often a self-serving love. But God’s love is never a self serving love. “For God so loved the world” was startling to Nicodemus in his narrow mindset.  God loved not the Jew only, but also the Gentile; not just those who saw themselves special and righteous. He loves sinners. He loves you and me and everyone else.

Because God loves sinners He made it possible for them to be forgiven by sending His son to die on the cross and pay the penalty for their sins. God’s redemptive love is patient and won’t force anyone into redemption. He has promised to bring complete justice into the world, but Peter tells us that God is slow in bringing judgment because “He’s not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” We must be patient and love the world, not the way we love the world, but the way God loves the world.


“God commended his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8