For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life
John 3: 16 is one of the most popular texts in the bible. But not many people grasp its full meaning. The word ‘so’ used here wasn’t referring to the intensity of God’s love for us. Of course, God loves us intensely, and there are many bible texts to attest to that. But in this particular verse, ‘so’ can be better translated to mean ‘in that’ or ‘in this.’ It is referring to the context of God’s love for us. God showed his love to us in this-he gave us his only begotten son.
The emphasis of this is to show us that all through the Bible, we find out that the specific context of the love of God is salvation. Beginning with this text, we begin to see what the real context of God’s love is. God shows us His love by giving us His son. Why? That we may that we may have eternal life. God’s love for mankind is expressed or demonstrated in the fact that he gave his son Jesus Christ to die for us. So the context of God’s love is primarily salvation.
Rom 5:7-8 says: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Do you now realize how closely this verse resembles John 3:16? Here we see that God’s demonstration of love, is in the context of salvation. God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s love was demonstrated by his proactive action towards our salvation. He did not wait for us to call out to him before he sent his son to die. See again Gal 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
So you see, Salvation is primarily the context of God’s love. See again, Rev 1:5: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
So it is safe to conclude that the primary context of the love of God is salvation. If we are going to walk in this same love towards others, the primary context must also be salvation. You are going to be walking in love when you are also proactive about helping others know about the salvation that is in Christ Jesus. “If we are going to understand the love of God and appropriate the love of God, you will be most effective when you follow the same context.”
Walking in love has its primary focus in the gospel of Christ Jesus. The most effective way you can love others is to preach the gospel to them.