For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish…
I. THE OBJECT OF THIS LOVE. The world — not a part of it. The same reasons upon which His love of individuals is justified will justify His love to all.
II. ITS NATURE.
(1) Not a delight in the character of men. For an infinite being to sympathize with wicked natures He must be infinitely wicked.
(2) Not a mere emotion, for emotions do not influence the life without the will.
(3) Not fondness for particular persons. There was nothing in any man to warrant this fondness.
(4) Not an involuntary love as is manifest in what it did.
(5) Not an unreasonable state of mind which so often gives rise to a false affection.
(1) It was the only kind of love that could have been important to man.
(2) It was a reasonable affection.
(3) It was good-will or benevolence.
(4) It was an unselfish kind of love.
(5) God did the good for the sake of the intrinsic and infinite value of the soul. Men had no claim upon Him, but there were infinite reasons why He should not destroy them.
(6) It was disinterested.
(7) It was a love of amazing strength. Here was a world of enemies at war with Him, yet He spared not His own Son.
(8) It was not for a single Christian as such, but for a world of sinners.
(9) It was forbearing.
(10) It was universal.
(11) It was holy.
III. THE REASON FOR THIS WONDERFUL MEASURE OF THE DIVINE GOVERNMENT. Mankind had resisted this government. If God had seemed to connive at this, all other beings might have denied the justice of the law and disobeyed it also. What must be done? God's relation to the universe demanded of Him either to execute the law or to make demonstration of His estimation of the law. It is easy to see that the honour of the law might be fully sustained by God Himself if He should show before the whole universe His approbation of the law. If God would take upon Himself human nature, and in this nature would stand right out before the universe, and obey the law and suffer its penalty, the law would be perfectly honoured. This was what was done in Christ.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.