For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God. John 3:17-18 HCSB
Like you, I have heard John 3:16 many times over the years. Who can argue, it’s an awesome scripture that gives us the purpose of Jesus in one sentence. And it’s the most memorized scripture of all. However, I believe the following verse, John 3:17, is often overlooked. God did not send his Son into the world that he might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Did I just hear grace? He came to offer grace? He didn’t come to condemn me or the world? Now that will preach.
I was once condemned but then grace came and walked beside me. It covered me and showed me God’s love. It followed me and protected me before I even knew it was there. Then I realized that I needed to accept this grace that was chasing after me so I said “yes”. I said yes to accept the love of God through Jesus who died for me (and you) on the cross. Did I realize what I sinner I was, probably not so much, I was a child. However, the Holy Spirit works in ways to help you know and realize sin and this is truly the work of God. Unbelievers don’t always know they are sinning until they know God. They may feel unhappy or unfulfilled, but often times they don’t know they are doing something wrong. When we point fingers and tell people they are sinners, it’s condemning them. Why don’t we point our finger and say God loves you so much that there this thing called grace that covers all the sin you have ever committed.
I wonder, could we reach more for Christ if we offered grace through Him since God did not send him to condemn the world but to save it?