Yes, God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him may not be lost, but may have eternal life. God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world; instead, through him the world is to be saved. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned. He who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
This is how Judgment is made: Light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For whoever does wrong hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, for fear that his deeds will be seen as evil. But whoever lives according to the truth comes into the light, so that it can be clearly seen that his works have been done in God.”
Today’s gospel reading is written in typical John-style: all the words used are extremely simple and clear (John’s entire gospel used a vocabulary of just over a thousand words—whereas Luke uses three times as many different words) and yet John succeeds in saying things of almost infinite depth and meaning.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” How could one describe God’s character in more simple words? Yet in some Protestant theologies God is presented as an angry Despot whose honor is soiled by our sins and who demands as an adequate reparation that his Son die on a cross in our place (theory of penal substitution)—and only then is he appeased. This view, inherited from a feudal society based on honor and proportionate compensation, has nothing to do with the God of Jesus, the real and only God. The God of Jesus is pure compassion for our estranged world. In a desperate attempt to save us, he sends us his Son to die for us. All he wants is to save us from death and despair. Shall we ever understand how much God loves us?
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