Green 3:16?

Let’s take the most famous bible verse of all, John 3:16

John 3:16 
     For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Now, what part of the “world” is loved?  We usually think of salvation in terms of individuals who are forgiven and restored to God.  Is that the extent of the “world” in this verse?

It would not be fair to read the verse to say that God sent Jesus to fix the environment, because that leaves out the part about “whoever believes”.  Certainly the immediate call of this verse is to believe and be given everlasting life.

However, is that the extent of salvation?  John 1:1-4 identifies the Word as the creator, as does v. 10.  In v. 12, “the Word became flesh…”, that is entered physically into creation.

Other scripture, Old and New Testament speak of a restoration of “the world” as part of the final completion of salvation –

Romans 8:20-21
    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope [21] that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

    Col. 1:19-20
    For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

That does not mean we can choose to recycle and forget about the message of reconciliation with God.  Neither does it mean that we can limit God’s work to helping people get to Heaven.




One thought on “Green 3:16?

  1. John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

    John 1:9-10
    The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

    John 1:12
    But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

    John 1:29
    The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

    John uses “world” at times to mean “the creation” at other times, the people of the world, or perhaps the society of people, and often as being in oppostion to their creator.

    So how broad is the “world” to be understood in John 3:16?

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