“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. (The Message)
Our ideas of God shape or perhaps misshape our lives. An easy going sentimental idea may cause us to be lax in conduct. A fearsome tyrant out to get us idea may result in a distant or cringing relationship with God. To correct those ideas, we turn to Jesus. Because Jesus is God spelling himself out in a language we can all understand.
The familiar text today reminds us that God loves us. When John uses the word “world”, he means human society in opposition to God. So God loves those who hate or reject him. He shows that love through Jesus winning victory over sin and death.
Our God is not easy going, tolerant of sin. Jesus had to deal with it. And if we reject Jesus we reject the possibility of eternal life. Nothing “soft” about that. Yet God’s motive in sending Jesus was not to crush us or condemn us. He came to offer us a way out of our desperate predicament.
God recognises our failures and imperfections. But he came to remedy them, not to rub our noses in them. He came to reach out a hand of mercy, not to point that accusing finger.