Read: John 3:16, John 8:1, Matthew 5:23, 1 John 2:2, John 16:8, Romans 5:8

For God So Loved the World

John 3:16 is one of the most commonly known verses in Christianity, and for good reason! But knowing the context of that verse makes it even more special. Jesus was talking with Nicodemus, the Pharisee and Jewish ruler. Pharisees were like police officers or judges because they were evaluating behavior according to the law to see if it was “fair, I see.” Get it—Pharisee?

Anyway, it was the Pharisees who brought a woman caught in the act of adultery to Jesus, expecting Him to shame and punish her, but to their surprise and disapproval, He gave her grace and forgiveness.

Jesus responded by explaining that the reason the Council hated Him and tried to trap Him was that they already knew their way was no longer the way. Evil deeds and hearts like to stay hidden. Darkness hates the light.

Back to Nicodemus. He probably thought that upholding the law by punishing sinful people made him right with God. It’s interesting that in John 3:16–17, Jesus addressed his judgmental heart by essentially saying that God didn’t send Him to condemn the world but to save it.

So, evaluate your heart. Are you sneaking around trying to hide your sin, offense, or judgmental bad attitude? It’s not working. God knows. It’s only holding you back from living in the abundance Jesus died to give you! Let it go. Come to Jesus, and God will strengthen you.

God’s kindness brings people into God’s family, not condemnation and judgment, because people are condemned already. They know where they are wrong—don’t you?

John 16:8 says that the Holy Spirit comes to convict the world of sin. The word sin here is singular and means the sin of not believing and receiving Jesus. It’s not the sins of their poor choices and behaviors because Jesus gave His life for the sins of the whole world. He finished the sin problem.

All of God’s wrath was placed on Jesus. He took your place and the place of the most sinful person you know! However, people will still be eternally separated from God if they do not believe Jesus took their place. That’s why we continue to show God’s love to those who don’t yet know God so that they might see God’s love in us and find a relationship with Him.

What do you think motivated the Pharisees? What would motivate us to call out someone’s sins?

Who have you condemned that you should have shown kindness and love?

How can you extend grace and kindness to people in your life—even when it’s not easy?

Father, teach me how to love and show kindness to people I don’t understand. I want to know You more and reveal Your heart to everyone I meet, but I cannot do this without fully experiencing Your love for me. Thank You for taking my place. I receive it. I receive Your love.

We would like to thank Life.Church for providing this plan.