From Essential Provisions

by Tom Bulick on

Devotionals 3 min read
John 3:16

I believe all people are loved by God and need Jesus Christ as their Savior.

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

The creed describing the Central Belief Humanity contains two assertions: one, that all people are loved by God, and two, that all people need Jesus Christ as their Savior. Let’s reflect on them in reverse order. The Bible says that all people need Jesus Christ as their Savior because “There is no one righteous” (Romans 3:10), or put the other way around, because “all have sinned” (v. 23). So on the one hand, no one is morally perfect, and on the other, everyone is morally flawed. Ironically, people who are reluctant to call themselves “sinners” commonly admit they’re imperfect. Ask someone, “Are you a sinner?” and you may hear them answer, “I wouldn’t call myself a sinner. But I wouldn’t call myself religious either. I do, however, think I’m a spiritual person, and I try to follow the Golden Rule.”

Ask the same person, “Are you morally perfect?” and you will no doubt hear them answer, “Of course not; no one is morally perfect.” In fact, people often confess but then excuse their moral shortcomings by adding, “After all, nobody’s perfect.” Logically, the biblical fact that all have sinned does not imply moral equivalence. In other words, just because Hitler is a sinner and Mother Teresa is a sinner that doesn’t mean they are morally the same. Otherwise, there would be no need for future judgment. While all “fall short of the glory,” that is, the moral perfection, “of God” (Romans 3:23), some fall farther short than others.

The Bible also says that God loves all people, namely, the same people who need Jesus Christ as their Savior. John 3:16, perhaps the most familiar verse in the Bible, reads, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” By the term “world,” the apostle means all people without exception, that is, every single human being, not just all kinds of people without distinction—Jews, Gentiles, men and women, rich and poor. Of course, if the first proposition is true, the second is as well. John confirms this in 1 John 2:2. Speaking of Jesus Christ, he writes, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,” namely, all those who believe, “and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world,” namely, all those who do not believe.

It is best to avoid the contemporary tendency to describe God’s love in romantic terms. God loves the world; he is not madly in love with the world. The magnitude of his love is not found in the strength of God’s emotion but in the infinite worth of Christ’s sacrifice. The hymn “The Love Of God” by Frederick Lehman and Claudia Mays puts it best:

Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

Father, strengthen me so that I, together with all of your holy people, might grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and know this love that surpasses full comprehension (Ephesians 3:14-19). Amen.

About the Author

Dr. Tom Bulick (Ph. D. and Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary, M.A. Eastern Michigan University ) is the Spritual Formation Pastor at Central Bible Church. He has been writing The Scrolls Bible studies since their inception in 1998.