What kind of present do you think could fully express your love to the one whom you love? Is it a diamond? A fancy car? A luxury home? Perhaps all these things are too materialistic and too gaudy; maybe you should devote your time, energy, youth, and personal ideals for the welfare of whom you love? That should be pretty noble!
All these are good things and the price to pay for them is not trifle. However, these things are incomparable to the gift that God has given us.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
God (神) loves (愛) each person in this world. The words “so…that” in John 3:16 speaks of God’s tremendous love towards us. He prepared an unimaginable gift for the world – His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. If you have two treasures, perhaps you may sacrifice one or the other, but if you were to sacrifice your only treasure, it would be much harder. The Bible passage emphasizes that Jesus is God’s only begotten son and it expresses that God did not reserve anything but in the end gave everything. He loved the world to a degree that He even gave his beloved Son generously.
"For scarcely for [the] just [man] will one die, for perhaps for [the] good [man] some one might also dare to die; but God commends *his* love to us, in that, we being still sinners, Christ has died for us." (Romans 5:7-8) God’s love (神的愛) is selfless. He does not show favoritism. It is not those that have a loveable appearance, or are handsome and are of great height, or are multi-talented, or have high moral character that can gain favor from God. Conversely, we are all sinners in God’s eyes and were in enmity with God. Based on our original state, we definitely are not worthy to receive such a grace. God determined the only condition to receive this gift is faith. Faith means that you do not think you are worthy to receive it and you do not think that you can obtain it by your own effort. Only by simply trusting God has prepared this gift for us, then you will be able to receive it from His hand. This is such a great news. No matter what background, identity, citizenship, skin color you have, as long as you humbly confess to be a helpless sinner who cannot save himself, and believe and receive the salvation that God has completed through His beloved Son’s work on the cross, then you will freely gain this priceless treasure.
As we receive and open this gift, we will become surprised on how abundant its content is. The wages of sin is death. The phrase “should not perish” indicates that we were a group of sinners deserving death. However God sent His beloved son to the world to become the Lamb of God, which would die for us and shed His precious blood on the cross for our sakes. He cleared our wages of sin and saved us from the fate of death.
For us, not having to die is already an insurmountable grace. However God still wants to give us much more. The word “but” in John 3:16 tells us that our original end has been turned around 360 degrees. The phrase “but have everlasting life” in John 3:16 expresses that God wants to give an eternal life to us. This blessing of eternal life is not something that can only be enjoyed after the death of the physical body. In actuality, from the time we believe in the Lord, God’s eternal life will enter us. From then on, we can rely on this holy and good life, which is new, to live. No longer will we be controlled by the old life, which is selfish, self-seeking, and inclined to sin. The new life allows us to have a future that is bright and full of hope.
What else do you have to consider? Use your faith to stretch out your hands, so that you may receive God’s great gift!