None of God's beneficence in any way means He approves of the conduct of sinful men, but rather it is a revelation of His nature that, despite men's wickedness, He has benevolent feelings toward them. He earnestly desires their happiness and is sincerely devoted to helping them make a success of life.
The whole world lies in wickedness (I John 5:19), and mankind is unable to extricate itself from it. Part of God's solution is to give a blessing, a gift, by which all the sins of humanity can be met and paid. Think of how much good fruit will be produced because of it! Can any kindness be greater than this? Absolutely not! But it does set a clear standard and pattern of conduct for us to exemplify in our lives so we too can be seen as children of God.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Kindness
Our God, Jesus Christ, gave up everything and redeemed the whole world. Notice, however, this verse says, "whoever believes in Him . . . should have everlasting life," not the whole world. He did not sacrifice Himself for all mankind just because they were there, but for those out of the whole world who believed in Him. Paul writes in Hebrews 9:26, 28 that Christ gave Himself "once" for all time, for the remission of sin, and He does not have to sacrifice Himself again. That is "all" it took, but it took all He had.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Parables of Matthew 13 (Part 3): Hidden Treasure
On the surface, it appears that God will save people on the basis of simply accepting of Jesus Christ as Savior. But now look at verses 31-36.
He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth [the worldly person]. He who comes from heaven [Christ] is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony [no one believes it]. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure [Jesus perfectly knew and understood the truth of God and taught it to these people in the power of His Spirit, and they should have believed what He said]. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:31-36)
These are very ominous words. In terms of faith, John's words give this chapter a quite different perspective. Everyone hearing God's Word is confronted with a choice: believe and obey it, or take the chance of dying the eternal death.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 4)
The Father and the Son are not failures; their plan is right on schedule. Most of the world will be saved! The question is, "When?" However, most people will not be saved at the return of Christ—the order of resurrections (I Corinthians 15:23; Revelation 20:4-15) allows for a broader timeframe for saving the world.
Who Are the 144,000?
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing John 3:16: