By Doug Morrow, BFI Executive Director
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)
For those of us in the church, we’ve heard this verse in various translations all our life. It’s probably one of the first verses of scripture we taught to our children and we may have even referred to it when sharing the Gospel with another. It’s not a stretch to say that John 3:16 is a “life verse” for the church.
And while it’s entirely appropriate to recognize what “good news” (gospel) this is for us, it is also easy to rush past what this verse reveals about the character of God. Because of His great love, God GAVE. A singular act of generosity that would cost God incredible pain and sacrifice — and through this act, the world would be forever changed.
What a God!
Before we rush to explain, pontificate, and expound, let’s just rest there a moment. Our God loves so much that He gives.
And of course the GREAT GIVE of Jesus was only the beginning. Through the Holy Spirit we are given daily presence and strength and power. Through prayer we are given the amazing opportunity to partner with God in His activity in the world. And we are given the chance to help advance the Kingdom in our daily ministries.
This characteristic, giving out of a generous heart, is in fact the only way we know God at all! It is the foundation for all grace and the “hook” that draws us into relationship with God.
If our great privilege is to be conformed (molded) into the image of God, brought into the family and look like “Dad,” then should we not above all things exhibit this key characteristic? In Romans 8:29, we are even told that God chose us to “become like His Son.” Simply put, we cannot look like Jesus unless we clothe ourselves in the mantle of generosity.
In the resources we manage — our time, our abilities and our finances, just how generous are we? How much do we “look” like the God who gives?