The best-known verse in the Bible . . .
16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
loved the world . . . this was a shocking statement to the Jews. “God so loved the Jews” is what they would expect to hear, but that is not what he said. God loves the world . . . all of us.
he gave his only begotten Son . . . God gave what was most dear to him, his beloved Son, as the ultimate atonement for sin, as a gift and not something deserved. His love for the sinning world was not sentimentality but a love that had tremendous cost.
whosoever believeth in him . . . not the whole world benefits from the gift. It is those who believe, trust and obey; who put their complete faith in; who give their lives to; who rely entirely upon his Son Jesus that will reap the benefit of the grace (unmerited favor) given by God to the unrighteous world.
should not perish, but have everlasting life . . . this speaks to the quality of our eternal existence. To “perish” does not mean annihilation, but ruin, failure to realize God’s purpose, and exclusion from his fellowship. To perish is to endure the wrath of God, which is an eternity in the fire of hell. “Everlasting life” is to avoid God’s wrath because Jesus paid for your sin by his sacrifice on the cross. Through faith in Jesus, you traded hell for heaven and will experience an eternity of joy being in right standing with God.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Jesus did not come to judge, instead, he provided the opportunity for us to accept the gift of salvation. The judgment of the world comes later.
The positive perspective in these verses of salvation by faith in Christ should be joined with the consequence of unbelief that is presented in John 3:36!
36 . . . and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.