God so loved

…God so loved…

It is affirmed here that God so loved the world. The term “God” is the designation of the divine nature, and so can be used either for the Father; for Jesus, the Son; or for the Holy Spirit. In this verse, obviously “God” is used for the Father, who gave his Son.

How wonderfully the love of God is portrayed here! Unlike the gods of paganism, who were vicious and cruel, and also the cold and indifferent “god” of modern philosophy, the God of the Bible is loving.

The term “loved” translates the Greek verb agapao. The noun form of agape is not a love which is merely emotional. It is the love of genuine interest, or determined dedication. It is the love which acts out of concern for others. W. E. Vine observed that agapao,  when talking of God:

“expresses the deep and constant love and interest of a perfect Being towards entirely unworthy objects, producing and fostering a reverential love in them towards the Giver, and a practical love towards those who are partakers of the same, and a desire to help others to seek the Giver”.

It is this unconditional love of God that motivates man to seek his grace. John once wrote: “We love, because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

The extent of divine love is underscored by the use of the adverb “so” (houtos), a term marking the degree of intensity. God thus loved; not passively, but actively; to the extent of giving his precious Son, for human redemption.