John 3:16 - 21
ESV - 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
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God so loved the "world." The Greek word for "world" is kosmos. There are several different meanings in the Bible for this word. We must determine which "world" is in context with this passage and which world He actually loves which is the world that Christ died for. 1. The physical world with its oceans, mountains, hills, valleys and rivers. According to 2 Peter 3:10 God says that on the Day of the Lord the earth shall be burned up with a fervent heat. The earth is temporal, so I don't believe that this is the correct kosmos here. Jesus didn't send His Son to die for trees, valleys or mountians, so who did Jesus come to save? Luke 19:10 "For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." If something is lost, it had to have been originally been owned. I can't lose something I never had, I can only lose something I rightfully own. Christ the Good Shepherd is seeking His lost sheep. He is not seeking the lost sheep of another shepherd. 2. The world system with its idolatry, drunkenness, sexual perversions, orgies blasphemies and so forth. 1 John 2:15 "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." You can scratch that one of your list of kosmos possibilities. 3. Does the scriptures say anywhere that God hates? Proverbs 6:16-19 "There are six things the LORD hates—no, seven things he detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family." Lastly God hated Esau! Romans 9:13 "As it is written, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." So what kosmos do these people live in that God hates? The unregenerated God hating world of atheists, abortionists, liars, people filled with pride, lovers of money, people with evil hard hearts, those who lie on the witness stand after swearing to tell the truth, a person who is rebellious against any authority like their parents or God and people who are zealous for their false religion and that hate the living God, God's only begotten Son, His Holy Spirit and His revealed word the Bible. Jesus said of these people in John 8:44 "You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it." The "world" that Jesus died for is the world where God is our heavenly Father not Satan. 4. The world where God reigns supreme. Where His righteous children live by His word. Where love for the brothers and sisters in Christ abounds. Where there is love for what is true, honorable, excellent, right, lovely, admirable and things that are worthy of praise. A world where God is honored, loved, praised, and worshiped in spirit and truth, where the Holy Spirit has free reign in the hearts of His adopted children. Where this is harmony between bothers and sisters and respect for God. THIS is the world that God loves, this is the world of John 3:16.
If I am interpreting the question correctly, by stating "God so loved the world", the verse is saying that God loved the people of the world so much, or so greatly. This great love led Him to incarnate and sacrifice His only-begotten Son (Jesus) to pay the debt for humanity's sin, so that it would be possible for sinful humans to have eternal life through faith in the redemption that Jesus accomplished through His sinless life, His atoning death on the cross, and His subsequent resurrection.
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