The way we sometimes present the gospel would make this verse read more like this: “For we sinned so much that God gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will quit sinning.”
We make the gospel out to be about our sin rather than God’s love. We send people down the Roman Road–“all have sinned” (Romans 3:23)–instead of up the Via Dolorosa–“He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16).
While I’m against sin as much as the next Christian, I don’t think God being against sin is an accurate depiction of the gospel. But, all too often, the gospel we proclaim is one of condemnation and judgment, not love and grace.
The gospel is the story of God’s love and grace, not God’s condemnation and judgment. We experience God’s love and grace so we won’t have to experience God’s condemnation and judgment. And, if you don’t believe me, just read the next verse: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17).
So, the gospel is not that you’re a sinner and God wants to straighten you out. You are and He does! Certainly, people need to repent of their sin when they receive God’s salvation. Inevitably, when you get close to God, you will repent! Because, when the Holy Spirit draws you near to God, God’s supreme holiness will reveal your profound sinfulness.
Still, the gospel is that God loves people. God ardently, completely, unequivocally, absolutely loves people! God redeems us not because we are sinners but because He loves us and wants us to have fellowship with Him!
It’s not because we’re sinners, but because He loves us so much!
Maybe we need to re-evaluate our theology, or at least our methodology for sharing our theology. So, ask yourself this question, “Does the gospel emanate from mankind’s sinfulness or from God’s love?”
The gospel according to John 3:16 should leave you with no doubt: “For God so loved…”
Save me because of Your lovingkindness. (Psalm 6:4, NASB)