For God so loved the world…

Most people know John 3:16.  For some reason, it seems to be one of the easiest verses in all of scripture to memorize.  But, have you ever stopped to think about the word “so” in this great verse? 
The length to which the God of Heaven was willing to go proves how deep His love is for fallen man. The extent of this love can be seen best in Matthew 26:39.  Jesus prays “…if it be possible, let this cup pass from me:” Think of the love that God has for you as He listens to His only begotten ask for the punishment of our sin to be paid in some other way.  God knew that someone would have to pay the price.  Sin had entered the world (Rom 5:12), and the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23a).  So God had to choose.  Either spare His only Son, or provide salvation for all of mankind.    Jesus submitted Himself to the Father’s will and became our sacrifice.  All because of the extent of God’s love for us.  Stuart Townsend wrote the following lyric in his hymn, “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us”

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure,
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss –
The Father turns His face away,
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.

Consider God’s love.  Meditate on the fact that He loved us so much, He chose our eternal salvation over the life of His Son.  Then consider this familiar passage, “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” I John 4:7-11 (emphasis added)