You may have seen it behind home base at a major league baseball game, a sign that someone is holding up that reads “John 3:16.” It’s the one of the most popular verses in the Bible but could also be one of the most misunderstood.
Some have concluded that since God “so loved the world” that we need do nothing in response to God because “we’re all God’s children.” That may sound nice, but it’s not what the Bible teaches.
John 3:16-18 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 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. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Some would prefer not to talk about condemnation, but to failing to talk about it would actually be the most unloving thing to do. It would be like failing to warn someone of an incoming hurricane.
So we warn people to take refuge in a shelter, to take refuge in Jesus, because without him we stand condemned in our sin. This is not merely an escape, but a transformation of life, what Jesus called being born again.