God’s love inexhaustible, Vines says in chapel

Communications Staff — September 4, 2008

Despite its simplicity, John 3:16 tells about a love that is more profound than anyone on earth will ever understand, Jerry Vines said in chapel Aug. 26 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“There is simplicity but there is also profundity,” Vines, president of Jerry Vines Ministries and former pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., said, “because all of the scholars of all of the ages have never been able to plumb the depths and the meaning of John 3:16.”

Emphasizing that the meaning of John 3:16 is inexhaustible, Vines enumerated three truths the verse teaches about God’s love.

First, God’s love is global.
Though there are several words for love in the Greek language, Jesus in John 3:16 used the one that describes unconditional love that does not depend on the one being loved, he said. Vines added that God extends such love to every nation and race.

“When we open the door of John 3:16, we are presenting this marvelous truth that God is a God of love,” he said.

God’s love is so great that He loves every single person regardless of how terrible their sin is, Vines said.

“You’re sitting at seminary chapel this morning, but there are some of you here today who think God doesn’t love you,” he said. “You’ve done some things that are so shameful. You have messed up so badly and made so many bad choices in your life, you don’t see how in the world God could possibly love you.

“Oh, but you see, God’s love is not conditioned on the worthiness of the object. God’s love originates from the heart of a loving God.”

Second, God’s love is sacrificial.
God’s perfect love toward humanity resulted in the giving of His Son to die as a sacrifice for sinners, Vines said. The birth of Jesus was the mystery of all mysteries at which Christians should never cease to marvel, he said.

“Don’t ever get over the cross,” he said. “Don’t ever fail to be moved by the cross. The Bible says, ‘Here is the Gospel, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.’”

Third, God’s love is personal.
The word “whosoever” invites anybody, anywhere, at any time to trust Jesus for their salvation, Vines said. The difference between those who trust Christ and those who do not is an eternity in paradise versus an eternity in torment, he added.

The kind of belief that results in eternal life is not mere mental assent, he said. Rather, a true Christian has both a confidence in and a communion with Christ, Vines said.

“Eternal life is both a personal possession and a future anticipation,” he said. “The moment you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are involved in eternal life.”

Are you ready to become a pastor, counselor, or church leader who is Trusted for Truth?

Apply now for summer or fall studies

Classes begin in June & Aug.