John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world … ” (NIV)—and the original Greek word is kosmos, meaning “the world as a created, organized entity”. – The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 929. This verse is about salvation for humanity, but the plan of salvation has implications for the whole of creation too.
Read Romans 8:20-23. What does this teach about the broader issues in the plan of salvation?
Of course, on one level, salvation is about each one of us in our personal relationship with the Lord. But there’s more. Justification is really not just about getting our sins forgiven. Ideally, it should also be about how, through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Lord creates the family of God, who celebrate their forgiveness and assurance of salvation by, among other things, being witnesses to the world through their good works.
Read John 3:16-17. How does verse 17 contribute to a broader understanding of verse 16?
We can accept that God loves people other than just ourselves. He loves those we love, and we rejoice in that. He also loves those we reach out to, and our recognition of this truth is often our motivation for our own reaching out to them. But He also loves those whom we are uncomfortable with, or even afraid of. God loves all people, everywhere, even those whom we might not particularly like.
Creation is one way we see this demonstrated. The Bible consistently points to the world around us as evidence of God’s goodness: “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45, NIV). Even life itself is a gift from God, and regardless of the individual’s response or attitude to God, every person is a recipient of that gift.
|How should it change our attitude toward others and their circumstances when we recognize them as beings created and loved by God?|