I don’t know if you are surprised that we are using this verse or not but for Christmas there may be no greater passage that we can share from than this great Gospel in one verse. This is Christmas in a nutshell.
Because of God’s great love for His creation He decided long before creation came into existence, that He would send His One and Only Son, Jesus Christ to redeem mankind of their sin. Why would He want to do that? His love was great for those He created. He provided for them a perfect environment in which to live, gave them everything they needed, including providing for them a perfect life, but they chose to disobey their Creator and sinned against God. Because of that, His Redeemer was needed and “in the fullness of time” Jesus came, we call that Christmas.
That is what John 3:16 is all about. God’s love was so deep, so great and so profound for the world and everyone in it that Jesus came to this earth to redeem all people from their sin. We know He came as a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger in the town of Bethlehem. Again, why did Jesus come? God so loved the world, all the people He created, and wanted them to have a Savior, a substitute for their sin. You see, all of us have fallen short of the glory of God, another way to say that is that we have sinned before God, everyone, none are without sin no matter who we are and we all need Jesus, the only Savior, who can take the punishment on Himself for our sin.
So, again God sent His Son, and He tells us through John, that if we will believe in Him, trust Him with our heart and mind, give Him our lives to take our sin, then we will be able to have eternal life in heaven with God. When you read this verse you will see that not only will we be able to have eternal life but we will not perish. What does “not perish” mean?
I don’t want to be too elementary here, but the best way to tell you what this means is to say that if you believe in Jesus Christ the Son of God that you will NOT go to hell, or perish, be separated from God forever. But, if you don’t believe in or trust in Him, you will die physically without Jesus and be in that state of physical and spiritual separation from God forever in hell.
John 3:16 says there are two destinations for all people who have ever lived: heaven or hell. For us who believe what God’s Word says, on this side of Jesus’ death and resurrection, all who trust Jesus as Savior and Lord will spend eternity with God in heaven because of the sacrifice of Christ in the Cross and His resurrection from the dead.
This is God’s real love story which is the full Christmas story. Just talking about the “Cradle of Christ,” the Bethlehem story of Jesus as a baby, is not enough. That is why so many people today celebrate Christmas but are lost and going to hell, they do not know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord, Jesus the man who died for all mankind and is the “Savior of the world.”