My wife and I have begun memorizing John 3:16-19 and following verses. It isn’t that we need to memorize John 3:16 but that we need to memorize the following verses. In refreshing and learning some of these verses I recognized that John 3:16 is the mantra of the evangelical world. It is placed on billboards, and placards, bookmarks, and at bottom of soft drink cups. It is good that we do these things and yet there is more that revolves around the verse. Specifically the condemnation of the world.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:16-21
The condemnation is that men loved darkness rather than light. In verse 18 we see that men who do not believe stand condemned already. In verse 19 Jesus is the light and men loved darkness. What so many people mean by verse 16 is that love might motivate people to come to Christ. However, when Jesus Christ came as the light of the World we find that he is not loved back. In verse 16 God is extending His Son with love to satisfy the righteous requirements and is met with hatred. Instead men loved their sin more than God. If man is to stand in the day of judgment without condemnation then man needs to come to the light who is Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.