The Love Of God
John 3:16 is very frequently quoted, often even seen on banners at public events. But consider carefully the entire context of that verse, of how God's love for the world is manifested:
"3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:14-21 KJV)
"And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments"
God does not love those who hate Him:
"20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 20:6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Exodus 20:5-6 KJV)
What is the only way that we can truly love God?
"2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 2:5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him" (1 John 2:3-5 KJV)
"Love is of God" (1 John 4:7 KJV) is manifested by The Ten Commandments (see How To Be A True Christian - Lesson 1, Lesson 2, Lesson 3, Lesson 4, Lesson 5, Lesson 6, Lesson 7, Lesson 8, Lesson 9 and Lesson 10), the first four of which express love for God, the last six which express love for fellow humanity.
"4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God [see When 'Born Again' Means 'Conceived Again'], and knoweth God. 4:8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins [see also Christ's Mercy Seat]. 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 4:12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit [see The Cure For The Carnal Mind]. 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 4:15 Whosoever shall Confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
Fact Finder: Is true Christianity about living a life of doing nothing other than claiming to be "saved," or will salvation be the fruit of a life lived according to God's Word?