For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, HCSB)

How do you apply a passage like John 3:16? For starters, you believe. But beyond that, consider the love of God which is made manifest in Christ Jesus.

  1. The Father loved me and gave himself - his one and only Son - up for me. “How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that he should give his only Son, to make a wretch his treasure…
  2. The Son loved me and gave himself - his own life - up for me. “Oh, how he loves us so, how he loves us…” “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me? …”
  3. The Spirit loved me and gave me new life, opening my eyes to behold the beauty and the majesty of Christ. “Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, Breathe new life into my willing soul. Bring the presence of the risen Lord To renew my heart and make me whole. Cause Your Word to come alive in me; Give me faith for what I cannot see; Give me passion for Your purity. Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.
  4. We are humbled, and grateful, and deeply loved. The depth of this love is manifest in who we were and what he gave up. Sinners, such a commonplace word. Rebels of the crown, enemies of the Most High…those upon whom his judgment justly rests. Yet, he leaves the glory and honor of his heavenly throne and condescends to the form of a Servant, suffering the brunt of that rebellion and enmity in his own flesh and simultaneously taking upon himself the judgment due to us. 
  5. We have hope. If our God did this that we might be saved, what shall we fear? If in his death we have been reconciled to God, how much more shall we be saved by his life? (Rom. 5:6-10) “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
  6. We love because he loved. “This is how we have come to know love: he laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need, but closes his eyes to his need - how can God’s love reside in him?” (1 John 3:16) “God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins…if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:9-11)
  7. We become vessels of his love. The love of Christ, which was manifest in his death for us, controls us and compels us forward, making us his ambassadors. “For Christ’s love compels us, since we have reached this conclusion: If One died for all, then all died. And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come. Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, certain that God is appealing through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.” He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15,17-21, HCSB)