For the Son of God was not sent to pass judgment on the world for its sins, but to save it.” John 3:17
Most believers are familiar with the previous verse, but the word “for” connects verse 17 with verse16. John now enlarges upon the purpose behind God’s love by stating the redemptive aspect of the Son of God’s mission. The term “sent” here carries the idea of one who is directed to perform a special task. John clarifies Jesus’ mission by stating what He did not come to do and what He did come to do.
Thrice the word “world” is used in this verse, for God’s plan of salvation is universal. Our sinful 21st century world is worthy of judgment, having largely rejected the Gospel message for two millennia. But while judgment is indeed an aspect of His mission, here John points out the entire work of Christ does not center on world judgment (5:26-27). Had God wanted to judge the entire world for their sins, He could have sent a major global cataclysm. But the heartbeat of God is redemption.
Potentially, the entire world could be saved if they would turn to Christ, thereby avoiding judgment. The contrast is between perishing or gaining eternal life. God desires to redeem humankind. Unselfish in its character, love desires the good of those to whom it flows. Through the born-again experience, people can escape judgment and live eternally with the Lord.
“But that the world, through Him, might be saved”. The word “saved”carries the concept of preserving something safe and sound. Although the entire world could be saved, it’s all about individual choices. Salvation is not restricted to any ethnicity, gender or age group, but is the heritage of all who put faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.