“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:17)
This is the sad passage that gets no respect. John 3:16 gets all the attention. If you were alive in the 1970's, you couldn't help but know the rainbow colored, fake Afro sporting guy, who carried the John 3:16 sign at almost every sporting event. You ask most Christians what their favorite passage is, and the response is frequently John 3:16. Everyone forgets the lonely next verse.
When I was in seminary, I served a church in Schererville, Indiana. Their pastor, Allen Montgomery, became one of my closest friends. I was so blessed to have such a faithful mentor. He would drill into my head, "you never quote John 3:16 without also saying John 3:17." John 3:16 describes God's love for humanity, by offering Jesus as the means for eternal life. 3:17 describes God's motivation and means of providing eternal life.
God's motivation is not to bring condemnation but love and mercy. Rev. Montgomery would proclaim, over and over again, that Christian thought is horribly faulty if it leads to a theology of condemnation. Why would God become flesh, suffer and die a humiliating death, only to turn around and condemn those Jesus suffered so much to save? If anyone is condemned, then Jesus' death and resurrection is limited. We worship an Almighty, omnipotent God. To claim God was limited in any way is blasphemy.
Today, you have homework. If you haven't already memorized John 3:16, get to it. A guy sporting a rainbow afro couldn't be wrong. But you are not finished. Continue your memorization with John 3:17. They go together like "peas and carrots," to quote Forrest Gump. When you have memorized them, they will become grafted upon your hearts. You will feel what it is like to "not perish, but have eternal life." You will also feel the joy of acceptance, rather than condemnation. Memorize and become one with the one who gave, so we might have eternal life.