Thursday, December 15, 2016
Salvation or Condemnation?
In the third chapter of John we find some of the greatest words ever penned in the sixteenth verse; “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.” During the holiday season it is encouraging to note that the tradition of giving gifts began with God! For God so loved…He gave. Just as we are told in James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” There is no more good, or perfect gift, than the gift of Jesus Christ, who set aside His Glory to be born of a virgin, to be lain in a stable, to live a life of humility and service to the poor and needy, to die a martyr’s death upon a cross, to be buried in a borrowed tomb, and three days later, to rise again to life!
What an amazing gift that was! What amazing love! What amazing grace! Too often however we stop at John 3:16. That is like seeing the present under the tree, but leaving it there. To really appreciate a gift, we need to unwrap it. The next few verses will help us do that….let’s take a look.
John 3:17-19 helps us to understand John 3:16 even better. In it, Jesus states, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 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. And this is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” You see, Jesus didn’t come to condemn, He came to save, because mankind was already condemned because their deeds were evil.
If you doubt the evil that is present in mankind, all you need to do is look at the world around you. Today, the news is filled with stories about despots and dictators who turn their guns upon their own citizens. In Syria, the government has even used chemical weapons against civilians, including children! If you need evidence that is closer to home, look at the racial bias, discrimination, and violent conflict that is evident here in the states. Even the verbal conflict between those who support and oppose political candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton reveal a lack of love for our fellow man that manifests itself in our inability to carry on a civil discourse! The fact is, mankind was already condemned, and was desperately in need of a savior; and, God gave us just what we needed. He sent His Son to pay the price for all that we have done wrong! Will you accept His gift today? If you haven’t already, I hope that you will!
To hear our most recent message from the book of John, click on the link below and listen in to a teaching from John chapter 3.