The Mission: Week 1 - Day 2
God, I stand in awe of who you are and what you have done in sending your Son. Help me to grasp just how much you love the world and desire not to condemn but to save the world. May your love motivate me to love you in return and to love others.
READ: John 3:16-18 NIV
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
If the “What?” of the Bible is a story about paradise lost becoming paradise found then the “How?” of the Bible is to be found in John 3:16. Paradise was lost not only in that Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden, but this points to the bigger issue that man, as a result of sin, was separated from God. The story of the Bible is God’s plan to rescue and redeem man, once again able to enter into a relationship with God. John 3:16, the most well-known passage in the Bible, tells us how the paradise we lost in the Garden of Eden can be found again. The New Testament message is that through Jesus’ death on the cross we can be forgiven of sin and made right with God. Paul goes on to compare the “Good news” or the “Gospel” so closely with Jesus death on the cross that in 1 Corinthians 1:18 he calls the Gospel the “message of the cross”.
The “Why?” can also be found in this verse. It says that God gave his one and only son because he loved the world so much. When confronted with this news, we are also left with a choice. Whoever believes in him shall not perish. However, those who choose not to believe in him will stand condemned. Lest we think God’s condemnation of those who don’t believe is harsh, let us remember that God’s will is for “all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth”. In the words of the famous theologian, C.S. Lewis, there are two kinds of people in this world: those who say to God, “Thy will be done” and those to whom God will say, “Thy will be done”.
John 3:16 is fundamental to the Gospel message. If this is a verse you have read several times or memorized, I challenge you to spend some time pondering the power of the message being communicated. God, a maximally great being, the greatest conceivable being, loved you so much he sent his Son to die an agonizing death that you may have eternal life and life to the full here on earth. I would be mistaken if I didn’t ask everyone reading this if they have believed in Jesus as God’s son and accepted his death on the cross for your sin. If you haven’t, then I would encourage you to do so. There isn’t any magic formula here; but, either out loud, or in your head, tell God that you recognize you are a sinner, you don’t live up to God’s perfect standard, and that you recognize and accept Jesus’, God’s son, death on the cross to pay the penalty for your sin.
The fact that we have a choice whether to accept God’s gift of salvation should give us a sense of urgency in sharing the Gospel and communicating just how much God loves the world. Are you seeing to it that all those who are in your sphere of influence have been given the opportunity to respond to God’s love? Do you live your life in such a way that is clear the God you serve is a God that saves and not a God who condemns?
God, I thank you for the gift of your son Jesus that I may have eternal life. Help me to communicate well through my words and deeds just how much you love the world so that others may be drawn to you.