He Gave His Son
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
What is love? Simply put, it is giving of oneself to meet the legitimate needs of others. God so loved us that he (the Father) gave his Son (Jesus Christ) to die on a cross for us to take away our sins. It wasn’t just to forgive us our sins, though, but it was to deliver us out of our slavery to sin (Rom 6:1-23).
It would not be love, though, if all he did was to forgive us our sins, but he left us still in bondage to sin. If all he did was just erase the death penalty, but he left us still in prison, we would not ever be free. We would still be in chains until he released us from those bonds.
The beauty of what Jesus did for us on that cross, though, was that he put sin to death on that cross so that we could die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and so we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21).
That Whoever Believes
Belief in Jesus is not an emotion or a one-time experience in our lives and then we are good to go until we die and go to heaven. Belief is God-given and divinely persuaded, and thus it submits to Christ as Lord. And, the believer leaves his life of sin behind him to follow Jesus in obedience.
Belief in Jesus is also present tense and it is continuous. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns, and our salvation is then complete. We must be believing in Jesus if we want eternal life with God.
Faith in Jesus Christ is also action. We must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. We must die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. We must daily take up our cross and follow (obey) Jesus (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; Rom 6:1-23).
Eternal life with God is not promised solely on a confession of Christ as Lord or a belief in Jesus’ existence and in what he did for us on that cross. Eternal life with God is promised on the basis of us, by faith in Jesus Christ, walking by the Spirit, and us not living to fulfill the lusts of our flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
Condemned or Saved?
John 3:17-18 ESV
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
One day Jesus is going to return to take his righteous ones to be with him for eternity and to condemn the unbelieving world to eternal damnation. That will take place at his second coming. It did not take place at his first coming.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that Jesus will not condemn people, or that he didn’t speak many words of condemnation when he lived on this earth. He did! It just means that the purpose of his first coming was to bring salvation to the world.
Jesus spoke many words of condemnation to people when he lived on this earth, especially to the Pharisees and to the other hypocritical religious leaders in the temple. But it wasn’t just to them, for when he shared the gospel and what it means to be a follower of him, he warned them of judgment if they did not repent of their sin and follow him in obedience.
And, salvation is not just forgiveness of sin. Salvation is deliverance out of slavery to sin, and it is living as slaves of God and of his righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.
And, again, belief in Jesus is not a feeling or a status, but it is a lifestyle of dying to sin and living to righteousness in the power of God.
So, if we are walking (living) according to our flesh (habitually, willfully), and we are not walking (living daily) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, then we stand condemned because of our unbelief.
He Comes to The Light
John 3:19-21 ESV
“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Jesus is the Light. The Light is truth. The Light is righteousness. The Light is life. Jesus, as the Light, came into the world. He took on human flesh. He walked this earth as fully God and fully human. He taught the truth. And, He called people to repentance and to obedient walks of faith in him.
As humans, we are born with sin natures. And, we all fall short of attaining God’s divine approval. But God revealed himself to all humankind through his created works, so that if anyone refuses to believe in him and to submit to him, they are without excuse. For, it isn’t as though they don’t know about God, but it is that they refuse to honor him as God (Rom 1:18-32).
So, rather than worshiping God and honoring him, they choose to exchange the glory of God for their idols, which can be vast in number. For anything that takes the place of God in our hearts, and that gets our passion and desire above him, and/or that leads us to deny him and to disobey him, is an idol.
So, why do people choose the darkness over the Light? It is because their deeds are evil. It is because they want to hold on to their sins, and they do not want to relinquish them. They want to continue in their addictive lifestyles, holding on to lust, immorality, adultery, lies and hate, rather than to love God and to love others.
For, if we practice wickedness, if it is our “go to,” and if we willfully choose to hold on to it, and to not let it go, but to continue in it, it is because we hate the light (truth, righteousness) and we hate the Light (Jesus Christ), and it is because the light exposes the works of darkness.
But praise be to God, Jesus Christ made a way for us to be free from this bondage to sin. He put sin to death on that cross so that, through faith in him, we would die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness.
So, those who are walking in this obedient faith in Jesus Christ are those who make righteousness and truth their practice by the power of God, so that it can be seen clearly that the works of the Spirit in their lives have been carried out by God and not by human flesh (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:14).
So, we need to be those who walk in the light and not in the darkness if we want to be saved from our sins and have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Tit 2:11-14; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8).
Knowing You Jesus
By Graham Kendrick
All I once held dear, built my life upon,
All this world reveres and wars to own;
All I once thought gain I have counted loss,
Spent and worthless now compared to this.
Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all, You’re the best,
You’re my joy, my righteousness,
And I love You Lord.
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