“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 he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
Because we are all sinners and fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23), we are condemned to eternal punishment and separation from God from the start. While this sounds like a really unfair and cruel way for God to position us within this world, the fact of the matter is that our own sin and the sin of humankind got us here… but He has given us a way out.
I think both you and I can fully admit that we are neither holy, perfect, nor sinless. God on the other hand IS holy, perfect, and sinless. Thus those who don’t meet the standards of God, can NOT be in fellowship with Him. Since God is entirely just, then by His very nature, He must justly give punishment for sin, otherwise sin would have no penalty, and justice in itself would not exist.
Anyone who has any ounce of self-awareness knows that they have sinned at some point in their life, and will undoubtedly sin again. A single sin at any point of our life already disqualifies us from fellowship with God. Add that to the fact that we were already born in “original sin” inherited due to Adam and Eve, and it seems as if we literally have no hope…
But rejoice, because we have hope in Jesus!
When we look at the verses in John 3:16-18, we see how simple and available God’s salvation plan is for all of humanity. To bridge the chasm of separation between us and our Creator that is caused by sin, something (or rather someOne) needs to stand in exchange for our unrighteousness. Jesus offers that exchange by His sacrifice on the cross, and we simply need to accept God’s free gift of grace through Jesus, and genuinely believe in Him through faith. Our genuine faith leads to genuine belief which leads to a life of genuine obedience as a result of genuine salvation!
Jesus wasn’t sent to this world to condemn us, but to save us from ourselves. He was the sacrificial exchange for the penalty of our sin. Did He have to do that? Absolutely not. But He did it because He LOVES us despite who we are, despite our imperfections, and despite our sin. Through Jesus we can have eternal life and fellowship with a holy and perfect God, even though we don’t deserve it and in no way can ever earn it. That my friends, is the Gospel!
Bottom line is that God gave us the only way to overcome sin and eternal death, and that is through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. While it clearly wasn’t easy for Him to suffer on our behalf, He made a clear path for us to be justified and made righteous that we can live in fellowship with Him.
Thank you Jesus for making that possible, and for saving me from myself!
[From January 3, 2019]