Love. Isn’t that the great subject that floats out there in front of us and never seems to go away. To be loved is probably the most innate and basic of human needs. Nobody is exempt from its yearning. We long for people to love us in a sincere unconditional manner. But, someone to love us is just part of the longing. To have a God that loves us….isn’t that one of the big life questions? Is there a God and how does He view me? Do I have any worth? Does being loved somehow make me worthy or unworthy, damaged or undamaged? The Bible speaks to the subject of love in many places. Perhaps, the most familiar and the simplest statement occurs in this passage of John. Lets take a look.
John 3:16-18 (CSB)
16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Anyone who believes in him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
God reaches out to the world in love. How? By sending His Son. What then is the outcome? We would have eternal life. We pass from death to life.
I would like us to think about these verses in reverse for a minute. First, in verse 18 we find out that we are/were all condemned. There is a time before belief for all of us. God sent His Son to remedy this problem. This is why Jesus did not come to condemn. We stand condemned prior to His coming in our unbelief. Jesus came so that we would live rather than die. God did the work and paid the price for our eternal life. Jesus went to the cross. We must only believe.
What does it mean to believe? We have a very watered down view of belief in our culture. It is my opinion that believing in Jesus requires a few things of us. First we do not get to redefine Him to our liking and then believe in that Jesus. We must accept Him as He presented Himself. Second, believing is not just an good feeling or intellectual acknowledgement of some ideas. Believing requires us to behave in a way that is consistent with that belief. It accepts that what we believe is true. If it is true, then our lives must be built on that worldview. Finally, believing is trust. We do not really believe if we do not trust Him enough to build our lives on Him. I sometimes believe, but fail to trust by taking over and exerting my strength to build outcomes, rather than trusting Him.
The ultimate manifestation of the love of God is that He will not leave us to our own self-destruction. He does not give us a pathway to climb out of our state death and despair. He does the work for us. But, it is not just work, it is the very giving of Himself in an ultimate way. Jesus goes to death on the cross, not because of His sin but because of ours. The end result of this for us is eternal life. This eternal life is a life lived in relationship with Him. It is not just an act of love that gets from death to life. It is an continual relationship with Him that is one of love.
Will you accept and respond to this offer of love? Do you believe? Do you believe in Him as He has presented Himself? Do you trust Him? Are you willing to stand on Him as the foundation of your life? I feel it is helpful for us to periodically take inventory of our foundation and make the adjustments that are necessary.