Thursday, March 6, 2008

Words of Encouragement

“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. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." – John 3:16-21

What Jesus’ Gift Brings. Love. Image if you will that you have done a crime punishable by death. You stand before the judge awaiting your sentence. Someone steps up to speak. The person that steps up to speak is the person that you wronged. What they say to the judge astonishes you. They tell the judge that they will take you punishment of death.

Or what if you had a debt that was over a trillion dollars. There was no way you could pay it. You owed it and punishment for not being able to pay it was coming soon (in ancient times, you were put in prison or your family until you could pay off the debt). Yet to your surprise the one you owe the debt to says, I’ll pay the debt in full.

These two attempts really cannot explain the fullest of what we were forgiven of when Jesus stepped in to take on our sins. When he took our sins on himself he paid the penalty for our crimes and he paid the debt we could not fulfill.

God loves mankind so much, that he sent his son to die for you and I. All he requires from us is the belief in his plan. We have to believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father. We cannot try to make our own way, decide our own plan of salvation because there is no other way other than through Jesus Christ.

The message in the scripture is clear. If you do not accept the love of God you are in fact condemning yourself. I’ve heard many a person say, God is love so he wouldn’t send anyone to hell. The truth in that statement is this, because God wishes none to perish, he made a way of escape. However, he will not force you or I to take it. If we decide to miss the avenue of escape it is in fact our own foolishness that sends us to hell, not God. The scripture tells us that the verdict is this; some do not come to the light because they do not want their deeds exposed.

Yet, let us not be fooled. Even if we try to hide our deeds in darkness, there still comes a time when the light will expose that which we do. It would be better, however that we allow God to remove the darkness so that we can live in the light than to be eternally engulfed in darkness and miss heaven. To miss heaven is what we would not want to do. To miss heaven means when you stand before the judgment seat of God in that moment I believe you will see a fuller understanding of God to quickly have it removed. The real punishment of hell is you will forever remember that moment when you were exposed to the fullness of God’s love and to know eternally you will never have it again. If that isn’t hell, I don’t know what is.

Today, I pray for us to really meditate on God’s love. God’s love is freely given to us all; let us not reject God’s love. I pray that we would examine all our deeds so that they will be done in the light so that it can plainly be seen we do all things through Christ.