In His great omnipotence, God knew that we, His Creation, would be a humanity of sinners. He knew that we would eventually want to go our own way without Him. But in His great love for us, His Creation, God already had a plan for how we could be restored into a holy relationship with Him once again. There was only one way to accomplish this, and that way was through His Son, Jesus Christ. On earth, Jesus was God in the flesh who walked around this earth showing His love for His creation in so many ways, from healings to predictions of the future of mankind. Jesus showed us that God wanted to restore us back into a right relationship with Him. Jesus lived a totally sinless life, even though He was tempted in every way that we are every day, maybe more. But He never sinned by giving into those temptations. He loved God, His Father, so much that He obeyed God at every step of His life, especially when it came to hang on a cross for criminals. Only a sinless, blameless man could take upon Himself the sins of the world. When Jesus died and was buried, He took all of our sins with Him forever -- past, present, and future sins -- so that we could be reconciled to God and not have to suffer under sin's power, guilt, and condemnation.
If I Believe In Jesus I Will Have Eternal Life
The most famous verse in all of the Bible is the most quoted and seen verse in all the world. Go to any sporting event and you can't miss it. At least one fan has it written on a sign. Even though he only writes down the Bible book, chapter, and verse on the sign, most people know what the verse says. It is the one verse that most Christians will point you to when you ask about eternal life and why we as Christians believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. Jesus is the only man to ever say anything like this. He was bold in His statement that He is the only way to God.
John 3:16-17: "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. (17)For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him" (New International Version).
John 3:16-17 is the scripture that all the world needs to hear. To this day, people believe that there are many ways to God and Heaven. Many will argue that every "religion" is correct and that it is presumptuous for anyone to say that there is only one way to God. I won't go into any debate here about who is right or wrong, but for me and a 2 billion other people, the Bible is the Word of God and is therefore the only true source about anything God, Jesus, Heaven, or Hell.
Also, many people believe that God is a tyrant who doesn't want anyone on earth to have anything good -- especially a good time. Some believe that God is mad at us and wants nothing more than to do away with us. If that were true, I wouldn't be here writing these words, and you wouldn't be reading them, for He would have smited us a long, long time ago.
Some believe that God is a grandfatherly figure who will forgive all of our sins and let us all -- the entirety of humanity -- into Heaven at the end of the world. They say that He knows that we are sinners and that it's not our fault that Adam and Eve messed up and brought all of this sin into the world. We're just trying to deal with the consequences of their sin. Why should I be held responsible for what they did thousands of years ago?
That's just a couple of the ways that people see God. But, for our purposes here, we are going to look at God in the way that He really is, and how He wants to be seen -- and that is as a God of love who cares very much about His creation, and the people He has placed in it. "For God so loved the world" means the entire universe and everything in it. Every little atom is loved by God, the same as you would love your child, or even a painting that you had created by your own hand. God loves Jesus as much as He loves you and me, yet He let Jesus die on the cross so that He could restore our relationship with Him. A relationship that was damaged by the sin of Adam and Eve, and, yes, our own continuing sin, as well.
Jesus did the hard part when He allowed Himself to be crucified and hung on a cross by nails in His hands and feet. God did all the work to restore us back to righteousness and left us the easy part. All we need to do is to believe that Jesus was sent by God, to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to believe that Jesus is the only true Savior of the World, to believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, to believe that only Jesus can forgive us our sins, and to believe that we cannot do anything ourselves to gain any of this on our own.
God sent Jesus here to save the world, not condemn it. God did that once with the flood in Noah's day, but is something He promised He would never do again (see below).
God loves you so much that He will pursue you until He has you back in the family where you belong. Can you feel Him chasing you know?
God Sent Jesus To Be My Sacrifice So I Could Be Reconciled Back To Him
Romans 3:25-26 tells us that "God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life's blood, so that by faith in Him we could come to God. And God did this to show that in the past He was right to be patient and forgive sinners. (26)This also shows that God is right when He accepts people who have faith in Jesus" (Contemporary English Version -- The Promise).
When the scripture says that God "sent" Jesus to be our sacrifice, He did not send Jesus against His will. Jesus came willingly, leaving His Heavenly throne and all the trappings of a King, and was willing to come and die for us long before we were even created. The word "sent" here means that God sent Jesus at the right and proper time for Him to come. God had already planned to send Jesus before we were created because God knew that He was going to give us free will, and that we would abuse that free will and would disobey Him in sin. But God had a time and place picked out for when Jesus would make the biggest impact on humanity. Sure, it seemed as if Jesus died alone and that His mission had failed, but because of the sacrifice of His life at the proper time in history, we today can see the impact He had on humanity. 2000 years later, we still celebrate and worship Jesus as the Son of God.
When Jesus willingly shed His blood, He made a way for us to come to God, and through faith in His Son, Jesus, be forgiven of our sins. In the past, even today, people everywhere are crying out for justice from God. They wish that He would destroy anyone who does evil, but, since that is all of us, God would have to destroy us all. He did it once with a flood, but promised never to do it again. As it says in Genesis 9:11-16: "I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be cut off by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (12)And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: (13)I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. (14)Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, (15)I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. (16)Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth”(New International Version).
Now imagine if God did that, how would you feel if you asked God for one more chance and He said "No?" What if God said that we were all going to Hell and there was no way to change His mind? We would think that He was unjust and cruel. But God is very just and loving. By sending Jesus to take on Himself all of our sins and then to die on a cross taking all of our sins with Him to the grave, God showed us that He has the right to wait as long as He wants to, to say enough is enough. His patience knows no boundaries. It is because of His great patience that we are all still alive, and the Earth is still floating in space. It is because of His great patience that we stiill have a chance to accept Jesus as His Son (but God will not wait forever). God wants to forgive everybody, but as we saw in John 3:16-17, we have to ask for His forgiveness and believe that Jesus in His Son and our Savior from death.
Next time we will discuss what Jesus' death means for sinners.
Please let me know how any of this is having an impact on your life. Comments are most welcome. Don't be shy. Tell me what you really think. Testimonies are especially welcomed. See Ya!
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