This is part 2 of our blog series that is looking at the simple truth of the Gospel. If you missed part 1, Starting Point, be sure to check it out!
We began this series by noting that Jesus was God in human flesh. In Jesus, the Divine has come to Earth. And we noted that if this is true, then everything in your life must change. But why?
Let’s let Jesus answer this one for us. John 3:16-17 says,
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him (John 3:16-17).
Notice that Jesus’s coming has a direct connection with God’s love for you. In other words, Jesus left Heaven and came to Earth because of you (See Philippians 2). He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save the world. The coming of Jesus (God in a Bod) to Earth was because He loves You.
In my opinion, something as profound as the love of God deserves a response from the one receiving that love. When you experience the love of God, the One who is Supreme over all (see Colossians 1), your life must change. This is not just about God coming to Earth in Jesus (see part 1), but this is about realizing that God came to Earth in Jesus FOR YOU! His love for us was so deep and so vast, that He couldn’t stand to let us face eternal punishment for the sins we are all guilty of.
Which takes us into a deeper conversation that we will talk more about it Part 4. But here’s a preview: If God is just, how can He not punish sin? When someone commits a crime, somebody has to pay. At the same time, God claims to be love… If God is loving, how could He punish someone eternally because of sin? You see the dilemma?
Only in the coming and sacrifice of Jesus is this dilemma satisfied. Jesus took the punishment we deserved for our sin (thus paying for the crime), and at the same time, shows His love and mercy for us by being the substitutionary sacrifice on our behalf. On the cross, the justice and the love of God are BOTH displayed. And because of that, Jesus now says,
“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.
So where am I going with this?
Through the coming of Jesus into the world we see the love of God for humanity. Through Jesus (and only Jesus) we are given the free gift of eternal relationship with Him. If we believe in Him, judgment is done away with. However, when we choose to neglect Him, to not believe Him, to not re-order our lives and our loves around Him, we are choosing to love the darkness more than the light. And we place judgment on ourselves. Understand, it’s not Jesus or God condemning us — we condemn ourselves by refusing to love Him back. Jesus has already gone to great lengths to love us and welcome us into His Kingdom… .The question is, what will our response be?
In fact, that’s how Jesus finishes His speech. He concludes,
But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
In other words, when we believe in and place our trust, our hope, and our lives in the hands of Jesus, our lives change. We begin doing what is right by showcasing and living into that same type of self-sacrificial love that Jesus has shown us.
Jesus would later say that the greatest commandment (if you’re really living in the light) is to love God and love people. When we choose to believe Jesus is God, our lives change to be more like Him. And we begin to love others the way He has loved us. If you’re not working to imitate that love, have you truly believed in Him?
The bottom line this:
Jesus has gone to great lengths to love us and save us… You must to decide if you believe the story and if you are willing to trust Him fully.