The following is a series of short exhortations, brief commentary and writings to convey thoughtful meditation on God's Word. I have chosen the Gospel of John as the subject. These articles will not run contiguously on this blog but peppered throughout and in the midst of other articles (though some might be posted consecutively). I pray that these will be a blessing and an edification for the saints.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It was at the fall of man that Adam and Eve were told by God Himself, that the "seed" of the woman would crush the serpent's head, and that the serpent would bruise the heel of this One who was to come (GEN 3:15). This declaration was no doubt heralded to all generations that was to come. So much so, that in the fallen state, people began to pervert the message and conceive of their own 'savior' which in turn spawned all sorts of Messiah-wanna be's among the religions of the world (typically, anti-Christ figures and vulgar replacements).
Yet if not for the LORD's own declaration, the religions of the world would never have come up with such a thought of God becoming man so that He could then save us from our sins. Religions of antiquity as well as religious thought as found in Liberalism have no need of a savior, as man is good enough on his own, that on his own merit he can 'save himself'.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ takes away any and all forms of pride and claims for self-achievement and self-glorification. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is based solely on the work accomplished by the LAMB of GOD and His achievement on the cross, so that all we must do is believe the Gospel to be saved. The proud will never bow before the Cross of Christ to seek salvation! I recall a bumper sticker that said, "I was born right the first time around!" - obviously dismissing the need to be "born again" JOHN 3:3; 1 PET 1:23.
Now we come to a central point: "believing" the Gospel. What does this entail? Mere intellectual assent? Adherence to a body of dogma, rituals, traditions? Living a life of doing good? We should look at that this word is in the Greek, and how it's used in the New Testament . . .
In the Greek the word is pisteuo, which means not merely to believe intellectually, but to "express confidence in someone or something, to entrust oneself to another". This is the sort of belief that surrenders one's very heart and life to, to dedicate one's being to. It separates those who say that they have faith, from those who prove it by their actions (JAMES 2:17-19).
For those who genuinely believe and express true faith, it is the express will of the Father that they produce the fruit of repentance, of righteousness as attained by salvation, of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (ACTS 26:20; EPH 5:9; JOHN 15:7-8).
GOD LOVES US SO MUCH, HE IS WILLING TO PARDON ALL OF OUR SINS THROUGH HIS SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST; NOT ONLY SO, BUT TO INSTILL AND GROW IN OUR LIVES THE BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS CHARACTERISTICS OF CHRIST AS SEEN BY THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT!
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
HE LOVES US ENOUGH AS A FALLEN RACE TO WARN US OF THE PERIL OF PERISHING! That word "perish" means to utterly ruin something to the point that it is destroyed without remedy; not in annihilation, but in loss of any value in it's entirety. This refers to the reality of hell.
There are those who claim that it's 'unloving' to preach and warn lost souls about "hell fire and brimstone" however I emphatically disagree. NOTHING is more loving than to warn those who are unaware of their peril and to seek their reclamation from ruin!
What would people think of a person if they had foreknowledge of the sinking of the Titanic and failed to try and warn the Captain of that doomed ship? Or even the authorities of terrorists who on SEPT 11, 2001 would send airliners into the World Trade Center in NYC?
Scripture records more warnings about hell - that is, gehenna or the lake of fire and "the second death" (REV 20:6) than it does about the wonders and glory of heaven! That is to a point: GOD's compassion for the lost due to His love for them! His love for all the world!
How does one measure the power of GOD? Just look at His creation!
How does one measure the knowledge of GOD? Look at the detail of a single living cell in its dizzying depths of complexity!
How does one measure the love of GOD?
Look at the Cross of Christ and Who hung there: the HOLY and ONLY Begotten (the ONE and ONLY) SON of GOD! Taking upon Himself our sins, and shedding His Holy and Precious Blood and accepting GOD's wrath in judgment against our sin at Calvary. Consider the power of GOD in raising Christ from the dead, with the motive of bringing everlasting life to those who will receive JESUS!
Tomorrow is RESURRECTION SUNDAY, and I have the opportunity to deliver this message, PARTS ONE and TWO (in abbreviated form), and it is my prayer that souls will come to know the LORD and receive GOD's TRUE LOVE!
NEXT TIME, we will look at JOHN 3:17-18 with a devotional entitled SAVING A CONDEMNED WORLD.