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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Think of a building that is extremely ancient; it's so dilapidated and ruined that even the frame of its infrastructure is verging on collapse. The only reasonable course of action would be to declare the building condemned, and then bring in a demolition crew to take it down, sweep away the rubble, and thereby making room for a new building that would prove useful and beneficial to the community.
The Human race because of Adam's fall, has become condemned - having inherited the sinful nature, this vile and ruinous state of existence has wrought in us such spiritual destruction, that the LORD in His Holiness could render no other just judgment than "condemned".
There are many that disparage the love of God, claiming it's not genuine, or volitional, but coercive and Self-serving. "What kind of God would hold the threat of hell over humanity, and promise to cast them there unless we love Him?" they would demand.
I'm afraid that they have the situation backwards: the fact of the matter is that we are condemned already, on the river to Gehenna, and eternal perdition, and that the grace and mercy of God is such that He extends His arm of salvation, to intervene and offer an escape from that terrible fate, through the LORD Jesus Christ the Savior of the world - all from the motive of Almighty love!
Others might protest by saying, "If He were such a loving God, He never would have allowed Adam to take the forbidden fruit in the first place; He never would have even provided the opportunity to begin with!"
Love must be genuine and volitional - if it is coerced in any way, it cannot possibly be true. Adam had undergone a test of allegiance: either resist the offer of Satan (i.e., the serpent) and remain true to the LORD, expressing his love for his Maker, or follow Satan in a revolt against God. If the test were to be a genuine one, the LORD would have to honor the choice that Adam made.
And yet, by allowing Adam to carry through with his decision, it put all of mankind in a position of utter helplessness with a total inability to save himself. This is where the love of God was made known in glorious fashion - by allowing humanity the decision to rebel and sin against Him, and thus, provide salvation by the only means possible:
For God Himself to come as a Man, and offer to take the punishment for our sins - ALL of our sins from ALL of humanity upon Himself. All that is required is genuine faith, trusting in Christ Jesus and the offering He made on our behalf.
2 COR 5:21
For he (God the Father) hath made him (Jesus, God the Son) to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Our sins are not only forgiven us through the LORD Jesus Christ, but by the Holy Spirit, He imparts to us His righteousness - both positionally, and practically. What is meant by 'positionally' is that, once a person is born again (JOHN 3:3,5; 1 PET 1:23), the full and complete righteousness of the sinless Son of God is attributed to him! So once a person repents and receives Christ, from that instant forward, the Father sees that person complete in Christ, wholly righteous even as His Son is!
Practical righteousness is that work of the Spirit in the lives of believers that steadily molds and shapes us, allowing the vitality of His grace to change us daily and become more like Jesus Christ, resembling His character in gradual and increasing degrees!
Some might protest by saying, "It can't be that easy! Just by believing in Christ, we can be assured of heaven for all eternity?"
The ease of this is intentional, because it was such a work of salvation that required no one less than God to accomplish, we humans could not dare to touch this work even with the greatest work of the noblest human being to have ever lived. Such a work would be utterly impossible for any of us, thus it's a work that the LORD had to accomplish all by Himself.
Unlike that old decrepit building that is doomed for demolition, the LORD in His tender mercies and compassion has sought to reach out to us, redeem us; not refurbish or renew our desperately wicked hearts (JERE 17:9) but to grant to us "new hearts" (EZEK 36:26) fashioned by the very breath of God! To grant to us new life, eternal life which was purchased by the most precious blood of Jesus Christ our LORD!
For those who refuse such salvation, they will continue on without interference on that ruinous river, on their way to perdition and eternal torment - the LORD God has done everything He could to secure our souls for heaven, and safe from hell, but the decision of where we would place our allegiances is ours and ours alone.
There is coming a Day when the LORD will come as Judge, and make the official pronouncement of condemnation, rendering just and holy vengeance on all who do not know God personally, and have disobeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ:
2 THESS 1:7-9
7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
Be assured, that on that Day, if we have never genuinely trusted in Christ, if as professing Christians we believed with lip service only, but have denied the LORD by our very lives and conduct, we will not be able to point over our shoulders and blame others for our lack. Each and every one of us will bear the responsibility alone for our decision in regards to Jesus and His Gospel.
We will stand before our Holy Judge, condemned for eternity, because our profession in Christ was a sham and did nothing to change our hearts and lives (LUKE 13:1-9) and as such, we will prove that our allegiance was never with God, but in ourselves, our sin and a faulty foundation upon the sand, and not on the Rock of salvation.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The next time we will cover JOHN 3:19-21 with a devotional entitled "Dark and Light - Hate and Love". Until then may the LORD truly keep us in His grace and peace, firmly upon the foundation that is Christ Himself!