Monday, February 23, 2015

The Heart of the Gospel

John 3:16 is the Gospel in a nutshell! Here God demonstrates what true love is. He loves us so much that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place for our sins and punishment. God loves everyone and His salvation is available to everyone but not everyone will be saved. Only those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior will be saved. "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." (Romans 10:9-10)  Salvation's cause is God's love for us. Salvation's cost is the death of Jesus on the cross. Salvation's condition is through faith alone in the finished redemptive work of Christ. Salvation's consequence is eternal life in Heaven with Him. 

Did you know that John 3:16 is the most searched Bible verse? It's probably also the most memorized Bible verse. May we never become so familiar with it that we take it for granted and forget its significance. Let us reflect upon John 3:16, the heart of the Gospel!
"For God... the greatest Lover

so loved... the greatest degree
the world... the greatest company
that He gave... the greatest act
His only begotten Son... the greatest Gift
that whoever... the greatest opportunity
believes... the greatest simplicity
in Him... the greatest attraction
should not perish... the greatest promise
but... the greatest difference
have... the greatest certainty
everlasting life... the greatest possession"
(Unknown)

"It was the opinion of the Jews that the Gentiles, whom they often term the world, עלמה olmah, and העולם אומות omoth haolam, nations of the world, were to be destroyed in the days of the Messiah. Christ corrects this false opinion; and teaches here a contrary doctrine. God, by giving his Son, and publishing his design in giving him, shows that he purposes the salvation, not the destruction, of the world - the Gentile people: nevertheless, those who will not receive the salvation he had provided for them, whether Jews or Gentiles, must necessarily perish; for this plain reason, There is but one remedy, and they refuse to apply it." (Adam Clarke) "He is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins: and not only for ours (Jews'), but also for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2)

Even though we all deserve God's wrath and condemnation, God our Savior "wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9b). The purpose of the Messiah’s mission is not to judge or condemn, but to offer the grace of the Gospel, salvation, and eternal life, to people in the world. At His first coming, Christ came to save the world. When He comes again, He will come in judgment upon those who refuse His offer of salvation. Because of God's amazing love, kindness, grace, mercy, and patience, we are offered a pardon and the sentence of condemnation has been delayed. Condemnation is a result of rejecting Jesus (as stated in the next verse, John 3:18b: "Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son").

- Prayer: Father, thank Your for Your amazing love and gracious gift of salvation through Jesus Christ! Thank You for the promise of eternal life with You in Heaven! Please help me to have a heart like Yours that loves everyone and wants everyone to be saved. Please make me a bold witness ready to share the Gospel with anyone who needs to hear. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.



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