Wednesday, March 14, 2012

For God sent His Son NOT to condemn!

For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:17 HCSB).

I sometimes wonder if somehow I found a different God through the experiences in my life. John 3:16 (“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life”) is the beacon light for Christians, but how often I have wished that John 3:17 automatically accompanied this grand verse. I fear (oops, there’s the operative word!) that our conception of God is just that, condemnation. Especially for those of us who were cursed with an unkind authority figure in our lives (parent, spouse, teacher, whoever) who did a lot of condemning, this verse becomes a mantle of comfort for us. The first time I read this verse I felt the unconditional love that we all need. Imagine, the Son of God coming to this earth not to condemn, but to love us and to give us salvation! Think about that.

Another favorite passage is the one where Jesus simply looks at Peter and Peter is reduced to tears. Peter denied his Lord not once but three times, but we have overlooked what Jesus did for Peter: "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter" (Luke 22:61). What a look of love! It was then that Peter remembered Jesus telling him that he would betray Him. At the same time that He warned Peter of his impending betrayal He also told him: "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:31,32). There is something so touching about this passage! Jesus prays for us that we may not fail; that we may present His love to others, not His condemnation. We have enough friends and relatives to do that!

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