Closing the Gap 9.13.18

By September 13, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 4

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

Reflect:

John 3:16 is arguably the most famous verse in the Bible.  It is seen as a sort of universal “feel good” verse, “For God so loved…he gave.”  However, what is often missed is the conditional nature of the promise and the dire outcome for not fulfilling the condition.  The condition is “whoever believes.” You see this prerequisite several times in these three verses. “Believe” is not merely acknowledging the existence of Jesus; it is the act of placing one’s faith (confidence) in him.  It is the transferring of trust from self to Christ alone for salvation. The outcome for the one who does trust Christ is a restored relationship with God. The outcome for this restored relationship with God has both temporal and eternal implications.  The one who truly believes enters now into a different kind of life which also extends past this life into eternity. This different kind of life is a life as God has designed it to be lived. It is a life in the kingdom which Christ often referred to that involves all the benefits of living under a good, loving, and powerful king.  The outcome for one who rejects Christ’s offer is that person will remain where they are in relationship to the king and his kingdom. They will live and die outside the reign of the king and outside the realm of his kind of life. This condemnation, Jesus said, is something they are already experiencing, but which they can escape if they will trust him.  How do you reconcile “God so loved the world” with “whoever does not believe stands condemned already”? How can God love the world (people) and not save them all? Consider also the reality that God clearly values choice and personal belief. There is no real relationship, if there is no real choice. Jesus said that God did not send him to condemn the world, but to save it.  The purpose of God in Christ is to save, but in order to access that salvation, people must believe. There are many questions that we have and some have answers now and some will remain a mystery. But what we do know now is what Christ has said and what he has done. He has said people must believe and he has died in order that people might be saved. Now it remains for us to take him at his word and deed and faithfully make what he has said and done known to others.  Do not let your questions keep you sidelined. You know enough to make the gospel known, now will you do so?

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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