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Salvation Is Offered But Must Be Received

John 3:17-18
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (NIVUK)

Despite all the wickedness in the world, God loves everybody (John 3:16).  That is why He sent Jesus.  The arrival of Jesus, His life and ministry, was not to condemn people who were wicked, but to enable wicked people to be saved.  Although God will not tolerate sin, He has compassion on every sinner and wants everyone to turn from their self-centred ways and be saved (2 Peter 3:9).

When Jesus died, He accepted responsibility for all our sin and was punished in our place.  He was our substitute (Isaiah 53:5-6).  He died so that we can have a relationship with God for ever.  “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body …” (1 Peter 3:18).  It is His death that changes believers from enemies to friends of God because the offensive barrier of their sin has been removed (Colossians 1:21-23).

God is not sentimental.  He knows the truth about each of us; He knows how self-obsessed we are.  He has provided the only way to be released from condemnation by trusting in God’s one and only Son.  Nobody is born with faith in Christ; we are all born in sin (Psalm 51:5), and so sinfulness is natural in every human being (Romans 3:23).  Therefore, everybody in the world is under God’s wrath until they trust in Jesus (Colossians 3:5-6).  Today’s verses are important because they remind us that those who do nothing about Christ, remain under God’s wrath and are already condemned.  However, those who turn to Jesus Christ in repentance and faith are saved (Romans 10:13).

There are two sorts of people in this world: those who have not believed in Jesus, who are already condemned, and those who have believed in Jesus (trusting that their sin was condemned in Christ when He died on the cross).  That is true whatever culture, education or religious background they have come from. Jesus did not recommend that people tried harder to be good, gave more to the poor, or pray more energetically: He simply told Nicodemus that He must be born again (John 3:7).  That is true for everybody.  So, if you know you are saved, then you need to see people through different, non-worldly eyes (2 Corinthians 5:16).  Seeing them as God sees them and knowing that lost people matter to God, is the springboard for evangelism.  All those who are outside of Christ need to come to Him while there is time, and often their best way of knowing, is by you telling them!  Perhaps start by showing them www.crosscheck.org.uk.

God of truth and love. I am glad that You see everything as it truly is; that You condemn sin, but choose to save sinners who trust Jesus. I am sorry for ignoring the perilous condition of my friends and colleagues forgetting that You love them and want to release them from all condemnation - if only they will put their trust in Christ. Please help me to see people through Your eyes, to love people for Your sake and explain the Gospel to all who will listen. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams