As we prepare to observe the events of Holy Week culminating with the celebration of resurrection Sunday, one of the scriptures that many Christians will focus on during this season is 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.
It is important that when we read the 3rd chapter of John that we remember the words that come immediately after John 3:16
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.
John 3:16 helps us to understand that God loved his creation so much that he gave all that he had to give so that creation could be redeemed. He loved humanity, the greatest of his creation so much that he gave us an opportunity for salvation through Jesus. To gain a greater understanding of the reason for this sacrifice we must go beyond 3:16 and look at 3:17-18. Verses 17-18 help us to further understand the depth of Gods love. It also helps us to understand the choice that every human being must make. These verses show us that there is no condemnation from God. He did not send Jesus to condemn us. He sent Jesus to save us. Isn’t it wonderful to know that we matter to God? Isn’t it a joy to know that God does not seek to condemn us.
The question that comes to mind for me is, how will condemnation come? We know that when Jesus returns there will be a time of judgment and during that time of judgment some people will be condemned, however; the text says that Jesus did not come to condemn but to save. If this is so Jesus, we are saying to God, I love you, thank you for the sacrifice that you made for me, I want to spend eternity with you. If we do not choose Jesus, we are telling God that we do not believe in his sacrifice and we do not want to be with him. The bottom line is God wants us to be saved and he gave us a way to be saved if we choose to take it. If condemnation comes to us it is not because God condemned us, it is because we condemned ourselves through the choice that we made.