From Pastor Girardin...
John 3:16 tells us that God loved the world. If we were to look at love the way the world does, in the current day, the rest of the verse would never occur. Nothing else needs to be said. God loved the world. God loved us, so He left us alone - free to revel in sin and act as we so choose. This kind of love has a difficult aspect that nobody really wants to consider, but is a very real reality. This kind of love breeds chaos. This kind of love takes God from His throne and instead places our own sinful will upon it so that we are free to do what we want. God loves the world, so He abdicates everything to us. We become the masters of our own destiny... except that never happens.
If John 3:16 were to be left with God loved the world, we want to think of things the way it was just painted. The simple reality is that we don't ascend to the throne. We don't become masters of what we do. We don't come to a point that we can agree with the ancient idea, repeated through the Enlightenment, that mankind has this delightful, little, divine spark. It's a spark that we can fan and in doing so, we become good people. As mankind accepts this idea, we hear the lie of Satan in Genesis- did God really say that? If you eat that fruit, you will become like God... While we want to come to this place, we instead come to understand something far more nefarious. We may be allowed to do as we wish, but the reality is that while we have rejected God, and in so doing rejected His Christ, we cast off the easy burden of belief in Jesus to place something far heavier upon ourselves. We place the chains of sin upon us. We allow those hateful masters death and the devil to reign over us. Is this really any kind of love? Is it really loving someone to leave them stuck in this kind of self-imposed situation?
Christ, we cast off the easy burden of belief in Jesus to place something far heavier upon ourselves. We place the chains of sin upon us. We allow those hateful masters death and the devil to reign over us. Is this really any kind of love? Is it really loving someone to leave them stuck in this kind of self-imposed situation?
John 3:16 doesn't end with the simple phrase God loved the world. Instead, if you know the text, it continues. He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. This is love. This is true love. This is loving us so much that God looks at us in the slavery of sin. God looks at us as we lie dead in trespasses and instead of saying I love you, best of luck; God says I love you so much I'm going to take care of your unrighteousness. I personally will take it upon Myself to fix my creations problem. God Himself sends His Son Jesus Christ for us and as Jesus comes to us, we see true love. We see a love that cares so much for us that Jesus tells us, calls us, commands us to repent. Jesus comes to us in our sickness and brings health. Jesus lives among us and meets the command of God Himself. Where death reigned, Jesus releases those bonds. We aren't given best of luck and a tacit agreement to whatever. Instead, we are given the answer to the problem. We are given hope in hopelessness. We are given life where death reigned. This is true love. This is the kind of love that is modeled to us by Jesus Christ.
During the month of February, we will celebrate Valentine's Day. People will do all kinds of things. For myself, I'll try to come up with something romantic for Heather. As I write this, I have no real clue what it will be. I am certain she deserves more than whatever it is that will be put together. For my likely failure that I point out, I point to Jesus never failing. The Father sent Him on His course. We take solace in knowing that while God loved the world, He did absolutely everything that He possibly could. God did not try to romance mankind. He saved us. He didn't try to make us feel good, He identified our problem and made it right. God Himself didn't do what we wanted, but instead did what we needed - even at incredible expense to Himself.
As you prepare for Valentine's Day, whether it be for a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, or whomever it might be keep this reality in mind; God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. God gives us the greatest, best gift ever. God the Father gives us Jesus, who offered Himself and He gives us everything. Jesus gives us the best gifts. He gives us His good works as ours. He gives us His righteousness as ours. Jesus gives us the crown of life that we might be with Him forever. That is something to contemplate as we look at Valentine's Day. This how much God loves us. Go and love your spouse, your kids, your parents, and your neighbors the way God loves us in Jesus Christ.Amen.
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