Similar to the need for food and water, every human being desires to be loved and accepted. Have you ever met anyone who does not need the love and acceptance of others?
As newly-born children, we crave for the attention of our parents. As we grow, we want to be accepted into the circle of our friends. As a matter of fact, it is believed some anti-social behaviours like bullying and hooliganism could result from lack of parental love.
As we become older, we seek intimacy with that particular person and such may even culminate in marriage. How painful it is to suffer the rejection of a loved one.
As we begin to build our families, we want our children to love us in return. We want them to be there for us as we grow old and weak. And even at all these times, we still want to be accepted in our social circles: among friends, colleagues etc. I am yet to see a person who SINCERELY takes pleasure in being a social outcast.
A HIGHER LOVE
Whether or not we accept it, we also desire to be loved and accepted by God. Many religious activities and moral observance are usually done in a bid to win Gods favour. Even when we choose to neglect what we believe are His standards in order for us to please ourselves, a part of us still knows that we need God. When all the chips are down, we want to be assured that God loves and accepts us.
I have really good news for you: GOD LOVES YOU, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. Yes, regardless of your religious activities or way of life, God loves you. He doesn’t need you to do anything to earn His love or to win His favour. He already loves you and has demonstrated that He does.
Now I know that this may sound a little difficult to believe, but let us take a look at what Gods Word has to say: ‘For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.’ (John 3:16&17, New Living Translation)
NO ONE IS LEFT OUT
God loves the world, which includes you and everybody else in the world. I’m sure that you know that the world comprises all sorts of people: good, bad, pretty, ugly etc. God loves us all. Now because He loves us, He does not want any of us to perish. God’s love is not reserved for a set of religious or morally upright people. Listen to what His Word says: ‘When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. BUT GOD SHOWED HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US BY SENDING CHRIST TO DIE FOR US WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS.’ (Romans 5:6-8, New Living Translation).
WILL NOT PERISH?
Probably you’re wondering: why would I have perished in the first place? You see, since the disobedience of our first parents (Adam and Eve), we all inherited both the nature and the consequence of sin. See how the Bible puts it: ‘When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adams sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned’ (Romans 5:12; NLT). When Adam sinned, SIN ENTERED THE WORLD; his disobedience gave entrance to sin into the world. From that time on, everyone born was born with the nature of sin and are hence SINNERS. No one is an exception to this: ‘For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of Gods glorious standard.’ (Romans 3:23; NLT).
What is the result of sin entering the world? Well, one obvious result is that the world is full of sin and everyone commits acts of sin. I am yet to come across a person who claims to have never done anything wrong (sinful) since he/she was born. But even if anyone wishes to claim such, the verdict of God’s Word remains: EVERYONE HAS SINNED. And sin has its consequence: death, separation from the life of God. ‘For the wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6:23a, NLT). ‘Adams sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned’ (Romans 5:12b). What this means is that all of us are naturally cut off from the life of God and live under the wrath and judgment of God. God is holy, nothing sinful can be found in Him. He is just, He cannot leave sin unpunished. This is why we all deserved to perish.
WHAT MANNER OF LOVE?
However, because He loves us, God does not want us to perish. But sin must be punished. And so God provides us with a way out. His way out was by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die and pay the price for our sins. Jesus is divine in nature. He came to earth in human flesh but never committed a single sin. Yet God sent Him to die for the sins of the whole world. For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Imagine that you had a debt to pay but had no money. Yet someone who did not owe any money paid the debt on your behalf. That is what God sent Jesus to do for you and me. He did this because He loves us. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for ones friends. (John 15:13, NLT)
TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT!
Now if someone paid your debt for you, do you still have to pay? Certainly not! However, you could decide to reject the goodwill shown to you. Jesus died so that we would no longer need to bear the guilt and punishment of our sins. He died so that we might live. ‘Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God’ (1Peter 3:18a, NLT).
Even though Jesus died for the sins of the world, not everyone will be a beneficiary of His death. Let us look again at the verse we first considered: so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Everyone who believes in Him will not perish. Those who do not believe in Him will bear the consequences of sin-separation from the life of God and eternal damnation in hell. They will PERISH. This is what we all deserved, but because He loves us, God sent Jesus to pay the price in our stead. But every gift has to be received. God has already given us this gift of not perishing by sending His Son, but we must accept (believe in) His Son to enjoy this benefit. We must accept what God has freely given us. ‘He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God’. (John1:10-12, NLT).
The truth is that not everybody will accept God’s gift to humanity. Not everybody will accept Jesus Christ as being Gods Son and the saviour of the world. Many will reject who He claims to be. But ALL who receive Him as Gods Son and the one who died for their sins will receive His gift of eternal life. The Bible states: ‘There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son’. (John 3:18, NLT). One of Jesus earthly companions penned down the following words: ‘The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name’ (John 20:30-31, NLT)
God loves you and does not want you to perish. He has made a provision for you to enjoy His gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Will you embrace this today?
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