From The Heart

Publish date: 02/22/1998

Foundation Scripture:  John 3: 14 – 21   (Amp)

14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of man be lifted up [on the cross],

15 In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever!

16 For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world, that He even gave up his only begotten (unique) Son, that who ever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.

17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

18 He who believes on Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgement; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation – he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.] 

19 The basis of the judgement (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.

20 For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.

21 But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light, so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are – wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God’s help, in dependence upon Him].

The Gospel is a simple message, but it is way too simple for some people. People try to make it complicated. They labor under the mistaken belief that it cannot possibly be so easy. So they try to make it harder, they try to create rules and regulations for people to keep in order to earn God’s favor.

The bottom line of the Gospel is this – the world is under a sentence of judgement already and Jesus came to lift that sentence. The devil would like us to believe that God loves sending people to hell and that He has made it very hard to get to Heaven. The lie is that God is not a fun ‘guy’, but the devil is a fun guy. People declare that they would rather go to hell and party with the devil, than be in boring, restrictive heaven. Or they believe that there is no hell and no judgement, that we all go to heaven because of our good works and that any religion is right because it is the same God that we all worship.

Well, there is only one true God - “I AM THAT I AM”. He has testified through the ages to His own existence and His plan for man. If we do not serve or worship Him the way He tells us to – not the way mere men tell us to – then we are not worshipping Him at all. The truth is that this earth was once filled with His presence and it was a paradise. The liar, the devil, deceived man and caused him to sin and to lose the presence of God and without God’s divine intervention, we were all doomed to eternal hell. Jesus came to save us from the destiny we were headed for. He came to change our destiny, to give us the opportunity to come back into the presence of God for all eternity.

Jesus did not come to judge us - because we were already judged. He came to remove the sentence of judgement and allow us to live as free men. If men die and go to hell it is because they have chosen their own sentence, not because God has willed it for them. God’s will for us is that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).