Friday - Spiritual Growth
(original post 4/20/12)
I am sure most of you have at least heard the words of John 3:16 - " For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." It is probably the first verse that all kids have to learn in Sunday School.
Recently I was watching Joyce Meyers' TV show and she read John 3:16 from the Amplified Bible, which she always uses. I like this version even better.
Amplified Bible (AMP)
16For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
I think that first version I quoted does not fully convey the thoughts and ideas that the Amplified Bible does. Isn't it comforting to read that God SO GREATLY loved and DEARLY PRIZED the world that He would EVEN give up His only beloved and unique Son. And our response to that love should be not only to believe in that Son, but to trust in Him, to cling to Him, and to rely on Him. That is such an awesome picture! And when we do that, we will not perish. In my childlike mind I thought the word perish simply meant to die. But it is more than that. According to the definition of the word which is in the brackets, to perish means to come to destruction, be lost. So you don't just die, you are destroyed. That is not a pleasant thought, is it? I don't think I like those consequences for not believing. But, by believing we have eternal and everlasing life.
The verse that follows is often forgotten, but is so important to add to this statement of truth.
17For 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.
If you know anything about Jesus' life while on the earth, I think you find that Jesus did not reject anyone who came to Him, did not condemn anyone or pass sentence on anyone. He did tell people the truth about themselves and that often hurt. Truth can hurt, can't it? When someone tells us the truth about ourselves, we often don't want to hear it. It makes us very uncomfortable because we don't want to face our mistakes, or faults. We don't want to admit even to ourselves that we don't do things right, but Jesus makes us face them. Then we must also remember that everything Jesus does is done with love and compassion. So Jesus did not come to judge us, but to show us the way to salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. Safe and sound. How comforting is it to be wrapped in the arms of Jesus? Those arms that were once nailed to a cross because of me, and yet -- He still wants to wrap me up in His love.
(please excuse the format at the top. I wasn't able to change it for some reason.)