Thursday – December 1, 2016
Read: John 3:16-17
Focus: vs 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.”
Would any Advent devotional series be complete without using John 3:16? That is called a rhetorical question which means it doesn’t have to be answered because it is self-evident. This is a gift that must be received which in true Christmas tradition means it must be received and opened. In this particular case it also means that it must be acted on (believed in) to receive its full benefit of eternal life.
I do not remember ever going to Sunday school or church before the age of seven unless it happened during one of our rare visits to grandma and grandpa Trum’s farm (pronounced Troom). However, after moving to the country to live in the same house with them we all went to Sunday school and church practically from the first Sunday we arrived. Most times it meant a one mile walk but sometimes we caught a ride and for a while one of the pastors who served that little Baptist church would even pick up a number of us kids in the rural community where we lived, believe it or not he used a converted hearse. Uh, I mean converted to carry living passengers. After about three years of attending, I finally listened to my grandmother and invited God’s Son to come and live in my heart. I still had a lot to learn – still do – but I did receive God’s gift of His Son and as a result have been saved from my sin unto righteousness. The gift of His son led to my salvation.
The second verse of our scripture for today reminds us, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17) There are two thoughts presented here. The first is that the Son did not come to condemn the world (put your name in place of “world”). Some who call themselves Christians have over-emphasized the condemnation of the world. Their whole focus has been on the terrible state of those terrible “sinners” out there who are on their way to that proverbial hot place. While that is true it is not the emphasis presented here. Paul penned, “1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2) Second, we are reminded that salvation for the world (you) came through Jesus.