Lenten Devotional: March 9
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead f light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:16-21
These verses are central to the hope that Christians share—God so loves our world, and so loves each of us as individuals, that he sent His only Son to save our world, and thus save each one of us. We are saved when we open our hearts to faith in Christ and open ourselves to accepting God’s love. If we are blind to God’s love, or if we turn our backs to Him, we are indeed condemned—but not by God. We are condemned by our own actions to darkness and fear when we turn away from our faith.
These verses are not a simple promise that we shall have eternal life if we believe in Christ. Believing in Christ is far more than simply saying “I believe,” and the meaning of eternal life is probably incomprehensible to finite minds. Instead, these verses challenge us to live by the truth and let God and the world see the results of our faith.
We live in contentious times, with people denouncing and shouting at those with whom they disagree. We fail to truly listen to people, too easily dismissing perspectives different from our own. These verses are a reminder that we all share God’s love, and that inaction or fear allow evil and suffering into this world that God loves. John’s words challenge us to let our deeds and actions reflect our faith, and thereby bring the light of Christ to the world.