Thursday, December 29, 2011


“God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son, so that all who believe in him may not perish, but may have eternal life.” John 3: 16

Perhaps you have seen the unmistakable banner held aloft in the crowd behind the end zone as the kicker tacks on the extra point after a touchdown. Or maybe you saw a bumper sticker on the back of the car in front of you while you were stuck in traffic. Then again, maybe you were handed a Bible tract on the streets of your downtown by a well-meaning Christian trying to spread the basic Gospel message on a warm Spring afternoon. John 3: 16. One of the most famous and often-advertised verses of the entire Scriptures and one that many people know by heart. The basic message of God’s rescue plan in a succinct sentence; the Gospel in a nutshell. It’s no wonder that this verse is used during the Christmas season because it was for this, for love of US, that God became an infant and was born of the Virgin Mary. It was for love of US that He humbled Himself and became one of US in order to save us. It was for love of US that He healed the sick and cast out demons from the afflicted. It was for love of US that He subjected Himself to obedience to the Father’s will and suffered and died at the hands of His own creation so that we might be with Him forever in heaven.

If we believe.

If we believe. And this is the crucial point. We live in a cynical and sarcastic world. We are surrounded by hypocrisy, arrogance, confusion and doubt. But what will convince someone, in the end and to the heart, of the reality of God and His love for them? Will it take a miracle? How about good preaching? If we win an argument or a debate with an atheist? No. What will convince the majority of unbelieving people to believe in God is when they see those of us who do believe living that way. So a guy holds up a John 3:16 banner at a football game, while at the same time gets drunk at the game. So the person driving the car in front of you has a John 3:16 bumper sticker, but then flips someone the bird when they cut in front of her. So the sidewalk evangelist hands out tracts all day while condemning and judging anyone that does not take a tract. Is it harder to hold up a banner, or glue on a bumper sticker or hand out a tract, or is it harder to truly LOVE others as God loves them?

Once upon a time a Hindu government official from Indian remarked that if all Christians were like Mother Teresa, then there would be no more Hindus. Presumably he meant that if all Christians lived out their beliefs with such love as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that every Hindu would convert to Christianity. All of us sin and fall and thanks be to God for His limitless mercy. But we must realize that WE are the only Gospel someone might read today. WE might be the only Jesus someone encounters today. WE might be the only love that someone experiences today. And this is what will ultimately bring belief to the heart of an unbeliever. We will never be perfect in our actions, but we can seek perfection in the way we love; so that we may believe more sincerely and be the means of belief for others through the grace of Jesus.

Dear Jesus, help my unbelief this day and help me to live in Your love in such a way that it draws others into true belief in You. Despite my failings, may I each day be an instrument of Your grace. Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment