Daily Readings and Thought for April 11th. “WHOEVER DOES NOT BELIEVE IS CONDEMNED ALREADY”


 Today, we have one of the best known verses in the Bible in our reading in John 3.  But sometimes verses which are well known can lose their power to influence our thinking.  It is verse 16 that is well known, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” 

We have sometimes deliberately misquoted this by leaving out the words, ‘not perish, but’ and those listening have usually struggled to think of what words we have omitted.  Jesus is saying what the alternative is – if we fail to believe. The ESV footnote suggests a slightly different way of translating this verse: “For this is how God loved the world …” See the point?  He “gave his only Son” to show his love – and the challenge to us is whether we will respond to his action in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Cross. 

We all know that you show you believe in something by what you do, by the difference it makes to your life.  John goes on to write, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God,” he then adds, “and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest their deeds should be exposed.” [v.18-20]

The world today is overflowing with examples of this. We will read in Ch.8 that Jesus said, “whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” [v.34] and today the world is full of willing slaves.   Looking back at today’s chapter we see that Jesus also said, “He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way.” [v31]     There is no middle way – and why should there be!?  Let’s all make a greater effort to respond to the love of God in sending his Son into the world to light up the darkness, and realize more fully the ultimate meaninglessness of a life that lacks the eternal purpose that God offers to us.

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