Hein Middelhoven is a friend who lives and writes from a place of having a clear understanding of God’s unconditional love and grace.
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The first Bible-verse I got to learn by heart was John 3:16. It was kind of a long verse, so it took me a while to do it. The good news of grace and love in one sentence.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (KJV).
Although we all know this verse by heart, let’s have a look of some of the deep truths that it contains.
God loved the world
His love was not exclusively for Christians, for Israel nor for a holy righteous elite. He loved the WORLD. Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8)!
He sent His son Jesus to take away all sins of the same whole world (John 1:29). Not only the sins of the ones who believe in Him. That makes Jesus the Saviour of the world (John 4:42) rather than exclusively the Saviour of believers.
The sacrifice for all sins (past, present and future) of everyone is already FINISHED! Sins are not an issue anymore for God, He has sent Jesus as an atoning sacrifice to take care for our sins and the sins of the world once and for all (1 John 2:2). The only thing we have to do, is to accept this awesome gift of unmerited favor by believing in Him! Believing in the finished work of Jesus to enact your faith.
Believe in Him
Believing or Trusting (in Hebrew faith is the same word as trust) in His only begotten Son gives access to everlasting life, not works. You cannot earn your way into heaven. No good work or righteous act can do the trick, to God they are like filthy rags (Is. 64:6).
The Christian life has nothing to do with self-efforts, but us totally relying on God’s grace which empowers us to effortlessly walk in His light.
If we analyse John 3:16 properly, what does it say about the real reason that God gave His only Son to die for our sins? Ever-lasting life! It doesn’t say that Jesus died for the reason of atonement for our sins. Yet, dying for the sins of the world was a necessary step to take in the whole plan of restoration. But all that was done by God to give everyone who believes in Jesus everlasting life.
Well, I don’t know what your concept of everlasting life is, but my mind automatically start thinking about heaven. Until I read the definition that Jesus Himself gave for everlasting life. In John 17:3 (KJV) we read about Jesus conversation with the Father, just before he would give His life for us:
And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
Life eternal is not living a life in heaven without end, but to know the only true God and Jesus Christ! And this word ‘knowing’ was a Jewish idiom for the most intimate a man and a woman could be together. The first time this concept is used in the Bible is in Genesis, where it says that Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived, and bare Cain (Gen.4:1).
This means that God sacrificed Jesus with the purpose to have a personal intimate relationship with everyone who believes in Him! Starting right now, in this life on earth (John 3:36) and continuing forever!
Wow, imagine that: we can have an intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe! That’s why He sent the Holy Spirit, so that He can live IN every believer (John 15:4). How much more intimate can He get? And what a grief on God’s heart it must be, after all He’s done through Jesus to have an intimate relationship with us, when we turn that down because we’re so busy!
An intimate relationship can only start off when there is a good communication with each other, so we need to learn how to listen to His voice and meditate on what He’s already spoken: the Bible.
Nothing is better than to hear Papa speak personally, words of His ceaseless love and grace, of affirmation and direction, of life.
Let’s enjoy intimacy with our Father and Jesus daily!
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