Wednesday, November 23, 2016

3 Simple Words

In Vancouver over the weekend we came upon a young, pregnant woman begging for money at a stoplight, holding a sign that said she was hungry. We happened to have a $50 Visa gift card in the car, brought along for just such an occassion. The interaction didn't leave time for much conversation, just 3 simple, yet profound words: "Jesus Loves You." 

It is unfortunate that there are some Christians who would hesitate to say those 3 important words because of certain theological belief systems. In this post I will answer 4 key questions: Does Jesus love her? Did Jesus die for her? Does God want her to be saved? How do We know for sure?

Does Jesus love her?
This question is simple to answer and the answer is a resounding YES! 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

Most of us can quote this verse by heart. I learned it from the old King James version. But notice a couple of things. Firstly, the word "world," or kosmos refers to the whole earth and everyone in it. It comes from a root word that describes belonging and ownership. God did not disown his creation. Jesus poured out His love on the cross for a world that did not deserve it. When God had every right to destroy us, He chose to love. Secondly, it says that "whoever," believes in Him will not perish. This word, pas, in Greek, means ALL. It means that anyone who believes can be saved.

Did Jesus die for her?
Again, the answer is a confident and resounding YES!

Jesus Christ, the righteous one. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. -1 John 2:1-2

The word "propitiation," means "atoning sacrifice." Many versions of the Bible even translate it that way. Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice to pay the price of our sin. He stepped in as our substitute in our place to suffer what we deserved. In this letter being read among Christians, John points out that Jesus did not only die for us, but he also died for the whole world. Jesus already paid the price for the sins of that woman on the street corner. He died so that she could be saved. In fact, Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient to save all who are willing to be saved, but 2 Peter 2:1-2 warns about those who teach falsely and follow their own desires even denying the Master who bought them. Jesus has paid the price for sin, paid the ransom for all people, but each person must make the choice to follow Him. As Christians, we can confidently look into the eyes of any person and tell them that Jesus died so their sins can be forgiven and they can be put into a restored relationship with God. 

Does God want her to be saved?

In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul writes: I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be offered in behalf of ALL people.  Verse 2 exhorts us to pray for leaders, Verses 3-4 tell us that This is good and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

God desires all people to be saved. In translation to English, the idea of the Father's delight is not as evident as it is in the original language. The word "good," describes these prayers as being beautiful in God's sight and very precious to Him. When I pray for that poor soul begging on the street corner, my heavenly Father is pleased. God gladly receives and accepts such prayers. Because of Jesus sacrifice, God is overjoyed when we operate according to the New Covenant. Jesus already died for their sins. God wants us to pray on their behalf. This passage reveals the Father's delight in the deal He has made with us. He was a co-planner with Christ in our salvation and when it says he "desires," all to be saved. This means that He is willing for this to happen and earnestly wants all people to accept His covenant of salvation.

How do we know for sure?

2 Peter 3 speaks about Jesus coming back to fulfill His promises to us and about heaven. It also speaks about God's ultimate judgement coming on the earth when those who refuse His offer of salvation will be destroyed, along with Satan and all evil. But look at why He delays this event:

The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. -2 Peter 3:9

God is being patient. He is not "wishing," or not "willing" that any should perish. Jesus wants to save that pregnant woman on the street corner, just as He wants to save any person that we come across. We can boldly look any person in the eye and tell them God wants you to be saved. Jesus died for you. JESUS LOVES YOU. 

No comments:

Post a Comment