“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Love is God’s attribute par excellence. In addition, He doesn’t simply love; He IS love. (1 John 4:8). God loves every human being He created. That love motivated Him to give himself away–in the person of the Son– to save the world. How can we get God’s salvation? We just need to follow the publican’s example: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). No one deserves salvation. We cannot buy it, just receive it. That’s grace. Thank You for Your love, Father. Thank You for giving Your Son.
“But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” (John 7:29) Jesus explained that He was sent by the Father. He had to seek those who the Father would draw: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.” (John 6:44) Father, Son and Holy Spirit are trying to draw all men and women. They are willing to do any effort necessary to save everyone. Jesus told two parables to teach that. They may be found in Luke 15:3-10. Like a shepherd who looks for his lost sheep, God looks for us and tenderly carries us back to the sheepfold. Like a woman who desperately looks for his lost drachma, God is unceasingly trying to draw us to Him.
“It was taught by the Jews that before God’s love is extended to the sinner, he must first repent. In their view, repentance is a work by which men earn the favor of Heaven. And it was this thought that led the Pharisees to exclaim in astonishment and anger. ‘This man receiveth sinners.’ According to their ideas He should permit none to approach Him but those who had repented. But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us. There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way.’ Romans 3:11, 12. We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent.” E.G.W. (Christ’s Object Lessons, cp. 15, pg. 189)
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) John the Baptist said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). He was referring to the way we would be saved. Every sacrificed animal was a lesson for the offerer. Sin can be forgiven only if an innocent dies. Human beings can also be forgiven only if a sinless human being dies in their place (that is, Jesus the Son of God). No one forced Him to die for us. He volunteered because He loves us. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18)
“Jesus answered them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.… Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.’” (John 8:34, 36) Sin enslaves the sinner. Jesus is the only true Deliverer. He never was a slave of sin. Jesus enjoys forgiving us and freeing us from condemnation. “The words falling from the lips of Jesus, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee’ (Matthew 9:2), are worth everything to us. He saith, I have borne your sins in My own body on Calvary’s cross. He sees your sorrows. His hand is laid upon the head of every contrite soul, and Jesus becomes our Advocate before the Father, and our Saviour. The lowly, contrite heart will make very much of forgiveness and pardon.” E.G.W. (That I may know Him, August 17)
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) Because of our sins, we deserve to die. But Christ took our place on the cross and paid the death penalty that, otherwise, rested on us. Jesus, being innocent, took on our guilt and received our punishment so that we, being sinful, could be declared innocent. Through Him, instead of perishing we receive eternal life. When Jesus becomes our Savior, our life acquires a whole new meaning, and we can enjoy a richer and a fuller existence.
Bread and water support the life that Jesus gives us: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14) “Those who are partakers of Christ’s meekness, purity, and love, will be joyful in God, and will shed light and gladness upon all around them. The thought that Christ died to obtain for us the gift of everlasting life, is enough to call forth from our hearts the most sincere and fervent gratitude, and from our lips the most enthusiastic praise. God’s promises are rich, and full, and free.” E.G.W. (Sons and Daughters of God, November 16)
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