July 15, 2020
Love, Judgment, and Self-condemnation
John 3:16-18 (KJB) 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
If I were a betting person, I would wager that perhaps you are familiar with verse 16 above; maybe you even have it memorized and can rattle off these words God saw fit to record in the Bible. However, reciting words and familiarity with this does not mean you understand both the context and lessons these verses offer.
Love, yes indeed, God loved (notice past tense) this world. Sadly, today many people get caught up in adoring the love of God. So caught up in fact that many people fail to read other associated verses closeby this one and others scattered throughout the canon of scripture, which gives us a more meaningful context in grasping the unconditional nature and inexhaustible love of God.
The first thing to take note of here is that God loved humanity so much that He sent His Only Son into the world to die for the sin of all humankind. Yes, Jesus Christ died for your sin, mine, and all sin (past, present, and future) so that we can have the opportunity to live forever. You see, if it were not for Jesus Christ’s shed blood sacrifice for sin on Calvary, every person would die in sin.
Oh, what a glorious love God has for His children.
But wait, God’s love is clearly expressed in ancient times and remains alive and kicking to this day and will be present forever. But, His undying love is only part of this critical context at work in the verses from the biblical book of John. You see, God loves every person, despite his or her natural sinful state of the heart. No person merits the love of God. Every person is a shallow, spiritually corrupt, and in need of the salvation of God.
Yes, every person is spiritually bankrupt and needs to identify with God. Doing so entails judging themselves against His perfection rather than comparing ourselves to anything or person in this world. When we choose to do this, we find that no individual can measure up to God. Knowing this sets us in the right spiritual position with God. It places His authority above our self and others.
Understanding the many facets and character of God, we can then agree that He encompasses much more than love, including judgment and the potential of condemnation for any person who chooses not to agree with God about sin and the nature of self. Reading beyond John 3:16 tells us condemnation comes to any person who fails to recognize the authority and essence of God. The spiritual bottom line: either a person perceives his own spiritual poverty in comparison to who God is, or a person faces natural condemnation for his lost spiritual state of the heart.
When you hear a person say, “Don’t judge me,” he or she is publically admitting that he or she has likely has not judged himself by God’s revealed standard and feels the heat of condemnation with the pointed poking of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12). For if they had chosen to judge themselves, they would feel no burn.
When a person elects to really read the verses surrounding everybody’s favorite verse, John 3: 16, he or she will find that God loves him or her enough to insist on the spiritual salvation of the soul, though knowing this truth, many people will choose to ignore God by glossing over their need for the presence of God and want to rely upon self and others rather than God.
Secondly, it is essential to note that God expects that each is willing to judge ourselves against His example. Yes, each must choose to judge ourselves, not on a curve, but only by using the perfect nature of God. Doing this, a person will discover he or she cannot hold a candle to the spiritually unblemished eminence and flawless quality of God. When a person realizes he has no merit, that he is a sinner before God, then and only then can he or she rightly accept God’s authority and apply His eternal character to will and work in his or her life.
Each of us must grasp that none can boast about the great love of God without either judging himself or condemning himself in comparison to the perfect nature of God (John 3:17-18), and in doing so, a person does not stop at distinguishing the unlimited love of God without failing to apply to him or her self the entire nature of God. Every sincere child of God accepts God and chooses to identify with His every attribute, way beyond a simple unlimited love for sinners (Galatians 5:22-23).
Yes, a sincerely regenerated heart always desires to apply God’s character, including His limitless love, judgment, and mercy, rather than adopting a spiritually lopsided portrait of God and clinging to and serving self.
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The Gordons have authored several devotional books. When you visit their site be sure to Sign up for their Take Up Your Cross daily devotional blog sent to your e-mail each day. Check out their free tracts, brochures, picture posts, videos, and other Bible Stuy material available on their website.
The Gordons reside in rural North Central Ohio, have two grown sons,a German Shepherd, a Chocolate Lab, and enjoy camping in their free time.