Are you saved? Are you going to go to heaven when your time here in this body is over? If so, why–on what basis–do you believe this? And, if not–if you’re not so sure–would you like to know how you can?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV)
It is a rare person who hasn’t heard or otherwise been exposed to today’s verse, but do you really understand it? Moreover, do you know what comes after it–what everything which God is telling us here is?
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” (John 3:17-21 NIV)
Did you catch that? “…God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him!” This doesn’t, of course, mean that everyone ends up in heaven, because while, “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned,” “…whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”
The fascinating thing we learn from this passage is that forgiveness has already been accomplished. Saint Peter is not standing at the gates of heaven holding a key. It’s done–completely! Jesus’ death and resurrection paid the penalty for the sins of everyone–every single person on the face of the earth–and each and every one of us could potentially go to heaven. But we all won’t. Why?
The door is open, but not everyone walks through it. Jesus identified Himself as the Door through which we must walk through–“I am the door, and the person who enters through Me will be saved and will be able to come in and go out and find pasture…I came to give life—life in all its fullness.” (John 10:9-10 NCV)
The door is open–it’s literally FLUNG WIDE OPEN–but many won’t come in, and the reason why is because God is light, and they want no part of it. “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.” People won’t come to the Heavenly Father through faith in Christ because doing so would identify them as living in the dark. They have sins that they are not prepared to abandon, and so they stay away from Him.
But those who love the light–who want to be right with God–come to Him. “But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
You see, we are imperfect human beings and not only do we not have to be holy before we can come to Christ–we can’t and could never be, because there is nothing we can ever do to be acceptable to God in and of ourselves. That’s why Christ needs to make those who come to Him acceptable to God through Him. But we do need to have the desire to be right with Him. Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 NIV)
The truth is that most people DO NOT hunger and thirst for righteousness–most honestly don’t even care about God or their relationship with Him. They are too preoccupied with whatever it is they have filled their lives with and they simply don’t care about being right with Him. The door is standing wide open, but they let themselves be pushed right past it, until life has run them off the edge of the cliff into the eternal abyss.
Yet it doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to let your life push you off the edge. John tells us, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:9-12 NIV)
Those who receive Him–who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who walk in the light, who want to be right with Him–He gives the right to become children of God! Jesus told us,
“…those the Father has given Me will come to Me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent Me, not to do My own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given Me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in Him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
(John 6:37-40 NLT)
Dear Lord Jesus,
Thank You that You will never reject those who come to You. Help us believe in You and come to to the Light! Amen.