Jesus shared the good news (the gospel) with Nicodemus. If you have ever wanted to know what Jesus said directly to explain the gospel, today is the day. The essence is that he came to save and not to condemn. Eternal life is at stake in our response…
16 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 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.
Everything comes down to what we do with Jesus. He came into the world to save us and not to condemn us. Often we get that backwards in church. We are looking for things to condemn and judge, because it makes life easier for us to manage – it’s more black and white. Jesus sees the world differently. He sees a world already condemned and comes to redeem it. God loved the world that much.
What would change in our world today if the church took the stance that the world is condemned already and our role is to bring it to redemption in Jesus Christ? The emphasis would be more focused on calling people to accept what Jesus has done for them and less on calling them out for being condemned.
Imagine visiting a prison in America and finding the inmates who have been sentenced with the death penalty. Once there, you walk the hall shouting, ‘you are on death row!’ What’s the use? Is there any value in rubbing it in? Jesus came as the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He did not come as the grim reaper.
It’s important when we look at the Gospel which Jesus shares with Nicodemus, that we identify the source of our condemnation. Many people believe that judgment day will be about the balance of scales with our good deeds and bad deeds weighed against each other. Jesus corrects this mistaken assumption in his Gospel: whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
Our deeds matter, yet they do not determine where we spend eternity. It’s our spiritual response to God’s grace in Jesus which determines what happens when we die.
It all comes down to what we do with Jesus.
Will we believe in the one God sent to save us?
Will we receive him into our lives to guide our paths?