The Loving Heart of God (John 3:16)
by Pastor Cesar Crisostomo | December 23, 2018
John 3:16Are you in a situation that you feel there is no hope? Whether the difficulty is physical, financial or relational, it can feel like what the Bible defines as perishing. Our problems does not simply just go away because it’s Christmas season. But Jesus offers a freedom you and I can have based on John 3:16. And if we focus on what Jesus came to do, we can find new hope and strength for making it through. Christ is ready and willing to help us and bless us. We can have this hope because of the loving heart of God towards us that gives. “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)
The Christmas message.The center of the Christmas message is the Son of God. But the heart of it is that God sent Jesus because He did not want people, anyone of us to perish. To perish is not just to not know eternal salvation, but also to live trapped in the numerous things that burdens and hinders life and shatters hope that has come down from generation to generation or brought down upon ourselves from something we have done even in recent days. Life begins to dry up, decay, fall apart and die. And a person who is honest acknowledges that truly it’s because of brokenness, failure and sin. Sin is something we often do not want to talk about. But we need to know that sin grieves God not because bad things make Him mad, but because bad things ruins what He intended. Sin ruins and causes perishing.
For God so loved the world that whoever receives His Son receives forgiveness of sin and eternal salvation. But it doesn’t end here. He has also given us His ways, His commands, His principles, resources and help that if we are open to receiving from Him, then He will take away or restore what is dying in our lives and decaying around us. We need to understand that God’s love is not separated from His ways and His commands. As we focus on the mercy and heart of God for us, we also need to focus on the ways, commands and principles He has for us. He has given us these for our benefit so that our life will have its highest fulfillment and riches blessings release when they are received and obeyed.
This Christmas, we need to take to heart these words, “whoever believes, need not, should not perish.” But also understand that if we don’t receive, we will. There are those who have received Jesus as Savior and have the hope of eternal life. But how many of us need to receive the things the Lord wants to bring into our lives that will remove the power of other things perishing? Like perishing in our relationships, perishing in our hopes, perishing in our attention to responsibilities that we feel inadequate to do, perishing as we stumble into temptations and falling into sin that ruins and brings decay. But God is saying, whoever believes and receives will not perish. We need to allow our hearts to be embraced by this great loving heart of God that so love us that He gave His Son because He did not want things in people to perish.
The word perishing is used when someone is being destroyed or when someone was killed or tortured in battle. It also describes someone who have lost everything and have no resources and don’t know how they will make it through the day. How often do we find ourselves in a battle of life’s circumstances that takes away the Christmas joy, the sense of peace, the thrill of hope, the sense of purpose. Jesus did not promise instant relief from everything, but He did say that if we would receive, He has come that you and I might not perish in the middle of it. Jesus came, given by Father God to us so that we would know that the gift that has come to us is not only a gift of forgiveness of sin and promise of eternal life but also a gift of a provider, a healer, a comforter, a refuge who would walk with us so that you and I don’t perish in our challenging circumstances. God sent His Son to rescue us from our perishing condition.