Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Condemn or Save?

John 3:17

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

112015 Ray McDonaldShould we be about condemning each other or striving to bring each other to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? OK – not a trick question – and it seems like an easy question to answer – but – it is easier for most of us to see other’s mistakes than to lift them up. It is easier for some to see what is wrong with this picture – when the picture is not of them. It is easier to pick the speck out of someone’s eye than the 2×4 in our own eye. It is easier to condemn than to encourage it seems.

It is easier to pick apart rather than to build up. It is easier to destroy rather then develop and create. It is not natural for many to encourage – it seems natural to some to condemn and destroy. Yet here we are told that the One who could condemn – righteously – didn’t come to do so (there will be a time for judgment). The most famous of all passages is followed by today’s passage.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. John 3:16–21 – 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. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 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.

Let’s think for a moment. If we were all judged according to our sin – we would all be judged guilty and condemned to hell (for eternity). Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death.

The last passages reads like this in its entirety – Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It speaks of the eternity we have in Christ. It speaks about the gift that God has for us – for those who turn their lives to Him. Should we all be about drawing people to this eternal gift – more than pointing out the reasons we all need the gift?

So today’s passage is an expression of God’s love for His creation. It is a statement of His desire for His creation. 1 Timothy 2:1–4 – 1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

It is easy to pick out sins – the Bible is filled with passages that tell us what we should do and what we should not do. It also tells us that our sin is not confined to our actions. In passages in Matthew commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount – Jesus says our thought life is also capable of sin. Matthew 5:21-22 – 21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Since we are all caught up in a whole lot of sin – maybe we should focus on the cure for sin – a deeper relationship with Jesus – and His saving grace (not that sin and rebuking it in our lives is not important – but it would be a natural progression in our lives if we focused on our relationship with Jesus). John 3:16–17 – 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.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

P.S. Please continue your prayers for General Conference in Portland this week and next. #GC2016 #JesusIsLord#BiblicalAuthority #GlobalChurch #UMCGC

P.S.S. I will be on vacation starting Monday morning and will not do a regular devotional thought until I return. I may plug a few in while on vacation but not a regular weekday post.

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May 13, 2016 - Posted by | Bring, Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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