No Greater Love
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for a friend.” (John 15:13 NKJV) God knew from the beginning of time that we would all sin. But because of His unconditional love for us, He gave us a way to overcome sin and death. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 NKJV)
It is God’s great love for us that motivated Him to send Jesus to the cross to die for our sins. “But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since by His blood He did all this for us as sinners, how much more will He do for us now that He has declared us not guilty?” (Romans 5:8-9) “God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (I John 4:9-10 TLB) Jesus came not only to save us from hell and give us eternal life, but He also came to give us abundant satisfying life here on earth. “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b)
These Scriptures came to life for me at the end of High School, when a classmate invited me to a youth retreat in the mountains. After living in 14 foster homes and being a part of a dangerous gang, I did not feel that God was a loving God. I thought He was a God of discipline and was always ready to swat me with His angry hand. However, at that retreat I heard how much God loved me by giving His only Son to save and forgive me of all my sins. That night in the cabin I heard a small voice saying within me, “Roy, I love you.” These words “I love you” kept going over and over in my mind until I finally decided to get up and go out side. I went out into the forest and found a big tree. I knelt down; looked up and said, “God, are you there! If you can hear me I want to know your love. I want Jesus to come in and change my life, like you have with these other kids. Thank you for loving me and forgiving me and inviting me into your family. At that moment I felt as if a great weight was lifted off my shoulders. And I began to cry with joy. I was amazed that he had invited me to become a member of His family.
The problem was that my sin had been separating me from God’s love. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Romans 5:12 KJV) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 KJV) This, doing my own thing instead of God’s will, is called sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 NKJV) Everyone fails to measure up to God’s perfect standards and that includes me. This failure is called sin. The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a KJV) Wages are something I earn. Sins are the things I have done. The wage I have earned for my sin is death (eternal separation from God).
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him (God) a liar and His word is not in us.” (I John 1:8, 10 KJV) God is perfect and holy. He cannot permit sin to enter His presence. Our sin separates us from God. Thus, through sin we face eternal death. We must realize that we are all in the same boat. We have all sinned. And our sin separates us from God.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV) Eternal life is given to us as a free gift, but, like any gift, we must receive it to make it our own. “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12 KJV) God offers us this free gift, but we must receive it. Now God says He will accept and acquit us and declares us “not guilty” of offending Him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in His kindness freely takes away our sins. For God sent Jesus Christ to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against us. He used Christ’s blood and our faith as the means of saving us from His wrath. (Romans 3:22, 24-25a TLB)
“I passed on to you right from the first what had been told to me, that Christ died for our sins just as the Scriptures said he would, and that He was buried, and that three days afterwards He arose from the grave just as the prophets foretold.” (I Corinthians 15:3-4 TLB) If you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son and that He died on the cross and shed His blood to cover your sins, that He was buried and rose from the grave on the third day to take victory over your sins, and that He has forgiven you of all your sins, then right now, you need to receive His free gift of eternal life.
“The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NKJV) Jesus promises that when we open the door to our heart and ask Him to come in, He will come in. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 KJV) God does not lie. He must be obedient to His own Word. So we know that when we open the door to our heart and ask Jesus to enter, He must come in. You prayed, asking Jesus to come into your heart. So what did He do? Where is He right now? That’s right! He is in your heart; and because of that, you know that you have eternal life. “And what is it God has said? That He has given us eternal life; and that this life is in His Son. So whoever has God’s Son has life; whoever does not have His Son, does not have life. I have written this to you who believe in the Son of God so that you know you have eternal life.” (I John 5:11-13 TLB) Now, because of God’s love, we will live each day in God’s grace and unconditional love here on earth, as well as for all eternity
As believers, you and I are now able to say, “I know Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior."
Until Every Believer is a Disciple Maker,