Monday, December 15, 2014

On the third day of Christmas: to be “so loved”

“For God SO LOVED the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”[1]

          Now, we know that the “for” is similar to “because”, and means that whatever this verse is talking about comes out of something else that was going on. We also know that this is all about “God” as the person who is feeling and doing something. We can see that whatever God feels and does is focused on this world we live in. So, if this is God we are dealing with, and he is able to do everything he sets out to do, doesn’t it matter A LOT how he feels about our world?
          After all… HE’S GOD!!!
          God can do whatever he wants. None of us can stop him from doing what he sets out to do. It’s his world. We’re his creation. So, is the fact that God has feelings about our world, and thoughts about our world, and plans for our world, a good thing? If he can do whatever he wants to do, does he want to do good, or evil?
          Ah, so this is why it is so important for us to read that God “so loved” the world!
          You know, our world has tried very hard to get love going. I remember a song that was popular way back in the olden days when I was a kid. The singers sang, “What this world needs now, is love, sweet love.” Even as a youngster, I remember thinking, “but God so loved the world already, why are people still looking for love in the world, rather than looking to his love for the world?”[2]
          The world knows it needs love. People sing about it all the time. However, the world also treats God as if he is unloving. Many times, I have heard the defiant lament, “If God is so loving, why does he allow so much suffering in the world?” People look at all the suffering in the world, decide that God could do something about it if he wanted to, and conclude that, if God isn’t doing anything about the suffering in the world, he must not be loving.
          This is another reason I am so thankful that God wrote us a book. He not only tells us that he is love, and that he “so loved the world,” but he tells us why there are such bad things going on in our world. Not only that, but he has even told us what he has done about all those bad things. And, guess what. That is what Christmas is all about!
          That’s right, Christmas is about God doing something about all the bad stuff in the world. It isn’t what the world demands that he do about our problems, but it is what the God of love had to do.
          The point right now is that God did something because he “so loved” the world. Instead of telling him he doesn’t love the world because he won’t do things our way, we are invited to find out what he means by this. Why does he write in his book that he loves the world, and that, because he loved the world in the past, he did something about the world’s awful condition?
          You see, the book God gave us tells us that, “God is love.”[3] His essence, or nature, is love. We don’t need to convince him to love, and neither do we need to tell him how to love. He is love, he already loves, and he definitely knows how to love.
          In fact, that is why God gave us his book. He wants us to know that he loved the world. When bad things happen in the world, he doesn’t want us jumping to the ridiculous conclusion that he does not love, but he calls us to pay close attention to the gift he has given us because he so loved the world.
          Consider this, that God is identifying the real evidence of his love for the world. It’s right here in this one verse. It is right there in the book he has given us. He loves. He has loved the world. He has demonstrated his love for the world. The rest of this verse reveals this very clearly, and the rest of God’s book explains it in far greater and more glorious detail. It is an indisputable fact that God has “so loved.”
          Now, what does it mean to humanity that God so loved the world? How many people have to change their attitude towards God if they admit that God loved the world, and that Christmas is a celebration of God’s love for the world?
          Perhaps there is some need in your own heart that has had difficulty accepting the love of God. Perhaps you have blamed God for bad experiences of life, instead of condemning the real culprit, the world. The world God loved enough to do something to help.
          Fact is, God has written a book to show you his love, and to show you the hope that is yours when you receive his love, and the gift he has lovingly provided.
          We will continue looking at the specific ways in which God has revealed his love to the world. At the moment, this verse invites us to welcome the glorious reality of God’s love. The only one who is God, who is above, and beyond, the world we live in, has been moved by love to do something for us.
          With such a gift of love already expressed, and still waiting to be opened, don’t forget to have a blessed “About Christ” Day!

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] John 3:16
[2] Yes, that is an adult way of explaining the genuine thoughts I was thinking in my younger years.
[3] I John 4:8,16

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