John 3:16: 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. (NIV)
How can you possibly elaborate on that? It says it all right there, absolutely everything we need. If you’re a Christian you’ve probably memorized this verse, and if you’ve grown up in church you could probably say it verbatim since you were seven, or maybe younger. We see this verse all the time, and we think we’ve seen it enough. Sure, this verse is amazing and sums up the whole story of the Bible and is the promise of our salvation, but we would really rather look at something interesting and new, something we don’t see often, like the book of James.
That is, until you are knelt face down on the floor begging for the Lord’s forgiveness when you’ve come to realize you have done the worst thing possible.
We’ve all been in this position before, and multiple times. I have, you have. (As of the day I am writing this, I was this morning.) We were going through our day as normal and then all of a sudden for whatever reason we commit the biggest sin ever. You know which one that is; the one that comes to mind when you read that sentence. It’s a terrible, horrible sin, and you did it! It might take hours, days, or seconds, but you throw yourself to the floor, admit what you’ve done, and pray to our good Lord in heaven that He will forgive you. You stay there for what feels like a long time. You can’t feel His forgiveness and mercy like usual. You keep pleading and praying as you fear He won’t forgive you for that one. You are terrified that you permanently ruined your relationship with God, and it will never be the same.
And then you look up. And you realize God still loves you. And you realize God does forgive you. And you realize Jesus has taken away your sin, and you are spotless. And you see how great the mercy and grace of God is that He has made us His children. And you see the true meaning in John 3:16 yet again: God so loved the world—though He is perfect and we are sinful, though we have wronged Him and He owes us nothing, though He is worthy of so much more and we are unworthy of anything. God so loved you. The word so means to an extreme degree. God loved us so much He sent His one and only Son to die for us. He did this so if we believe in Jesus we will not get the just and horrific punishment we deserve and instead will receive eternity with Him. And you are awestruck. And you are astonished. And you realize His mercy is bigger than you knew. And you are grateful.
We never outgrow running back to God, falling on our knees, tears streaming down our face as we beg Him to help us, forgive us, and hold us. And He never stops loving us, forgiving us, and holding us! He is faithful, even when we’re not. Even when we run, He will never leave. And Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is worthy so we don’t have to be. We don’t earn salvation by our good works and therefore cannot lose it because of our sins. Praise to our glorious God, Who will never give up on us!
He wants us to have those moments where we are just still in His presence, praying He will help us, because it is through those moments He shows us Who He really is. When we truly realize and accept we can’t do it is when we finally put it in God’s hands and just watch. And He shows us His true character, unpolluted by our distractions. He forgives us, heals us, and never lets us go! Though we may feel like we are the most terrible person on earth, the most unworthy, God has made us a new creation and His children! Hallelujah that our God eternal loves us that much!
Dear Father, You love me as if I were the only one to love. I am awestruck and amazed by Your great love for me. Thank You for loving me the way that You do and for having such mercy on me. Thank You for sending Your one and only Son Jesus to die for me, so I can be right with You. Please help me to live my life in gratitude for all You’ve done and continue to do. Please help me say “I love You, thank You!” with my life! In Lord Jesus’ Name I pray, amen.