Monday, May 24, 2010

The Word for Today

The following is today's devotional writing by Bo Giertz from the book To Live with Christ, translated by Richard Wood with Bror Erickson.  The devotion is based on John 3:16-21.
"That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
    The Gospel reading for the day after Pentecost begins with a verse that has been called "the little Bible." Many can recite this verse, sometimes without even knowing what it means.  Certainly they comprehend that God loves the world, but they let it go at that.  For them, the Gospel is the common truth that God is good and there's nothing to worry about; they will get to heaven in one way or another.
    Now that we have followed Jesus from His birth to His ascension*, we understand how faulty this thinking is.  The deep and serious problem is how to unite the fallen world and the evil in it with holy God.  The fact that God loves us doesn't matter.  There's something in our nature that creates an insurmountable wall of separation.  It could be broken down only by God giving His only Son, sacrificing Him, and letting Him die for our sins.  That is the only possible way for us to be restored to God.  It happens when we are united through faith with the only begotten Son, who died for us.  Therefore, whoever believes in Christ will not perish, but have eternal life.
    Without Christ we would be lost.  Not believing means belonging to a world that must perish.  It's not a matter of judgment that an angry God will pronounce on some of us in the future.  It's a judgment that is already impending on the world.  The reason for this judgment is the fact that evil in its entirety pursues a course away from God.  The world has said no to God, and persists in its no.  John says it presented itself when the light, Jesus, came into the world.  People loved darkness more than Light (John 3:19).  They don't want their deeds to be exposed.  They prefer to live without God, apart from God.  Unbelief means allowing evil to control and decide.  Faith means receiving the Light when it comes.
    This Light has shined forth since the first Pentecost.  We live in the time of the Spirit and the Church.  The Light has come to us too.  Here, there is a possibility of salvation, and the Spirit is sent to help us take advantage of this opportunity.
Come, Holy Spirit
you who illumine our hearts, and allow us to see the glory of Christ.  Come to Your Church and help it witness with power and joy about God's love, that drove Him to give His only Son so we would be saved. Let the Gospel be preached with power and authority, as joyous as it is, so everyone's eyes will be opened and everyone's hearts will be filled with a longing for your salvation.  Let Your Light shine in the darkness so we are drawn to the glory that shines forth from Christ's faith.  Holy Spirit, save us. 
*the Christmas through Easter seasons of the church year

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