“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 (NIV)
How many of you like being left out of something? My home town is rugby mad, home of the Scarlets, but I was never the sporty type. I remember when they were picking teams for anything, I was always left until one of the last, once all the sporty ones and popular ones had been chosen.
We all like being included, but when it comes to church, people can take a totally contrary view. People’s religious views are a very private thing that are hidden or excluded from others. Tony Blair famously said that you have to keep religion out of politics. Some may be too afraid to take the step and come inside to get to know God because they think of him as a big scary voice in the sky, or maybe it’s the church building or the pastor who’s scary!
Sadly there are a lot of people who are hurt by their previous experience of church. Some may think they are too good and so don’t need to go to church; others may feel that they are somehow not good enough. If you get the cart before the horse you may think that the cost of salvation is just too high and you’ll never be good enough for God to love you. Guess what—God loves us whether we think we’re good enough or not. Even as a Christian, doubts can enter our head as to whether we are good enough to be saved, are we good enough for God to love us?. Everyone is included in the love of God. Romans 5:8 says that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. It’s not about us—it’s about Him!!
Jesus has already died for us—all of us, once for all as it says in Hebrews and by doing so He offers us the gift of life freely. That’s God’s grace. We are not super humans who are perfect and deserve it, we have our faults, but God loves us anyway. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” This says that we are saved by faith, but this isn’t even from us – we’re saved by the faith of Jesus.
God does not want anyone to perish—his love is inclusive. Jesus came to save the lost, he came to give life. The parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:11–14 sees great joy when the lost sheep is found. In verse 14 Jesus said, “In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” This is so encouraging. Just as the shepherd rejoiced when he found the sheep, God rejoices when people accept the precious gift of life.
The good news is that Jesus, the Word, became flesh and blood like us. He was born, he lived and died and rose again, then ascended, so that all who believe in him shall be saved and have eternal life.
Heavenly Father, thank you for including us in your love and grace so that we can have the gift of life.
Study by Gary Glenister
About the Author:
Gary Glenister is an Elder for the Cardiff & Llanelli congregations of Grace Communion International in South Wales (known locally as Welcome Christian Fellowship), mainly serving the Llanelli church plant.
Gary also posts the Day by Day studies on Facebook and Twitter. If you would like to support the social media ministry please “Like” the page on Facebook GCIdaybyday or “Follow” on Twitter @GCIdaybyday and check out the posts daily. If you think the post would help others, please like and share it so that it is more visible to others.
Welcome Christian Fellowship – Llanelli