When we were young, our mothers’ often hung this phrase on their lips, ‘in one ear and out the other’. It used to punctuate every instruction which they thought were gems of advice for living life on the straight and narrow. And for us, despite our best intentions, they really did go in one ear and out the other. But as we got older, and had children of our own, we realize that their other saying is true, ‘what goes around, comes around’; and we wonder why our children do not listen to good sense, getting themselves into unnecessary and totally avoidable trouble.

Well, beloved, in many ways, our Father feels that way sometimes, when He looks upon us. His word is there. His advice is there. But because we think we know better, we don’t listen. So beloved, let us reflect on what our Father has been saying to us, and let us make a concerted effort to act on it and stop letting the love, protection and provision of our beloved Father and Jesus, pass us by.

Jesus Loves You, He Does Not Condemn You

“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

This famous section of scripture was told to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a teacher of the Law of Moses, one of the very people who saw Jesus as a destabilizer of social order. Now, the Pharisees were like this for two reasons. Firstly,

“…they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’” Matthew 23:3-7

They were too caught up in their current way of life, in which they enjoyed fame and fortune amongst the people. So when Jesus came and said,

“Don’t think I’ve come to make life cozy. I’ve come to cut—make a sharp knife-cut between son and father, daughter and mother, bride and mother-in-law—cut through these cozy domestic arrangements and free you for God. Well-meaning family members can be your worst enemies. If you prefer father or mother over me, you don’t deserve me. If you prefer son or daughter over me, you don’t deserve me. If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10:34-39 [MSG]

Sure they got a little flustered. Jesus was about to shake up their nice little cozy way of living, and He was good at it too, because throngs followed Him; therefore it is not surprising then that they did not like it. Now, Nicodemus was one of them; but He was touched by the message of the Lord and wanted to find out more. And is it not interesting that to the very person who was supposed to be an authority on getting people into Heaven, to one of the number who were supposed to be the holiest of holy men in society, Jesus tells him this?

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:18-21

Earth-shattering isn’t it? Your very colleagues, indeed, the people who populated the very institution in which you serve are now condemned because they do not believe. And they do not believe because, quite honestly, they were in office for the wrong reasons. Now if you were Nicodemus, what would you do? Would you let Jesus’ teaching pass you by? Or would you act on it and believe?

In the same way, perhaps you have been told all your life that you were a condemned sinner and you had to ‘be a good boy or girl’ else you were destined to hell. Now Jesus is telling you that all you need to do is to believe in Him and you would be saved. He is telling you that He has made salvation easy for you. Would you believe Him? Or would you be like this man?

“Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22

He thought he could merit his way into Heaven and so he wanted to be perfect by his own efforts. He did not believe that Jesus had come to pay the price so that he could freely receive his salvation and with it, treasure in Heaven. And notice how he walked away? Yes, He walked away sorrowful.

Beloved, the lesson is simple. Jesus Loves You, He Does Not Condemn You. There is nothing you need to do to merit His gift of salvation. For even before you realized you needed it, our Father already,

“…made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Don’t let this truth pass you by. When you accepted Jesus into your life, you already became the righteousness of God in Jesus. There is no need for you to merit your own salvation. Just believe. And when you believe, Jesus promised,

“Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32 [MSG]

Because “What’s the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don’t be intimidated by all this bully talk. You’re worth more than a million canaries.” Matthew 10:29-31 [MSG]

So if ever persecution comes, continue to believe, because

“Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.” Matthew 10:19-20 [MSG]
Beloved, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:1

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17

Don’t let this truth pass you by. Is It Really So Easy? Yes it is. And if you have never believed in this truth and want to believe it now; if you want to receive Jesus and His gift of salvation, then say this to Him right now,

“Dear Jesus, thank You for coming to die for me. Thank You for bearing my sins on the cross. Thank You for enduring all my pain, my guilt, my shame, all the punishment that was rightfully mine, just so that I can freely receive Your gift of salvation. I answer Your call right now. Come into my life and work in me what is pleasing to You. I know that now I am no longer condemned. I am right before You and our Father. My sins are all remitted and I am now a beloved child of God. Amen.”

Beloved, like you, Nicodemus believed, and because He believed that like you right now, Jesus got His back, He was able to have the boldness to stand up for Jesus,

“Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”
Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night, being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”” John 7:47-51

And though he was not influential enough to stop His colleagues from crucifying Jesus, he still was able to honor Him in death.

“After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.” John 19:38-40

Jesus Loves You, He Does Not Condemn You. Don’t let this truth pass you by. And because you did not, you can now life the free, blessed, loved life our Father purposed for you to have, free of condemnation, guilt and shame. You are loved, beloved, believe.

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