A twenty-six-word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather two thousand years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. We all need the reminder. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And Godís treatment is prescribed in John 3:16.
God loves you because he chooses to do so. ďGod wasnít attracted to you and didnít choose you because you were big and importantÖ He did it out of sheer loveÖĒ (Deut. 7:7-8, MSG). Godís love for you depends on his goodness, not yours. And since he is totally good, you are absolutely loved. You donít need to win his love, you already have it. And since you canít win it, you canít lose it. He will love you forever. You may step outside of his will, but never his love. Mark it down. He loves you. So much, in fact, thatÖ
He gave his one and only Son. Jesus is Godís ďone and only.Ē He is unlike any other person in history. Every quality we attribute to God, we can give to Jesus. Jesus has an eternal life span, unending wisdom, and tireless energy. Most of all, Jesus is sinless. When he lived on the earth, he never sinned. ďHe never did one thing wrong. Not once said anything amissĒ (1 Peter 2:22, MSG).
We, on the other hand, do wrong things daily. We stretch the truth. We hurt people. We take advantage of the weak and disrespect our family. What should God do? He has made his position clear. ďAnyone whose life is not holy will never see the LordĒ (Hebrews 12:14, NCV). Where does that leave us?
It leaves us depending on the 3:16 promise. ďGodÖ gave his one and only sonÖĒ Though sinless, Jesus took our sin. God placed our sin on his Son and punished it. When Jesus died on the cross, he died for us in our place. Our response to this great gift is simpleÖ
We trust Jesus to do what we canít. We donít trust our own efforts to save us. We canít save ourselves. We donít place our trust in other people to save us. We believe in him.
We take similar steps of trust daily, even hourly. Believing the chair will support us, we set our weight on it. Believing water will hydrate, we drink it. Trusting the work of the light switch, we flip it. We have faith in the doorknob, so we turn it. We trust power we cannot see to do work we canít accomplish. Jesus invites us to do the same with him. And when we do, when we believeÖ
God gives us brand-new life. He gives us joy in this life and the promise of eternal life with him. We have joy because we have his Spirit living within us. Little by little his Spirit changes us to be more like Jesus. No guilt in life, no fear of death, he gives life, now.
And life for eternity. In Heaven you will be you at your best. No anger or sadness, tears or trouble. Never weary, selfish, or defeated. Clear mind, tireless muscles, unhindered joy. And, most of all, God! ďOh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and the knowledge of GodĒ (Romans 11:33, ESV). Heaven is a perfect place of perfected people with our perfect Lord.
Would you like to accept the 3:16 promise? You can. Tell God you accept him.
ďFather, I believe you love me. You gave your one and only Son so I can live forever with you. Apart from you, I die. With you, I live. I choose life. I choose you.Ē
Jesus awaits your prayer. Believe in him and you willÖ
You will have life, eternal life, forever.