Just a quick note to let you know I've moved my blog to the following address:

Please visit me at REDEEMED...RESTORED...RELEASED: One Woman's Story of Living Free to read more about what God is doing in my life and how He is working those things to set me free. Thanks so much for following, visiting, reading all about it and supporting me as you have done so many times these last few years. If you follow my other blogs, the posts from all three of my blogs are going to be transferred to the new digs for one big blog about our journey to restoration and freedom in Christ.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Weighing the Word Wednesday: John Three

This week's Weighing the Word has taken us to the third chapter of the Gospel of John.
Well... I thought I would do a video blog for this week's post, but I didn't quite hold my mouth right. It didn't work for me - this time! :O)

So... I read the NKJV of John three this week. I guess the few things that stood out to me this week were:

Nicodemus' boldness to come to Jesus and inquire of Him. I don't get the sense he was like the other Pharisees that came forth and questioned Him in public to trap and trick Him into somehow breaking "the Law." He was among the elite of his society and still nothing could keep him from seeking the Truth. Salvation comes to us when nothing in our lives (including but not limited to our position, our family, our material possessions, our own preconceived ideas and notions, etc.) would keep us from coming to Jesus by faith and confessing our inadequacies to Him. Confessing Him as Christ and Lord of our lives. Our faith saves us. Nicodemus knew and recognized the unique and special qualities of Christ. He sought Him out. "Rabbi, we know you are a Teacher come from God; for no one could do the miracles and signs that you do unless God is with Him." (John 3:2 my paraphrase.)

Jesus answered Nicodemus' inquiry in such a perculiar way. "I tell you the truth, a man must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God." (verse 3, my paraphrase) Did I miss something? Nicodemus inquired about Jesus' teachings and miracles but Jesus answer with regard to the Kingdom of God. HMMMM! I love Jesus, don't you.

The exchange that follows this answer speaks to the Kingdom mentality. I believe Jesus did not simply want to affirm Nicodemus' supposition that He indeed was the Messiah. I believe Jesus was saying, "Look Here Nicodemus, there is something more to this than just a deliverer. I've come to do so much more than just to give you liberty on earth - I've come to set your soul free from sin for all eternity and give you a new life." OH, and Nicodemus may have very well left even more confused than when he arrived. His questions and responses indicate that the light never really came on during the exchange.

At the end of the conversation, the scene transitions back to a comparison between Jesus and John the Baptist. John the Baptist never sought to be a Savior. The statement he makes in chapter three about the bridegroom, the bride and the bridegroom's attendant brings tears to my eyes. John the Baptist understood his position and place in the grand plan of God. He was not only content but truly overjoyed to be the one who brings forth the news of the Messiah - even, as we will see later, at great cost. His life. Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay his life down for a friend. John the Baptist exhibited the greatest love a man can for His Savior. He died that the message of Christ would go forth.

Three times we see the emphasis of chapter three. In verse 15, vers 16 and verse 36 the message is repeated: the only way to receive eternal life is to place our faith in Christ who gives freely to all who call upon His name from the abundance of His Father's love. I love this book. Not only this - but I also realized something so profound (at least it was to me). To walk in unbelief is to walk in condemnation. We can believe Christ for Salvation of our souls and still walk around in the unbelief of condemnation for our sinful state.

Please don't misunderstand. I believe we must... MUST come to a place where the weight of our guilt and sin press us to the foot of the cross where the blood of Christ covers our sin and washes us white as snow. To walk in the unbelief of condemnation is to say that Christ's suffering and death were not enough to cover my every sin. That is simply not the truth of God. Christ did not come to judge and condemn the world, He came to save the people of the world and deliver them back to His Father in love and truth. When we walk in Truth - we walk in Christ, we grow in Him and we become more and more like Him. Every stumble and every fall along the way becomes a platform upon which Christ can build a message for redemption. That is why confession is so important - why acknowledging and naming our sins before God and those trusted to hold us accountable - it is how we learn. Not that we would experience shame, condemnation and guilt over every bad deed - but that we would learn the value of grace and so be free to offer it to others when they need it from us.

I also realized that those people I've encountered who are just reluctant to give themselves over to Christ have lived long in a place where they have grown to love their own desires (flesh) and the darkness of the world we live in more than they desire to be free. They see their willful disobedience and the offerings of this world as freedom when the truth is that these things are only parasites that eventually eat us alive and destroy us from the inside out.

Secondly, I realized that many people fear coming to Christ because of their own sin. The utter wretchedness of the human condition creates a fear that causes the sinner to believe they may very well be the only person who has ever sinned beyond redemption. The lost fear their evil deeds will be exposed for all to see when they come to Jesus, that they will indeed be found guilty and condemned. Unfortunately, the message of the church for too long has been that those hurting sinners who walk through the door have no place in God's house until their lives are cleaned up and then their only value is to increase the membership. Why is the Bride still condemning its members? Christ came to save not to condemn.

Christ is Truth. The source absolute truth. Truth brings light, light brings revelation, Revelation brings Salvation and Salvation ultimately points us back to the Truth that sets us free.

Verse 33 reminds us that Jesus' testimony is always Truth. Let's live like that.

I would like to conclude by reminding you that the ending message of John 3 is that Everything, including the Holy Spirit, Salvation by faith in Christ, and every blessing that proceeds from that truth is given and provided for us through Jesus by His Father's love. He loves us so.
Don't forget to share your observations by linking us to your post.

Love to YOU! :O)

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