Sunday, July 17, 2011
on John 3, and getting caught in the act
Well, I am happy to say that we are just going to quietly repair the roof. I am so much more at ease now. As Romans 12:21 says, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good". So yay.
In other news, I have finished really reading the Gospel of John, but just didn't have time to share my thoughts on each chapter. I was in fact led to read the Gospel of Mark next, which I'm midway through now.
John 3 is a lovely chapter because it is full of verses describing God's boundless love and goodness. There's the famous 3:16 of course, but this chapter has so much more than just that.
"And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert [on a pole], so must [so it is necessary that] the Son of Man be lifted up [on the cross],
In order that everyone who believes in Him [who cleaves to Him, trusts Him, and relies on Him] may not perish, but have eternal life and [actually] live forever! For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation -- he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]
The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.
For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.
But he who practices truth [who does what is right] comes out into the Light; so that his works may be plainly shown to be what they are -- wrought with God [divinely prompted, done with God's help, in dependence upon Him]" (John 3:14-21).One thing I've definitely noticed about having a closer walk with God, it's that feeling of "coming out into the Light", having my works "plainly shown to be what they are" -- they're often far below the bar, unfortunately, but now I am far more sensitive to the Holy Spirit's promptings and convictions, so that bit by bit I am overcoming them.
It's strange how, before I started having this closer walk with God, I was quite content to dwell in the darkness, and carry on there as if nothing was wrong. How often do we do our own thing, indulging our carnal desires, and ignoring the little nudgings in our spirit, the gentle promptings of God, that try to tell us that what we're doing just isn't right, and isn't going to bless us, or anyone else.
We think we're ok if we're not completely evil, and yet we indulge in daily little bites of meanness, cruelty, selfishness, ill-temper... and then get upset if anyone even vaguely points it out to us. We think we're ok if no one witnesses our compromises, our transgressions, our "lapses", if no one knows what goes on in private.
Now I feel terrible if I even have a mean thought, and if I actually do something I know grieves God, well -- it's like when Dr Evil has the searchlights turned on him as he tries to escape from prison. I'm glad of the Holy Spirit's convictions now, of getting "caught in the act" as it were; I know I'm being guided, led "into a level country and into the land of uprightness" (Ps 143:10).
"O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling" (Ps 43:3)
"Clothe yourselves therefore, as God's own chosen ones (His own picked representatives), [who are] purified and holy and well-beloved [by God Himself, by putting on behavior marked by] tenderhearted pity and mercy, kind feeling, a lowly opinion of yourselves, gentle ways, [and] patience [which is tireless and long-suffering, and has the power to endure whatever comes, with good temper].
Be gentle and forbearing with one another and, if one has a difference (a grievance or complaint) against another, readily pardoning each other; even as the Lord has [freely] forgiven you, so must you also [forgive].
And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]" (Col 3:12-14).