For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
Is there anything greater than eternal life?
Yes, there is!
God has given us more than life with Him. He has given us Himself so we might know life in Him. God even gives Himself to those who are reject Him. With patience, He bestows His blessings to lead their hearts toward redemption.
Today is Good Friday. It’s also Passover. Both commemorate God’s gift of deliverance from bondage into freedom and new life. The gift, though, leads to an even greater treasure…God Himself.
There is a dangerous trap that lays waiting for those who professes to follow God…
LOVING THE GIFT MORE THAN THE GIVER
It’s what happened to Israel. They wanted the gift, but not the Giver.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25)
Now this [Assyrian captivity] came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel. (2 Kings 17:7-8)
Israel missed the greatest gift. It can happen to Christians today.
This Easter Sunday, the Gospel message will be shared around the globe, and people will respond. They’ll hear their sin is leading them to eternity in hell, and they’ll realize that God’s gift of salvation is the answer.
I remember hearing the message 41 years ago. I responded with all sincerity, and I received Jesus as my Savior. But for a time, I was trapped in loving the gift more than the Giver. Today I observe myriads in churches around the world who are just like I was. They want to be saved, but they don’t want or know how to love the Savior. I want to see that change.
Remember the ones from both Old and New Testament history who did follow God. Their lives displayed faith, courage, and obedience. As a result, God blessed them and led them to accomplish great exploits in their world.
When God’s people love the Giver, not just the gift, powerful things happen. The very nature of God (notice His love displayed in John 3:16 and 1 John 3:16) becomes their own and flows out to others. Salvation has an impact NOW, not just in the future. And that changes the world.
My Easter Prayer
I have a special prayer for this Easter. For those of us who have already received Jesus, I pray that our love for Him as the Giver will be displayed so far above all other things, that those new disciples who will just be receiving Him will immediately know and learn the life that the gift of salvation is to lead them into.
Will you participate with me?