Count it all joy when you face various trials. --James the brother of Jesus

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Wideness of God's Mercy

Last night (or actually early this morning) my coworker who shares the same position as I do at the mission gave the devotion at the chapel before letting people in to eat breakfast. I am hoping that this means that in time I will be able to lead the devotion as well. My first preliminary thoughts on doing this are that I should do my first devotion on John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

I think it would be appropriate to emphasize the limiting statement here--"whoever believes in him." Most people when looking at this passage seem to emphasize "whoever" without the rest of the clause. The effect of that error is to make this out to be a universalistic statement. Jesus didn't just save "whoever" without any qualification whatsoever. He saves "whoever believes in him." What this does is it shows that God does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, or even any past decisions. He discriminates (separates the sheep from the goats) on the basis of belief. Something that is totally a gift from Him anyway.

These are just a few thoughts as I'm preparing. I hope that I'm able to share it at work before too long.

2 comments:

Xochitl said...

Ah, but also don't forget that the sheep and goats were separated based on what they had *done* or not done...so "belief" requires its own defining as well.

jfile said...

Yes, I was citing that passage parenthetically just to show an example of clear teaching that God does have some basis for a type of discrimination. This basis is not typical to how most people would discriminate, but on a basis that is actually inclusive of anyone who desires to be included.

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