“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).
Nicodemus, a Pharisee and religious leader, approached Jesus to inquire about the miracles Jesus had performed. Jesus clearly and carefully answered his questions and explained to him that in order to experience the kingdom of God, one must be born again. His description of God’s great love for His creation and the incredible gift He provided for its restoration reveals to us our opportunity to experience the kingdom of God.
It can be difficult to grasp the depth of God’s love for us. His willingness to sacrifice His own, sinless Son is a signal to us about the seriousness of sin, the value of God’s creation, and the true nature of God. God created every person in His image, but we marred that image through our sinfulness. Yet God willingly made a great sacrifice so that our sin debt could be paid, and we could be restored to Him. This incredible gift would rescue us from eternal separation from God (hell) and give us an eternal home in heaven with Him.
Carpentry and woodworking have always fascinated me. I’m impressed by the ability of the craftsman to see how pieces should fit together and how to make cuts that do not compromise the strength of the wood. The results are often breathtaking. I enjoy watching television programs where homes are repaired and renovated and that highlight furniture that is gifted to the homeowner. Oftentimes, the carpenter will create a new piece from wood recovered from the demolition or that has some other significance to the family. The homeowner’s reaction is often tear-filled as they realize the value of the gift. But the smile on the craftsman’s face, while generally unnoticed, is also priceless.
Read John 3:16 again. Imagine God the Father, the Creator of the world, admiring His creation the way a master craftsman admires his work. As He recognizes a blemish (sin), He designs a plan for its repair. Why? Because of His great love for His creation and the value with which He created it. This is good news!
You and I were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), and He loves us with an unconditional, everlasting love. Although our lives are marred by sin, God has made a way for us to be restored. The “way” is through the indescribable gift of Jesus. God loves us so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son so that we can have eternal life. What an amazing gift!
God has made a way and extends the gift of salvation to each one of us. Accepting this gift means we will not experience hell. Instead, we are granted eternal life in the presence of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and will join the multitude of believers from throughout history. Stop and think about that for a moment . . . the Creator God sacrificed His perfect Son so that we (sinful humans) can spend eternity with Him in heaven. What a great love!
But God does not bring us to heaven at the moment of our salvation. In fact, most of us will live here on earth many years before we die. That can only mean one thing: God must have something for us to do. God has not only saved us from something (death and hell), He has saved us for something. Matthew 28:19–20 clearly describes what we are to be doing until the time of our death and entrance into heaven: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (NIV).
The Master Craftsman sees the scars of sin in our lives, has provided restoration, and instills purpose in our lives. As we celebrate the great gift God has given us, we are to also share that gift with others! Our purpose is to tell people about the scars of sin we bear, about how God provided restoration through the sacrifice of His Son, and that it is His desire to do the same for them.
Written by Brandon Lewis