"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:16-17
As Jesus explains in these well-known verses of the Bible, He did not come into the world to judge and condemn the world "but that the world through Him might be saved." And Jesus' words and purpose apply to His church in this world, as well.
Had God sent His Son into this world to judge this world, as it says in Psalm 130, verse 3, "O Lord, who could stand?" All of us would be found guilty! Not a single one of us has kept all that God commands in our thoughts, desires, words, and actions. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that "there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin."
So, how thankful we can be that Jesus was not sent into the world to judge the world but, instead, to live a holy life for us and then atone for our sins by suffering our punishment when He was crucified and died on the cross! And that's what He did when He came into the world. He died for our sins -- for the sins of all -- and rose again on the third day that we might repent of our sins and look to Him and His cross in faith and be counted just and righteous in God's eyes, pardoned, forgiven, and made acceptable in His sight!
As Christians, we sometimes forget this and think God has left us in this world to exalt ourselves and condemn others. The Bible is quite clear when it tells us that Jesus will be coming back to judge the world. He will condemn those who do not repent and look to Him for pardon and forgiveness but continue on in their sinful ways. As Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians (2 Thess. 1:7-8), "The Lord Jesus [will be] revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Our job as followers of Jesus Christ is not to write off and condemn people to hell because of their sins but to warn them of that coming judgment and to call upon them to repent of their sinful ways and look to the cross of Jesus for pardon, forgiveness, and life everlasting. Yes, that demands we teach what it is God calls sin and what He says of sin, but the goal is that all would repent and look to Jesus in faith and be spared in the judgment which is soon to come.
Followers of Jesus, like Jesus, call what is sinful sin and warn of sin's consequences; but followers of Jesus also proclaim the only way of salvation: faith in Jesus and His cross. Indeed, "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Instead of condemning the world, we point people to the cross of Jesus so that the people of this world might be saved through faith in His name!
Dear Lord Jesus, let me see in Your Word Your love for all people and Your desire that all repent of their sinful ways and look to You and Your cross for pardon and forgiveness. Grant that I not condemn the world but warn others that they might turn from their sinful ways to You for mercy and not be condemned on the day You return in judgment. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, Copyright © 1982 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected]. More of Moll's devotional writings are freely available at https://goodshepherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]