Summary: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)

Theme: Accept Jesus and live

Text: Num. 21:4-9; Eph. 2:1-10; John 3:14-21

The motivating factor behind God’s redemptive plan for every man and woman is His love for us. “God is love”. (1 John 4:16) and “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Romans 5:8) It is not enough to know that Jesus Christ died on the cross. We must believe that He died on the cross in our place for our salvation. We must believe He loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives in His testament that came into effect when He died on the cross. This is what makes the cross so unique. The New Testament did not begin with the incarnation of Christ but with His death. “For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive”. (Heb. 9:16-17) We are His beneficiaries when we accept the truth concerning His death and live His life.

God is the giver of life. In the beginning “the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature”. (Gen 2:7) Man was created in the image and likeness of God with a godly nature. When Adam yielded to sin he died and lost God’s image and likeness and with it his godly nature. When man disobeyed God he made the choice to depend on himself and not God and God honoured his decision. Reliance on self is sin and “the wages of sin is death”. (Rom 6:23) All of us have inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23).

Satan using the body of the serpent deceived Eve and brought death upon the first Adam. The serpent has continued to bring suffering and death to mankind throughout the ages. After their deliverance from bondage in Egypt Satan deceived the Israelites to make them complain about what God was doing through His servant Moses. The resulting judgement was the invasion of their camp by fiery poisonous serpents with deadly bites that had no human cure. When the Israelites acknowledged their sin, God provided the solution. He commissioned Moses to make a brazen serpent and lift it up on a pole. When bitten all they needed to do was to look at the brazen serpent and believe that God will heal them. This pointed to a greater healing from sin. When our bodies are invaded by the deadly poison of sin all we need to do is to look at Christ lifted up on the cross on Calvary and believe that God has healed us in Christ. Unbelief and refusal to look up at the brazen serpent meant certain death. Refusal to believe in the cross of our crucified Christ leads to death. Belief and faith in Christ leads to life. Jesus Christ was made sin with our sinfulness so that we could be made righteous with His righteousness.

Christ died on the cross that we might live. On the cross Christ was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future and paid the price for our forgiveness. Christ died to restore our godly nature and save us from destruction. Our salvation does not depend on anything we have done but on what Christ has done for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) Christ died to give us eternal life “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Rom 6:23) “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. For whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”. (John 3:17-18)

The cross reveals the greatness of God’s love and the enormity of man’s sin. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Jesus Christ took our place and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that we could take His place. He exhausted all the judgement of God on sin before He cried out “It is finished”. In God’s view the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was far greater than the judgement for sin and we should never underestimate it. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is more than sufficient to pay the price for our past, present and future sin. Let us value His sacrifice by doing His will in a way that pleases Him.

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