17God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 18“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.”John 3:17-18
Yesterday we read that “everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” Belief — that is the necessary ingredient.
Jesus goes on to tell Nicodemus he didn’t come into the world to judge it, but to save it. Then he shines the light on belief again. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him.
Belief. It is the key to eternal life. It is the key to skipping the judgment line. But what is it exactly? Is it mental assent that Jesus is an historical figure? Is it agreeing that Jesus lived a good life? The brother of Jesus, James, writes a short letter to the Jews who are scattered throughout the known world. He says this about mental assent —
19You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20How foolish!James 2:19-20a
Obviously, it is more than agreeing there is one God or that Jesus existed sometime in history. Belief that Jesus lauds is be convinced, confident, trust in — an intellectual evaluation that changes the trajectory of a person’s behavior.
As I meditate on these verses, I ask myself one question. How does my belief in Jesus as the Son of God, here to save me not condemn me, change the way I think, speak, act — ultimately, live?
I met a man once who was convinced, he believed, there were aliens on earth. He told me how to find articles about it, he shared things he experienced. I read the material. I thought about his experiences. I believed that he believed there were aliens. But that belief did not change the way I live or think or act.
Imagine for a moment you are drowning. Gasping for air, you come to the surface and notice a boat coming toward you. Help is on the way!! The boat approaches but rather than helping you, the boatman criticizes you for being in the water at all. Judgment for drowning fills your ears.
It seems that is how I live sometimes. I think Jesus is here to condemn me, not save me. This scripture makes it plain that Jesus is here to save and all it takes is belief — confident trust — that he is the Son of God.
Take a moment today to mediate on this powerful truth. Jesus came to save you, not to condemn you! It’s the best news you will hear all day!