“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
This has to be the most known verse in the entire Bible. We say it so often that I think we no longer pay attention, repeating it from memory so easily we could do it in our sleep. Let’s dive a little deeper into this well-loved verse.
When we read this, we see that God loved the world. He didn’t just love it just a little, though. No, He loved it with all of His being. He loved this world so much that He sent his only son to die, not just live a tough life, but to be tortured and die. He did this because that was the only way. There are some that will say there are other ways to get to heaven, by praying regularly or doing enough good deeds, but let me ask you this: If God knew there was another way to get us to Him without sending His beloved son to die for us, why did He send Jesus? ” Hey guys, I know I already gave you guys a few options to get to me, but just in case you didn’t feel like taking those options, I’m going to kill my son for you, ok?” Yea, that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
So then, God loved us so much that He was willing to kill His only son to get us to Him. We still have to choose Him, though. We need to believe in Him and trust Him enough to go live with Him in eternity. It won’t be easy, but it is the only way, and thank God He decided to give us that way!
Ok, so we know what we have to do in order to be saved now, right? But what does being “saved” actually mean? What does it entail?
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20
“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.'” – Luke 9:23
Being a Christian means dying to ourselves and letting Christ live in us. We forsake all that we have: our jobs, our popularity, our stuff, our friends. All that we have, we give to Him. That doesn’t sound so easy as you first thought, does it? Good. It’s not supposed to be easy, but it will save you.
Notice the next verse. It says,” take up his cross daily and follow me.” Daily. Not annually, monthly, or even weekly, while you’re at church on Sundays. No, it says daily. If Christ is actually living in us we are not our own. We are bought with a price, and a very high one I might add. Don’t take that lightly! Jesus, God of the universe, died for us. We owe Him at least this life on Earth, don’t we?
“for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
Finally, what does this salvation earn you? It costs so much. It may even cost us our very lives, so what makes it all worth it? Well, there are several things that would make such a cost worth it, even on their own. First, there is Heaven. A wonderful place far beyond our wildest imaginations where we will never die, never know pain, and never feel sorrow. That by itself is a worthy prize. However, there is more.
The second thing I’ll mention is the comfort we receive here on Earth. It is far beyond our hopes without Christ to be able to have the assurance of a Father who cares for us and knows what’s best for us, even when we don’t. This relationship with Him not only gains us comfort here, but joy, love, beauty, and rest in this sinful world as well. That is as well a great reward.
Finally, and possibly the greatest reward for the price we pay for salvation, is God. Just God. He, the Creator, Savior, Father, and King gives Himself to us, and we have the great opportunity to spend all of eternity with Him! That is a great, great prize indeed!
Though life here may be difficult, and living for Christ may only make it more so, rest in the fact that we have assurance of a wonderful reward in Him, if only we choose to accept it.