God's Word for today

Sunday, 6 March 2011

"Imagine there's no heaven ..."

Okay folks, relax - I'm not about to reveal a confession that I've suddenly renounced (or lost) my faith in Jesus.  Far from it.  But there has been this strange throught mulling around my head for the past 10 days or so.

What I've been pondering on is this: We all know the words of John 3: 16, "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (NLT), but is this the only reason why we believe in Jesus?  In other words, the question I'm asking is whether we would still love Jesus if there was no promise of heaven, no promise of eternal life?

I ask this question because I wonder sometimes whether we love Jesus for what He can do for us, rather than for who He is.  How many altar calls have we heard where the preacher asks the question, "if you were to die tonight and you don't know where you are going, ask Jesus to come into your life".  Then we wonder why it is that so many of these "new converts" fall by the wayside, with the church acting as some kind of revolving door in the process.

Think of this from the "other side" for a moment.  Jesus doesn't love us because we are "good" people or because of the things we do.  Nor does He love us because we could possibly do something for Him if that love were to be reciprocated.  He loves us just as we are. "... God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son" (Romans 5: 8-10, NLT).

If Jesus loved us unconditionally without any guarantee that we would even respond in any what to that love, shouldn't our love for Jesus be on the same basis?  To love Jesus for who He is, rather than for what He promises?  Imagine how our relationship with Christ could grow.  Imagine if we could apply this same principle to our earthly relationships - loving one another, not for what we can get out of the relationship, but for what we can put into it.  Wouldn't our relationships - and the world - be a far better place?

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