Like many people with a guilt-inclined personality, accepting that the gospel is good news for me hasn’t come easy. Having grown up in the church, I knew the story, but could always think of why I might be exempt from sharing the joy of the gospel. I would worry about Jesus’ future separation between true and false believers (Matthew 25:31-46), troubled by the thought that even people who profess faith can be lost. I was haunted by the passage about the unforgivable sin (Matthew 12:30-32), wondering if perhaps I could push God too far away to return to Him. Christ coming again is supposed to be the best kind of news, but I sometimes wondered for how many people it would feel that way.
Those emotions are difficult to be rid of, and there are still days I feel them return. On those discouraging days, John 3 is one of those passages through which God gently stops my tide of fear and shame and draws me to rest in Him. Jesus said, “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world” (John 3:17). To a world already in a state of judgment and brokenness, Jesus was entirely a gift, sent from a God who loves His creation and longs for all to share in His eternal, abundant, overflowing life (John 3:15, 4:14). Although God must someday judge to restore justice in His world, this judgment is a consequence of rejecting the only solution: seeing the pure, self-giving love of Jesus and still turning away (John 3:18).
So on those days when the voices of guilt and shame keep you from believing in God’s love for you, come back to the solid foundation—that He is good, that He is love, and that in Christ life abundant and unending is freely available to all who are hungry for it (John 6:35)—even you.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 14:13-36
Read Romans 8:1-11 to see how Christ’s Spirit enables us to live free from the condemnation and suffering sin leads to outside of Christ.
Is there anything in your past or present that makes you secretly wonder if you’re beyond God’s love and forgiveness? What steps can you take to release your shame and rest in His love?