“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world”

God is not here to condemn us, says the Gospel in John 3:13-17.

Jesus said to Nicodemus:
“No one has gone up to heaven
except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish
but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world,
but that the world might be saved through him.

What an interesting word, “condemn.” Here it may mean to cast us all into Hell. Or it may mean hold us accountable for our sins. Or it may mean blame us for our shortcomings.

This reading is traditionally given as the message of our eternal salvation. When we die, we have entry to heaven by the death and resurrection of Jesus, the only Son of God, if we have faith in Him.

But I hope we can also take this reading in the context of the rest of Jesus’ teachings. And that is to say that God does not want to condemn us for our sins or our shortcomings. Nor does he want us to condemn one another. He wants us to focus on our own sins and shortcomings and work to better ourselves and leave others to better themselves. If we focus on the sins and shortcomings of others, how can we focus on our own? It kind of gets back to the “don’t try to take the splinter out of your neighbor’s eye before you take the beam out of your own” reading from the other day.

If the all powerful, all merciful God won’t condemn us, how can we condemn one another?

No, God did not come here to condemn us — God came down to Earth in the form of Jesus, His Son, to save the world. To save the world from sin and to save the world from ourselves. It’s up to us to accept this gift.

 

 

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