Sep 05

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How beautiful are the words under which we write: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Not only do we have the greatest “love,” but we also have the greatest “gift:” “he gave his only begotten Son.” Countless multitudes have thrilled at the reading of these words. They express the greatest being’s loves of lowly mankind, so much that “he gave his only begotten Son!”
As one reads Hebrews, the writer addresses the subject in these words: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he (the Son God gave, frw) also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Heb. 2:14-16). The Son God gave was the incarnate Word, which was made flesh (John 1:1, 14). To help us understand the subject even more, read the words of Paul as he wrote to the Philippians: “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). This is what the “golden text” means when it reads, “he gave his only begotten Son!”
Now, let us look at this one who “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Go with me to Gethsemane, when Jesus “began to be sorrowful and very heavy” and he speaks to Peter, James, and John: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” He then goes “about a stone’s cast” beyond them, there falling to his face, he prays: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39). Keep in mind, these are the words of the Son, the “Son” which the God gave: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Just how agonizing was this? It helps our understanding to know, that Jesus prayed the same thing three times! Yet, this is only part of it! Luke will help our understanding, as he wrote: “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). It is safe to say, never did flesh and blood ever pray in more “agony” and more “earnestly!” A few words are in order to help us see into the “agony.” It is the Greek, “agonia,” and means: “of severe mental struggles and emotions, agony, anguish.” Physically, it expresses “gymnastic exercise, wrestling.” Adding it all up, this word reveals Jesus’ inner “struggle for victory!” Yes, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” And in his victory, God has given us the opportunity to be victorious!
If I might just here, without being offensive, say just a few words about the word “chance?” Sometimes we hear one say, we have the “chance” of salvation. The word “chance” means: 1) the absence of any cause of events that can be predicted, understood, or controlled; 2) luck or fortune; 3) a possibility or probability of anything happening; and 4) an opportune or favorable time; opportunity. Let us all understand our salvation can be predicted, understood, and controlled! It started with the words: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son…” Then, it is your responsibility! How do you respond to the love of God? How do you handle the fact that you have sinned and come short of the glory of God? (Rom. 3:23). How do you handle God’s requirements in order to be saved: believe (Heb. 11:6), repent (Acts 17:30), confess (Rom. 10:9-10), and be baptized (1 Pet. 3:21)? You see, it is not a chance, but opportunity; predicted, understood, and controlled; as it is all revealed in the inspired gospel of Christ, God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).
Yes, the greatest words in the Bible, “For God so loved!” In this love God made salvation possible through the death of his Son upon the cross! There is “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot;” the price of redemption! (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
So, what does God’s love mean to you? Is it in vain? What about the “precious blood of Christ,” is it in vain? Jesus still says: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

— Frank R. Williams

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