Have you ever asked why God’s forgiveness is of any value? Or what about eternal life? Have you ever asked why you want eternal life? These questions matter because it is possible to want forgiveness and eternal life for reasons that may well indicate that you don’t have them.
Take forgiveness, for example. You might want God’s forgiveness because you are so miserable with guilt feelings of your shortcomings. You just want relief. If you can believe that He forgives you, you will have some relief, but not necessarily salvation. If you want forgiveness only because of emotional relief, you won’t have God’s forgiveness. He does not give it to those who use it only to get His gifts and not Himself.
Or you might want to be healed from a disease or get a good job or find a spouse. Then you hear that God can help you get these things but that first your sins have to be forgiven. Someone tells you to believe Christ died for your sins, and that if you believe this, your sins will be forgiven. So you believe only in order to remove the obstacle to health and job and spouse. Is that gospel salvation? I don’t think so.
In other words, it matters what you are hoping for through forgiveness. It matters why you want it. If you want forgiveness only for the sake of savoring the creation, then the Creator is not honored and you are not saved. Forgiveness is precious for one ultimate reason: it enables you to enjoy fellowship with God. If you don’t want forgiveness for that reason, you won’t have it at all. God will not be used as currency for the purchase of idols.
Similarly, why do we want eternal life? One might say it’s because hell is the alternative, and that’s painful. Another might say it’s because there will be no sadness there. Others might say their loved ones have gone there and they want to be with them. Others might dream of endless sex or food. Or they might seek more noble fortunes. In all these aims, one thing is missing—God.
The saving motive for wanting eternal life is given in John 17.3 “This is eternal life that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” If we do not want eternal life because it means joy in God, then we won’t have eternal life. We simply kid ourselves that we are Christians if we use the glorious gospel of Christ to get what we love more than Christ. The “good news” will not prove good to any for whom God is not the chief good.
The gospel is ultimately about God. He alone is the author and goal of salvation. The good news of John 3:16 is that God is the chief end of the gospel. He so loved the world not simply to give us forgiveness or eternal life but to give us something even greater—Himself.
Written by Hyeladi shallangwa