“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” — John 3:17-18 (NIV)
Jesus continues His thoughts by explaining that His coming into the world is a good thing: after all, His purpose in coming is to save the world! But what is He saving us from? He already answered that in the previous verse, but clarifies it in the following verse: He came to save us from perishing, with our deaths coming as a result of being condemned.
For many people, this is truly startling. Many people are oblivious to what is TRUE and REAL. Most people believe that they are “good enough” because they seem to rank favorably (in their own minds) against other people. To completely grasp the Good News of Jesus, it is necessary to grasp the bad news of our true state apart from Jesus.
In the movie “The Matrix”, the “normal” people of the world relied on their senses, but were unaware that what their senses picked up was just a simulation they were part of. They had to get outside of the Matrix in order to see the truth. Likewise, people are unaware of how the realest REAL can only be seen from outside the physical realm, from God’s vantage point.
As we share the Good News with others, we are like Morpheus presenting the option of two pills to Neo: one pill would let Neo go on living the life he had been living, the other would show Neo a world which Morpheus was only able to describe in terms that Neo had trouble grasping.
Maybe, like Morpheus’ approach to talking with Neo, it is not important for people to understand their true situation — the Bad News — before they can choose to follow a different path — a path of walking in intimacy with God through faith in Jesus. I know that when I first came to faith, I came because I was drawn to the love that God had for me. I don’t think I would have believed the Bad News had someone at the time told me. I only saw that living a life of love (Eph 5:2, NIV) in relationship with God was the path of Truth and the path of Life.
Nonetheless, being ignorant of something does not render it untrue. That I now know that Jesus saved me from the state of being condemned is a point that makes me even more thankful than the gratitude I already felt for being the object of affection of the Creator of the universe. Whether we are motivated by calling people to intimacy with their God or by concern that they be rescued from a sentence of condemnation, we have two excellent reasons to share the Good News about Jesus with others.
Originally posted on March 22, 2010