For God so loved the world

By Khoo Tze Wei

We often pray, speak of, and sing of the love of God. On most occasions, we understand the love of God intellectually. So how often do we understand and connect with it emotionally?

In Jesus’ last moments as a free man – before His arrest and eventual execution, the scripture records the emotions that he felt: “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go yonder and pray. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore troubled. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: abide ye here, and watch with me” Matt 26:36-38.

Can we begin to comprehend the emotions we feel if faced with a painful execution? Three times Jesus pleaded with the Father to ‘let this cup to pass from me’, while still subjecting Himself to the will of the Father (Matt 26:39-44). So earnest were His prayers that as He prayed, ‘his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground’ Luke 22:44.

If I imagine myself in Jesus’ position, I certainly would ask God the same as well. I’d rather not die! In fact, if you asked me – would I willingly die a painful death on a cross to save the vilest of sinners, my answer would be a resounding no! Probably none of us would ever consider doing that. But Jesus went through with it – He took up the cross and died on it. What depths of love Jesus had to make

such a sacrifice. I cannot comprehend the magnitude and greatness of God’s love for all of us! It is as the hymn goes, “To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry, nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky.”

When I think of God’s great love for us, I cannot help but want to follow Him. God has saved me from my sins, He has given me assurance of life eternal, He has blessed me in my career, He has given me the avenue of prayer when I can approach Him for help, He has blessed me with fellow Christians who share my joys and my burdens, He has given me His scriptures that I may use it as a guide to live a great and fulfilling life. Why would I choose not to serve Him? To me, it’s a no-brainer. Why would I deny myself these wonderful blessings from God? The same blessings are afforded to all of us. Why would we choose to deny ourselves of God’s love and blessings?

On the contrary, when I think of God’s great love for us, how ungrateful would I be if I neglected it. The Hebrew writer asks: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation?” Heb 2:3a. “Neglect” in this verse is translated from the Greek word ameleo, which means to be careless of, make light of, be negligent, not regard. Though we do not actively reject or go against God, we can be guilty of being indifferent. We can treat our salvation carelessly, we can treat it as something common and unimportant.

Brethren, I believe most of us do not actively do wrong things, but many of us don’t do the right things either. Not only do we need to avoid doing wrong but we also need to actively do what is right.

To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.’ James 4:17. When the Hebrew writer asks “How shall we escape,” it is a rhetorical question, isn’t it? There really is nowhere we can hide from God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16. Let us be reminded how great God’s love is, and keep striving to serve Him and do that which is right.

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