Elder’s Corner - by David Himes - 12-25-2106
God Offers You Hope
What could be more comforting than to experience the reality of God’s love for you? The good news is that you can experience that love - in spite of your sins, regardless of your past, no matter what you have done or who you are. God offers you hope. The depth of God’s commitment to you is captured in these words of the apostle Paul: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
The awful product of sin is alienation from God. Sin corrupts and destroys relationships, not only between humans and God, but among humans themselves. God commands us to love Him and to love our neighbors, but humans cannot find within themselves the ability to obey that command. Selfishness lies at the root of sin, and selfishness leads us to consider relationships, whether with God or with our neighbors, of little value compared to ourselves and our personal desires.
But God’s love for humanity surpasses our selfishness and unfaithfulness. Through His love for us, we are able to be delivered from sin and its final result—death. God’s plan of salvation, of reconciliation to Him, is so merciful and so undeserved that no gift could ever be greater.
God calls us to Himself through Jesus Christ. He works in our hearts to reveal himself to us, to convict us of our sinful state, and He gives us the capacity to respond to Him in faith. Then God leaves the choice up to us. We can accept what He offers—salvation, to know Him, to abide in His love as His own children. We can choose to enter into that life that will continue to grow in his love and faith (Romans 1:17), pressing relentlessly toward that glorious day at the resurrection when our bodies will be changed to immortal spiritual bodies (1 Corinthians 15:44).
Or we can choose to reject God’s offer, to continue our own lives, our own ways, following our own self-oriented pursuits and pleasures, which will simply end in death. But God loves the people he created, "not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Reconciliation with God is the only true hope of all humanity, and it is your only true hope.
When we accept God’s offer, when we turn away from sin in repentance and to our Father in faith, accepting His Son as our Savior, God justifies us by Jesus’ blood, by Jesus’ death in our place, and He sanctifies us by His Spirit. It is the ultimate life-changing experience. We then walk in utter newness of life—not a life of selfishness and broken relationships, but a life of love, of obedience toward God (1 John 1:6-7:2:4).