690 views | Rev Dr. Vitalis Aniehobi | March 14, 2021
1. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God'(Jn3:16-18). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. Nicodemus, a respected member of the Jewish Sahendrin humbly consulted Jesus on the meaning of salvation and the best way to attain it. Jesus explained to him that the salvation of world will come from the sacrifice of the only son of God. God will prove his love for the world by allowing his son to suffer injustice and death in the hands of sinful men. But how can the death of an innocent person be acceptable to God as expiation for the sins of the world:past, present and future? Such is not acceptable to many contemporary thinkers and ideologists who consider the language of the cross as a folly, a fable meant for the low-minded individuals. But in this foolishness of God lies the salvation of the world. This foolishness is however wiser than human wisdom (1Cor 1:25).
3. The salvation brought through the death of Christ is a package through which God declares his everlasting love for humanity. In this package we find forgiveness for our sins, in it we find assurance of eternity with God, in it we discover our escape route from the dominion of the Devil and his cohorts. One can then understand why Jesus said that God did not send his son into the world to condemn it but rather that whoever believes in the son will not perish but will have eternal life.
4. The last word of Jesus on the cross affirms the aforementioned advantages of his death. He said: ‘it is finished’ and then bowed his head and gave up the spirit. The greek version of the word ‘tetelestai’ has three usages. In military jargon it means that the battle has been completely won. In legal parlance it means that the sentence passed on someone has been completely served. In commercial context it means that the debt has been completely paid. Applying this to our relationship with God with regard to our salvation, it means that whoever wants to be saved no longer has any obstacle between the desire and the goal. Salvation is now a free gift to whoever desires it. Every human effort to be with God can no longer be frustrated by any force whatsoever. If God is for us, who can be against us? If he has given up his son for us what else can he not give us(Rom8:31)?
5. In spite of the good plans that God has for the salvation of humanity, Jesus sadly observed that some people will be excluded from the eternal life which God has prepared for all. The exclusion will not come from God but from personal decisions of the individuals concerned. Those who will prefer darkness to light, those who knowingly refuse to believe in Jesus can never participate in the benefits of the divine sacrifice. In saying this Jesus places before us life and death. Each person has a choice to make.
6. Where are you standing? In the light or in the dark? Light and darkness are often neighbours. Our decisions are confronted with both. Sometimes you may confuse one for the other and that is when sin comes in either by omission or commission. Falling into sin is not actually a tragedy. God knows that it will be happening to his children from time to time in their journey towards eternity. That is why he teaches us to ask for forgiveness and has given us the sacrament of reconciliation. The first tragedy is to be found rather in the inability to ask for forgiveness when one has sinned. The second but still more damaging tragedy in our journey to eternity is the readiness to justify our sins and excuse them as being merely human weaknesses which could be tolerated if not totally acceptable. When these two tragedies become consistent in your life, know that you are gradually turning to the road of exclusion from the free gift of salvation. @Vita, Sunday 14/03/21.