Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“I am saying these things so that you might be saved.”
Jesus, in John 5:34
What God gives to us, whether it be knowledge, or spiritual power, or a gift of the Spirit, is for people, not against them. Over and over again, we see our Lord Jesus emphasizing the fact that, although at times his speech and actions seemed harsh, his purpose in coming here to live with us was to bless and save, not to condemn and destroy. These are some statements he made, taken from various places in John’s gospel:
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through him.”
“The thief comes only to steal, to kill, and to destroy; I came that they might have life and have it abundantly.”
“I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever, and the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
“If anyone thirsts, come to me and drink! He who believes in me, just as the Scripture said, ‘Out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’ ”
“Father, forgive them! They do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus made uncompromising demands on people for repentance and for a life of righteousness, but only because God required it. Repentance and a life of righteousness was the way to eternal life. Jesus didn’t despise people, not even the wicked people whom he called “children of serpents” and “children of hell”. He saw their wickedness, but he came here to die for them. “Those who are healthy”, he said, “need no physician, but those who are sick.” Jesus was purposefully harsh with certain people; when he spoke harshly to them, it was only an effort to awaken them from a deep, spiritual slumber. He hated them only as he saw his Father hate them, by hating them enough to offer them eternal life instead of the life they were living. He pleaded with them and earnestly warned them, “. . . if you do not believe that I am he, you shall die in your sins!”
Paul exhibited this same holy attitude to the children of God in Corinth when he referred to “the power which the Lord has given me for edification and not for destruction.” Paul had power both to curse (Acts 13:11) as well as to heal (Acts 14:8-10). But even when he cursed someone, it was intended to accomplish some good. There may be wrath involved in some of God’s dealings with people now, but it is not the terrible “unmixed wrath” which will fall upon the wicked in God’s appointed time. In all of God’s judgments now, there is still hope because His wrath still contains some degree of mercy. It is not, as yet, unmixed.
God is still, as Paul said, “for us; therefore, who can be against us?” If a time ever comes when God turns against us, there can be no one for us. In all your dealings with people, even the most corrupt of them, never leave the impression that they are hopeless. Christ died for the ungodly, and Jesus has not yet shut the doors.
Do you have something from God that others do not have? Understand that whatever you have from God is for people, not against them. Otherwise, you will use what you have in a destructive manner instead of using it as God uses it, to reconcile, to save, and to heal.