REV. CANON DR. JOHN SENYONYI
My text for the New Year suffers from two challenges: one is familiarity with the text, and the other is ‘a watered down model of love’ in the world around us.
When you read a text of Scripture repeatedly, the meaning becomes so plain that each time you return to it, it yields the same message! It loses the lustre and adventure that you had the first time round.
It is uncommon for one to return to reading a novel ten times over expecting a new message!
On the other hand, there are myriad imitations of love. Authenticity in love is hard to come by. What comes to your mind when ‘love’ is mentioned?
A couple in love? A father’s or mother’s love for their children? Your friendships?
These may all be legitimate but: You know so little about what stands behind that show of love. The imitations easily pass for genuine love.
Secondly, your interpretations or perceptions of the ‘love’ you see are subject to your own experiences of love. They say in psychology that people starved of love (especially at home) usually have a distorted understanding of it.
If you have no experience of love in similar relationships it becomes difficult for you to accept genuine love toward you.
Thirdly, this understanding may suffer the limitations of our physicality; what we perceive is what we see displayed. We understand and think of expressions of love as we see them in our social-cultural context.
What is this Love of God that is so forcefully commended to you in Jesus Christ? John tells us about the depth of God’s love for you.
“God so loved …” supersedes the use of ‘very much’ or ‘a lot’. The depth of God’s love is so deep it cannot be given limits. No one is too bad for it.
This is further demonstrated by the Gift of God’s Love to you. The Cross of Jesus is implied in this statement: He “gave His only Son” to die for you and me.
Now, if he “gave His only Son” He had no more or other left to give.
The giving was not ‘to get rid of the Son’ for He was a beloved Son. Indeed in this one statement is the disruption of the eternal, and until then, unbroken fellowship with the Father. Such is the gift of God’s love.
We are also informed of the Extent of God’s love, that “whoever believes in Him” shares in the benefits of this love. This means that God’s Love seeks not limits but outlets. It extends to all His creation and excludes no one.
Thus those who experience this Love are not a demonstration of its limited reach; the people who choose to ignore it elect to live outside its reach.
God’s Love is available to any and every person willing to believe.
Many evangelists invite those ‘who want’ to come to Christ! It is not about ‘wanting to believe’ as they presume but the ‘willingness to believe’.
‘Whoever wills to believe’ accesses God’s extravagant love. God already loves you and me. Are you willing to believe?
It may be asked, “What will I get when I believe?” A very fair question indeed. He says you access the offer of God’s love, that is, eternal life.
We know that everything we do in our earthly (or indeed for all our) existence revolves around life.
A distinction must be drawn between the animated life of our existence, which is visible in what we do as human beings, and the higher life intended in this context.
Technically, eternal life is the preserve of God; no other shares in it except the One.
In truth we can only imagine the nature of its fullness. But that does not stop us from understanding some of its attributes; we know partially but we know truly.
Often, due to our corrupted world, we describe eternal life in negatives such as no tears, no death, and so forth. These are indeed true. But let us also peep into the positives of this life.
Some of its identifiable attributes include longevity without beginning or ending, unbroken fellowship with God and His presence, unfettered worship and praise, abundant love, limitless joy, and the list goes on and on.
When we are in Christ, we experience a faint reflection of this glorious life. That is the inheritance prepared for all who choose to believe and receive the gift of God’s love. Know this assuredly: For God so Loved You!
This affirmation awaits your total surrender in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ.
You have eternal life the moment you believe in Him. Will you?