Condemn

What Logo Are You Displaying?

For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world,but to save the world through him. John 3:17

I’ve never seen John 3:17 painted on any barns, emblazoned on any t-shirts, or displayed at any sporting events. But it should be.

The Greek word translated “condemn” is krino, which means “to inflict a penalty.” In other words, punishment was not Jesus’ goal when He came to earth 2000 years ago. His purpose was “to save the world.”

One day in Nazareth’s synagogue, Jesus said that He was going to “preach good news to the poor,” “proclaim freedom for the prisoners” and “release the oppressed” (Luke 4:18).  Later, the picture Jesus uses for His rescue mission is a hen gathering her chicks under her wings (Luke 13:34).

Repeatedly, He told the crowds to love their neighbors. He counseled his disciples to “do good” to their enemies. “Do not condemn,” He cautioned; forgive and be merciful (Luke 6:35-37).  In the Upper Room He said, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

Sharing the message of salvation needs to be an act of love. Before I adhere a John 3:16 sticker to my car bumper or tattoo the reference on my forearm, I need to consider how consistently I manifest God’s love to those around me.

What do my fellow Christians hear when I disagree with them?  How do I respond to the obnoxious neighbor who criticizes my child? What faces do I make when a cranky customer at the grocery store wheels a cartload of items into the express lane?

“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:11). May that be the verse we display on our faces and paint on the walls of our lives.

DIG DEEPER:

John uses the word love twenty-three times in the five short chapters of 1 John. He uses condemn only twice. In what context does he use condemn?

What point is John making in John 3:18-21 about those who have experienced the love of God?

How do the words of Luke 4:18 relate to our social responsibilities as Christians? Also consider James 1:26-27.

Jesus is quoting Isaiah 61:1-2 in Luke 4. Why do you suppose he read that passage in Nazareth’s synagogue?

Denise K. Loock

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