To Condemn or Not to Condemn?
Christopher B. Harbin
''For God so loved the world...'' We are all too familiar with these words and the passage to which they pertain. We have memorized, quoted, and attached them to the moniker John 3:16 in such prevalence that the reference is enough for a large majority of our society to understand the reference. Even so, it would seem that we do not quite understand the importance of the verse we are quoting from John's gospel, nor allowing it to impact our interactions and perspectives on the role of the church in society. Society at large has been hearing increasingly a message from the church that runs counter to John's presentation of Jesus. It is as if the passage we read in John three were very different from the one that John actually wrote. Perhaps what follows is more akin to how we actually apply the passage to the doctrine of our lives and the mission of the church in the world.
3 1 There was a man named Nicodemus who was one of the Pharisees and an important Jewish leader. 2 One day Nicodemus came to Jesus and said, ''Teacher, we know you are a teacher sent from God, because no one can do the miracles you do unless God is with him.''
3 Jesus answered, ''I tell you the truth, unless you are born in purity, you cannot be in God's kingdom.''
4 Nicodemus said, ''But if a person is already old, how can he then be born into purity? He cannot enter his mother's womb again, and the birth process is by nature impure. So how can a person be born in a different category so to become pure?''
5 But Jesus answered, ''I tell you the truth, unless you are born from water and holiness, you cannot enter God's kingdom. 6 Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the holiness of the Spirit. 7 Don't be surprised when I tell you, 'You must be born in purity.' 8 The wind blows where it wants to and you hear the sound of it, but you don't know where the wind comes from or where it is going ...
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