What you think of Jesus is where you stand with God.
If you believe in Him, the only-begotten Son, then you have eternal life with His God and Father in heaven.
If you do not believe in Him, then you remain in darkness, and you are condemned by and for your unbelief, and you shall perish.
For life and light and love are in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, and it is by faith in Christ that you abide in that true and only God, the Holy Trinity. Apart from Him, there is only darkness, death and damnation, out of which you cannot find your way or save yourself.
But of course, that is where you are conceived and born — in the darkness of sin — subject to death, and deserving of damnation — and that is where you would remain, eternally, except that God has sent His Son into the world and given Him for you; and He, Christ Jesus, the Light of the world, has come in the flesh to shine Himself upon your darkness and manifest the works of God in you for life.
Even at that, you are afraid. For your deeds are evil, and you do not want them to be exposed. You do not want yourself to be exposed and found naked and ashamed in the light of judgment.
Therefore, you cannot bring yourself to come to Christ, but you would retreat even further into the darkness of doubt and despair, even to the point of death, and you would hide yourself from Him who is your life and light and salvation.
Apart from Christ, you do not know the Love of God the Father, and you do not partake of the Holy Spirit — and you neither know nor can you believe the Gospel.
But without such faith, you cannot know Christ Jesus or come to Him. You are terrified of Him and flee from Him in fear.
Yet, even now, take heart.
The very fact that you are here, and that you hear this preaching of Christ Jesus, is testimony that God has wrought His work in you. So has He done by the washing of the water with His Word, and so He continues to do by the Ministry of the Gospel.
It is in love that He has acted, and in love that He comes to serve you here and now.
The Father sends the Son, not to condemn and punish you for your evil deeds, but to forgive your sins and judge you righteous by His grace, to save you.
For Christ Jesus, the Son of God, has borne your sin and suffered your punishment; He has been naked in your place, and He has taken your shame to be His own, so that you are now covered with His honor and clothed with His righteousness. He has been crucified, dead and buried on your behalf, and He has risen from the dead for you, vindicated by His Father.
This same Christ Jesus shines His Light in the darkness, and brings life and immortality to light through the Gospel of His Cross — for the forgiveness of all your sins and reconciliation with God.
By that Word of the Gospel, He causes the Light to shine within the darkness of your heart, and He pours out the Holy Spirit upon you unto life and salvation. So do you believe in Him who is your Savior, who has already become your Salvation; and believing in Him who is faithful and keeps faith with you forever, you shall not perish but have eternal life.
In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Edward T. Oakes, S.J.: An Appreciation
1 day ago