This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son…God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.
— JOHN 3:16–17 (MSG)
While many Christians have professed belief in God, can we authentically say that we believe and obey what he says?
Christ’s commissioning in Matthew 28:19–20 has motivated Christians to embark on the mission for God throughout the ages, yet mankind’s mindset sometimes appears to echo that first human deliberation over the word of God in the Garden of Eden. The response of Adam and Eve to Satan’s question, “Did God really say…?” has sadly resonated throughout history, corrupting humankind’s relationship with God, and with one another, as we disobediently turn away from a missional love for the world (Gen. 3:1).
Even now, it’s as if Satan is still asking the question, “Did God really say… ?” but with a new spin: “Did God really say he loves the world? Really? What about those who live a lifestyle or hold religious beliefs that are extremely different from yours?” Depending on our response, Satan may in fact be deceitfully leading us into contrary disobedience to God’s word.
Scripture teaches us that God’s mission goes beyond human reasoning. It begins with enemy love (Rom. 5:8, Matt. 5:44) and a desire to reveal Christ to the whole world so that all would believe and live (John 3:16). It is through one’s belief and obedience that glory is given to God as we embrace his missional love for “the world” and reveal Christ as Lord and reconciling Saviour to all.
FURTHER SCRIPTURE REFLECTION: ROMANS 5:8, MATTHEW 5:43–48
1. Has Satan tempted me with “Did God really say… ?” and deceived me into ignoring what God has said? Is there any disregard for God’s Word that has caused me to turn away from his missional love for the world?
2. In what ways can I guard against the temptation of Satan’s questioning so I can genuinely believe and obey what God has said?
Serena Richardson works at the C&MA’s national ministry centre as the Administrator of Alliance Justice and Compassion and lives in Brampton, ON with her daughter, Lauren.