The Power of Love
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."1
"Years ago, R. G. Lee told a powerful story about a mountain school that had a hard time keeping a teacher. It seems there was a group of big, rough boys who took pride in running the teacher off. The biggest and roughest of them all was named Tom.
"A new young teacher won over the boys by allowing them to write the rules for the school—which were strictly enforced with a rod. For example, cheating would be punished with five strokes of the rod, and stealing with ten strokes, both to be given with the offender's coat off.
"Everything went well until one day Tom's lunch was stolen. A frail little boy in hand-me-down clothes that were too big for him admitted his guilt. The school rules demanded that he be whipped. When the teacher called the little fellow up front, he came whimpering and begging to leave his coat on. The pupils insisted he obey the rules and take off his coat. When he did, a deathly silence settled over the room, for he had no shirt on and his emaciated body looked like skin stretched over bones. The teacher gasped and dropped the rod. He knew he could never whip that little boy.
"Suddenly, big Tom strode up and stood between the two. 'I'll take it for him, Teacher, for after all it was my lunch he stole.' He shrugged out of his coat.
"At the third blow the switch broke, and the teacher threw it in the corner and said, 'That's all, school dismissed.'
"The frail little boy laid his hand on big Tom's arm and through his tears said, 'Thank you, Tom, it would have killed me.'"2
And that's exactly what Jesus did for you and me when he died on the cross some 2000 years ago—he took your and my punishment for all our sins so we could be freely forgiven and given God's gift of eternal life. And that punishment did kill Jesus.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and, if so, have you accepted God's full and free pardon? You can do that right now by praying the following prayer:
"Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross for my sins. Please forgive me. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Amen."
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For further help read, "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.
1. John 3:16 (NIV).
2. Cited on www.sermons.com.