I use the S.O.A.P. method of Bible study:
Scripture / Observation / Application / Prayer

Sunday, October 28, 2012

John 3:16 - What's In God's "Jelly Bean Jar?"

John 3:16:
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.

I love jelly beans. To me, they are the perfect candy — hard shell “self-wrapping” with a gooey center. They can be eaten quickly by chewing, or savored for a while as they dissolve to their flavorful jelly centers.

When I buy jelly beans, they are usually packaged in bags containing several flavors. My purchase gives me everything in the bag—I get all of them—not just the flavors I like.

As a child, I suffered from Asthma and the medicine I had to take was flavored like “black licorice.” After a few years of having to take the medicine, I came to have a great dislike for licorice, or anything that tasted like it. Since most black jelly beans share that same anise flavor of licorice, I don’t like them either. I either toss them, or give them away to someone who does like them.

Now, I paid for the whole bag—and I bought it with the idea that all of the jelly beans would be mine—but that means I paid for those that don’t please my palate. Once I owned the bag, it is my decision as to what happens to the beans—whether they go into my Jelly Bean jar, or the waste can.

Will you think I am wasteful? — Some of my friends think so.

Can you disagree and think I should keep all of the beans in the bag? - I know a few who do.

But—no matter what you might think—It basically comes down to one thing . . . Do they please me?

Any bean that goes into my Jelly Bean Jar has to be a bean I would like to enjoy. Why should it be otherwise?

Have you ever thought about how this concept works with God?

We are told the He loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son for us. That is THE ultimate price! There is no question that God wanted us to be in His “Jelly Bean Jar” - the church.

However . . . Now that God has paid for us, not all of us are pleasing to Him. John 3:18 tells us that our belief is important:  If we believe in His Son, then we are pleasing to God. If we do not, we are already condemned.

So what does this mean? Even though God paid for us, and wants each of us to be a part of those being saved, it still comes down to whether our faith is pleasing to Him. How our faith manifests itself in our lives is the key . . .  Is it a latent faith, or an active faith?

James 2:19: You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

Simply having a knowledge of Christ is not the “faith” that makes us acceptable to God.

James 2:24: You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

James 2:26: As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Faith, or belief in Christ, must be an active faith to be pleasing to God.

Mark 16:16: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

James 1:22: Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.


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