“If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” (John 12:47)
This is hard to understand when we think of our God hating sin. Yet, here Jesus says that He hasn’t come to focus on any particular sin but all sin. And in that, He has not come to judge sins but to forgive them. It seems contradictory but is at the heart of God’s love for us. He hates sin but loves the sinner, and Jesus came for the sinner — us. How could Jesus judge humankind if the whole purpose for which He came was to forgive? We must remember, that in Jesus, we have a friend, even as we sin.
As humans we practice judging others. Usually, others who we feel are not as “good” as we are. Jesus, being the Perfect One, could certainly have judged us all but He didn’t. He came to save us out of our sin. Thus, our trust in Him brings us forgiveness of our sins and His presence in our lives through the Holy Spirit helps us resist sin. For us, this is a constant cycle: sin — forgiven — sin — forgiven … It is not our perfection, which is impossible, that saves us, but His continued forgiving and empowering for a more obedient life.
Heavenly Father, we can’t quite comprehend how Jesus can love us with our sin. Of course, He doesn’t condone them but He jumps over them to love us into forgiveness. Thank You for His love that knows no limit.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.