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The free gift

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Dear editor:

Most people in America are probably somewhat familiar with one of the most-quoted verses in the Bible -- 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."

It is even seen commonly on signs that Christians hold up at football games and oftentimes it is picked up by a television cameraman so that millions have seen that Bible reference.

However, I wonder if they are also familiar with John 3:17, 18 and 19.

John 3:17 is a very encouraging verse because it shows God's great concern for fallen mankind and tells us of His good intentions toward all the people in the world.

(17) "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

(18) "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."

(19) "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."

The paraphrased version of the Bible known as "The Message" explains it like this: "They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil ... hates God's light and won't come near it, fearing a painful exposure."

The Message" expresses Verse 18 like this: "Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him (for their salvation -- the forgiveness of all their sins) has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it."

Obviously, that means that if a person hasn't been saved by trusting in Jesus Christ alone, they will be excluded from eternal life in heaven. Tragically, they will get a one-way ticket to hell to suffer horribly forever. We are just one heartbeat away from eternity!

Do you find that hard to believe? Jesus himself flatly stated in John 3:3 " ... very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again." (spiritually reborn -- transformed -- changed)

You cannot contribute anything toward your salvation by trying to do enough "good works" or trying (and failing) to perfectly obey all of God's laws.

It is offered as a free gift. It is received by faith when you trust in Jesus Christ to be your personal savior.

"For the free gift of eternal salvation is now being offered to everyone and along with this gift comes the realization that God wants us to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures and to live good, God-fearing lives day after day," (Titus 2:11, 12, "The Living Bible")

P.S. Revelation 21:27 warns that everyone who practices lying and deceiving (like Satan) will be excluded from heaven! Examine yourselves honestly.

Lloyd Hoffman

Hot Springs

Editorial on 08/13/2017

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