“God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.”
That statement is bad evangelism, but good Trinitarianism.
It is bad evangelism because the Gospel does not begin with the love of God but with the wrath of God (Romans 1:16-18). Furthermore it is bad evangelism because the Gospel is not about a wonderful plan for your life but about the lost state and condition of your soul that of necessity requires redemption because you are charged guilty of sin and deserving death.
On the other hand that statement is good Trinitarianism because it highlights the doctrine of the Trinity in a biblical manner. Think of it this way. God the Father loves You the Son and has a wonderful plan for Your life, namely to send You the Son to earth to fulfill His plan of redemption.
The question that is most important is this. Why does the Father love the Son? And to answer that we turn to Christ’s own words in one of the most beloved chapters of the Bible.
“For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
Here Jesus explicitly answers this all important question as to why the Father loves the Son. Because the Son lays down His life that He may take it up again. Laying down His life is language referring to His death on the cross and taking up His life again is language referring to His resurrection. The Father loves the Son because of the Son’s SACRIFICE!!!
And what a sacrifice. But for whom did He die? On whose behalf? The context is clear. In Christ’s own words He laid down His life “for the sheep”(John 10:11, 15) He was their SUBSTITUTE. And He died for the sheep because He is the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep and knows them(John 10:11-14).
Note that Christ did not die as a substitute for the goats. He only died for the sheep. He did not die for all people. At the end of the age when all the nations are gathered before Him, He will separate all as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goat(Matthew 25:31-34, 41). The sheep will enter into the kingdom while the goat will enter into the eternal fire.
So Christ died for the sheep, those, according to Christ’s own words(John 10:27-29)
…who follow Christ
….whom Christ gives eternal life to
…who will never perish
…whom no one will snatch out of the Son’s hand or the Father’s hand
…whom the Father has given to the Son
How did Christ die? Christ died willingly. He said, “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” And the reason He died willingly was because He is SOVEREIGN. He said “I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”
“So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.”
But why did Christ die? Ultimately and first and foremost Christ died to obey the Father. “This charge I have received from my Father.” The term “charge” in the original Greek text literally means “command”. So Christ died in obedience to the Father’s command. This shows His SUBMISSION.
“Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
My food. How essential. To Christ it was essential to do the Father’s will, which meant to accomplish the Father’s work.
“I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
To make it unequivocally clear Christ explicitly states that He does not seek His own will.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.”
The purpose Christ came from heaven was to do the Father’s will.
SACRIFICE – why the Father loves the Son
SUBSTITUTE – for whom did Christ die
SOVEREIGN – how did Christ die
SUBMISSION – why did Christ die
The Father loves the Son because of the Son’s sacrifice as a substitute for the sheep, laying down his life sovereignly and willingly out of submissive obedience to the Father’s will.
Where do you stand? What is your response to these words of Christ? You are in one of two groups.
“There was again a division among the Jews because of these words. Many of them said, “He has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?” Others said, “These are not the words of one who is oppressed by a demon. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
Who do you day Jesus is? Do you say He is insane and has a demon? Are you a goat for whom God’s righteous judgment awaits in eternal fire or are you one of the sheep who is trusting solely in the Good Shepherd?