"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God." - John 3:16-21 ESV
John 3:16 is one of the most magnificent statements ever recorded. In one sentence it reveals God's deep abiding love and plan of salvation. The greatest love by the greatest person giving the greatest gift and saving anyone from the greatest danger an individual can ever face.
Then in the verses to follow Jesus dismantles evil's most potent weapon, fear, by dealing with the twin roots of fear... guilt and shame.
Guilt is fear because of what we have done. Shame is fear because of who we are. Our works in darkness prove our love for darkness and as creations made in the image of God this love of darkness creates a conflict. Shame is the evidence that the fallen world, that lays down in wickedness, has made it's way into our self image.
God never sent light to us to condemn us. He sent Jesus to save us and part of that salvation is the rooting out of guilt and shame.
"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him" - Hebrews 7:25a KJV
Jesus not only gives eternal life. He gives freedom. Freedom from what we have done and freedom from seeing ourselves as dark beings who do horrible, faulty broken things. The condemnation we lived in is now gone. It was put on Jesus and nailed to a cross.
"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin." - 1 John 1:5-7 ESV
"But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, 'Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.' Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise," - Ephesians 5:13-15 ESV
Objective faith is what pleases God. Objective faith is walking in the light.
"And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." - Hebrews 11:6 ESV
Jesus won us a great salvation. He died on a cross and now lives to hand us a gift of eternal life.. no strings attached.. no effort on our part.. a pure free gift. Salvation is a one time thing but freedom from guilt and shame is ongoing. Like Joshua we take back the land piece by piece even though before they crossed the river into the land God declared the land a 'promised land' and gave them the legal rights to it.
"Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love." - 2 John 1:3 ESV
Grace, mercy and peace are the antidotes that counteract and overrule our fallen life. God gives them in objective love and it pleases Him when we have objective faith.
Today is a new day. Shame can have us hiding and flinching at life or faith can cause us to live in the freedom of the finished work. God isn't done giving us gifts. He wants us to own our day. He wants us to live by faith in it. Let's go take what God has given us.