The Gospel reading set for next Sunday (18th March) is John 3.14-21
God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that the world through him might be saved… On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world, people have shown that they prefer darkness to the light.
Christianity isn’t about guilt – and nor is Lent! The Good News at the heart of the Gospel is that even while we have turned our backs upon God, he has come close to us in Jesus. And, as we see in Holy Week, when we turn our back on Jesus, his response is to pour out his life for us. The ‘judgement of God’ does not seek our condemnation. Forgiveness is always on offer.
The danger for Christians is that we fall into one of two traps. Either our faith is founded on fear – we believe God is angry with us, and wants to condemn us, or it is founded on complacency – we believe God loves us, and so we don’t need to change our lives.
What Jesus is saying in today’s Gospel is that we have no need to fear. But he is also warning that we are confronted with a stark and serious choice in life.
Do we respond to God’s love, and become shaped by it – or do we cut ourselves off from it? Lent is not about guilt and condemnation, but it is about repentance and transformation. It is a call to change – at both a personal and a corporate level.