Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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The Universal Pandemic


By Dennis Pollock

The first chapter of the Gospel of John has some gems in it that have been preached by pastors and evangelists practically since it was written. Today we will look at one of the more popular verses which fits into this category. John writes this:

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name… (John 1:12).

In this simple, short verse John debunks a couple of glaring errors made by fringe groups and declares plainly exactly what it is that separates Christians from non-Christians. One of the errors that is exposed by this verse is the idea that Jesus has by His death and resurrection saved the whole world. All will go to heaven; none will be lost. Is Jesus not the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?” And does not John himself tell us: He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world?” (1 John 2:2). Surely this must mean that Jesus saves one and all. Regardless of how you live, what you believe or do not believe, all will surely be saved.

The Right to Become Children

But here in the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we have this spelled out so plainly no one with any sense can miss it: The ones who receive Him (Jesus)” are the ones given the right to become children of God. The implication is unmistakable. Receive Jesus and become God s child. Do not receive Him, and you have no right to that title. Some people love to suggest that every person in the world is a child of God, but this is incorrect. Every person in the world is a creation of God but only some are children of God. Which ones would those be? John says they are as many as received Him (Jesus).”

It is interesting that John uses the word receive.” Most of the time we focus on believing. Paul told the Philippian jailer: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). But John says the ones who will be saved are those who receive Jesus. And it is this concept of receiving which clears up why the whole world is not automatically saved through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The fact that we are called to receive” Jesus means that He has been offered to the world – to every African, Asian, Hispanic, American, and everyone else. Jesus is God s gift to the whole world. Rich or poor, black or white, educated or ignorant, male or female – the gift of eternal life through Jesus is offered to one and all freely.

But though the gift has been given, there is something we must do, and that is to receive the gift, to receive Jesus Christ by faith. If I purchase an expensive present and hand it to someone I care about, I have done all I can. The gift has been provided and I have extended it to them. All that is required is for them to reach out with their hands and receive it. But if they refuse to do this. If they keep their arms and their hands to their side and refuse to receive the gift, there is no more I can do. I cannot force them. They must receive my gift.

And so it is with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus has come. He has died on the cross and risen from the dead. He has promised that those who receive Him will live forever, and will be freely justified, forgiven, and accepted by God. But still we must receive Him. Otherwise, this amazing gift will not be ours.

John goes on to define what he means by receiving. He says: to those who believe in His name.” According to John, receivers are believers and believers are receivers. And we are the ones and the only ones on this earth who will benefit by the cross of Jesus, even though He has been freely offered to all.

Worldwide Pandemic

In my lifetime the two greatest death-dealing plagues that I can remember are AIDS and COVID19. Both became worldwide and invaded every nation on earth. And both brought with them horrible sickness and often death. I want to use the idea of a plague to illustrate what is involved with the Gospel of Jesus Christ being offered to our world as a free gift of God.

For the sake of illustration, let s imagine a plague that is far worse than either AIDS or COVID19. With this particular plague the death rate is 100 percent. Everyone who gets it dies. And not only do they die, they always die within two years. Additionally, this plague is far more contagious than any plague that has ever appeared in our world. In fact, it is so contagious that within a brief period of time, the whole world is infected. Every man, woman, and child living on earth now has it. And it is a death sentence. Within two years there will be no more people alive on earth.

But a brilliant and wealthy researcher has been working in his laboratory and has come up with a cure. He has created a medicine which is administered as a shot, and which immediately and completely cures everyone who takes it in a day s time. This man is so eager to save the world that he purchases television time and broadcasts that he has the cure to this worldwide plague. And he is making it available freely to all who request it. Anyone who emails him with their need will be sent a hypodermic needle with the medicine inside. Administer the shot to yourself and you are cured.

But he has a request of all who want this shot. He asks that you agree to accept additional shots to be given out to friends, neighbors, and anyone you can convince to take it. He wants you to become his representative in saving the world from this terrible plague. His television announcement is watched by millions, but most laugh it off as the ravings of a crackpot. But not all. Several thousand people email him and ask for the shot, agreeing to accept the extra doses and pass them on to others.


As soon as they administer the shot to themselves, they feel better immediately. In fact, not just better but whole and healed. They become euphoric over this miracle medicine. They become evangelists for this medicine and begin giving it out to friends, neighbors, and whoever will listen. Some even request thousands of shots and go to foreign countries to tell them the good news. Some go door to door with their briefcases loaded with the shots, and tell person after person of the wonderful medicine they have experienced. They tell how much better they feel after taking it and how they know that this medicine does exactly what its creator says it does. It eliminates the death sentence that has been hanging over the whole world. Many are so excited to share this good news that they talk to complete strangers about it.

Most people are cynical and refuse the miracle medicine. But some believe in it, take the shot, and are themselves cured. They immediately write to the creator of this medicine and request extra doses to give to their friends.

Although it never touches the majority, many people in every nation have taken the shot and it has changed their lives. They are now happy and healthy and know that their death sentence has been revoked. They start meeting together in little groups, singing songs that express their joy, and sharing their personal testimonies of how they were healed, how much better they now feel, and how grateful they are to the creator of this medicine. Sadly, for most of the people in the world, the medicine is rejected, and within two years they are all dead. The only ones alive and remaining are those sensible ones who knew a good thing when they heard about it and submitted themselves to the one and only cure for the worldwide plague that devastated billions.

Worst Plague of All

I think you get the picture. Our world is suffering from a terrible plague that the Bible calls sin. This horrific malady has infected every single person on earth, and it carries with it a death sentence. However, sin does not kill you in two years, as in the illustration. With the disease of sin, you may live to be seventy, eighty, or ninety-nine. But sooner or later it will kill you. Worse than that, those who reject God s remedy, which is Jesus Christ, will suffer an everlasting punishment and will be sent into a place Jesus referred to as outer darkness.”

But for those who take the remedy, who, as John described, received Him” and believed on His name,” eternal life, forgiveness, and justification before God will be theirs. To receive Jesus is to be immediately healed of the disease of sin and given the gift of eternal life. But, as in the illustration, God asks that we should not be silent about this miracle cure. We are to share the good news with others. Jesus put it this way: Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 14:9). Once we have tasted God’s miraculous cure for the worst of all viruses, the sin virus, we cannot hold our tongues. We must share the good news of Jesus Christ with all who will listen!



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