From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

There’s widespread hatred for the God of the Bible so I’m puzzled at the statement that God reconciles the world to himself. What does that mean?

— G.R.

Dear G.R.: In His 33 years on earth, Jesus suffered with man; on the cross He suffered for man. “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:19, NIV). An important verse to memorize is: “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8, NIV). He reached out to mankind in spite of its disobedience and rebellion and made a way out of worldliness that does not know God.

God’s love did not begin at the cross. It began in eternity before the world was established, before the time clock of civilization began to move. The concept stretches our minds to their utmost limits. Imagine what God was planning when the earth was “without form and void.” There was only a deep, silent darkness of outer space that formed a vast gulf before the brilliance of God’s throne. God was designing the mountains and the seas, the flowers and the animals. He was planning the bodies of His children and all their complex parts.

How could creation be by chance? Even before the first dawn, He knew all that would happen. The Bible tells us about the “Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (Revelation 13:8, NIV). God foresaw what His Son was to suffer. It has been said there was a cross in the heart of God long before the cross was erected at Calvary. It is overwhelming to consider the wonder and greatness of His love for us.

God’s love put His words of promise into our hearts, that we might know Jesus who bears our burdens and lifts us up.