Jesus: the choir director who reshapes our moral tune

I’ve been highlighting John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

A much-neglected aspect of this verse is how it compels loving transformation in our lives.

Bible scholar N.T. Wright explains: “God’s love comes to us where we are in Jesus Christ, and all we have to do is accept it. But when we accept it—when we welcome the new choir director into our ragged out-of-tune moral singing—we find a new desire to read the music better, to understand what it’s all about, to sense the harmonies, to feel the shape of the melody, to get the breathing and voice production right… and, bit by bit, to sing in tune.”*

That’s helpful. As I’ve said before, loved people love people. Since we have benefited from the unending riches of God’s love, we welcome the giver of that love (Jesus) into our lives—like a new choir director—and let him do his work so that we might better sing in tune.

Verse 21 reinforces the point: “whoever lives by the truth comes into the light…”

We show that love in many ways. Let me name just a few. We work for the good of others. We pray for those who hurt us. And we give money to people who need basic necessities in the ravages of war.

Believing in Jesus and experiencing the benefits of God’s love never leaves you as you are.

With your life, sing the tune of outgoing, sacrificial love—a tune which repeats the crescendo of salvation’s victory in your own soul.


The War in Ukraine has created a humanitarian crisis. On the ground the most urgent needs are for food, water and shelter. If you are able to contribute you can give at this link through Presbyterian World Service and Development who is helping with refugee support and supplies.

Reopening. The church I pastor (Westminster in Barrie, Canada) is now fully open on Sunday mornings (with certain rules, guidelines and masks). Click here to watch the full announcement video about rules and what to expect.

–* N.T. Wright, After You Believe (New York: Harper One, 2010), 63.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on March 14, 2022.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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