Monday, October 8, 2018
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
But for the love of God, we would be lost forever in the consequences of our sin. But for the love of God, His justice would demand our separation from Him for all eternity. But for the love of God expressed in the giving of His Son as the sacrifice for our sin, we would suffer the wrath of God against who we are because of our sin nature. It is the fearful realization of sin in contrast to God’s holiness that makes His love most glorious.
We tend to not trust love. We doubt that anyone’s love can bring us back from the depths of our depravity and restore us to intimacy. We question the ability of people to truly forgive us if we are seen by them at our worst. What we reveal about ourselves is cautiously measured based on our expectations of acceptance. We fear taking full responsibility for our actions because we doubt that love will forgive. We have a shallow understanding of the love of God.
We miss out on two huge blessings of faith when we fail to fully comprehend the holiness of God, His hatred of sin, and the love He has for those deserving of His wrath.
First, we miss the blessing of unconditional forgiveness which allows us to experience the fullness of His love for us. If we place limits on confession, only admitting sin to the level of our perceived acceptance, then we miss the incredible gift of unconditional forgiveness and the full expression of God’s love to us. However, we can experience the love of God to the degree that Paul describes in Ephesians when he says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” We will only know the fullness of God’s love if we first experience the awesomeness of His holiness and the fullness of our own sin.
Second, we miss out on the blessing of fully loving Him. Jesus taught this principle to a Pharisee named Simon. Here’s the story:
Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
As I consider the love of God, it helps me to begin to understand its fullness when I start with a proper view of God’s holiness and my sinfulness. I praise God for the faith He gave me to trust that at my very worst He would forgive me, accept me, and save me. Nothing needs to be hidden from Him. No measure of self-worth needs to be protected. My nature of sin has already qualified me to be the object of His wrath. The activities of sin are only the product of the nature that was mine from conception in my mother’s womb. Every attempt to defend our activities to maintain some level of self-respect and self-worth will fail to produce acceptance. The acceptance we are looking for is found only in absolute abject abasement before an awesome God, who forgives completely because He loves unconditionally. Once we reach that level of brokenness before Him, we will not only experience His great love for us, but we will be overwhelmed with overflowing love for Him.
Don’t be the one who seeks to be forgiven only a little, for you will be the one who loves only a little. Let us grow to be filled with the love of God that surpasses knowledge, filled with love to the measure of the fullness of the Father. Let’s get loaded with love.