Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Does God Really Feel About Us?

Yesterday I wrote on just how much God hates sin.  It is an abomination to God.  It is a filthy disgusting stench that we were covered in.  There is an important lesson, though, in how much God hates sin.  You see, knowing just how much God hates sin shows us just how much God loves us. 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  Romans 5:8-10 NKJV
When you think about it, God should hate us. From our earliest moments where we can exert any kind of will, we are sinful.  Children are rarely born with a natural obedience to their parents.  They often try to get away with whatever they can.  This does not change as we grow up.  We relish in our sin.  We celebrate it in our lives, our entertainment, our money, and our relationships.  Sin has become integrated into society at every level and very few even care.  Even after we accept Jesus, we continue to sin.  We may sin less, but it it never completely goes away.  We rebel, reject, persecute, insult, blaspheme, and curse God at some point in our lives.  Some do so with great regularity.  We are just about an entire world in rebellion to God where the best of the best we can muster for those who care in the slightest is as filthy rags to a holy God.  Not only were we sinners when Christ died for us, we were proud sinners.  We were not only enemies of God when God reconciled Himself to us, we were in active rebellion against His authority.  In fact, our world is so depraved that God had to judge it once and will once again and that time for good.  From the standpoint of a holy and righteous God, we are a hateful bunch. 

It is in that context where this next passage makes no logical sense at all:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  John 3:16-17 NKJV
Despite all that we aren't.  Despite our rebellion. Despite our pride in the things that God hates.   God still loves us.  In fact, He loves us enough that He sent His one and only begotten Son.  He did not send His son to judge the world (though that is coming).  He did not send His son into the world to rule the world and whip us back into shape. He sent His son to preach the good news of eternal life and ultimately die and pay the penalty for our sins.  God sent His son to die so that we can have eternal life.  Jesus willingly went to the Cross to redeem His bride.  

I really do not think we can ever comprehend just how much God loves us.  We see already that while we were utter failures living in complete and open rebellion to God that God still loved us enough to send His son to pay the penalty for our sins. We have already seen that God has every reason to hate us and every right to judge us.  We have already seen that instead of just hitting the "reset" button on creation, God chose (out of an abundance of love) to send His Son to redeem us.  We have already seen more love expressed by God towards and ungrateful world that we can possible imagine, but there is more. 
Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly [places] in Christ,  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.  Ephesians 1:3-6 NKJV
Perhaps maybe you think that despite all of our failures, that God looked upon us in pity and decided to send His son.  Perhaps you think that we just went way off the rails and God did not want to see His creation blighted so in order to redeem what He spent time creating, He decided to send his Son.  Perhaps you think that we sort of grew on God after all this time and despite all of our faults, God sees us as charming enough to desire to redeem us to not cease from spending time with us.  The passage from Ephesians dispels all of those myths. The key phrase from the above passage is "before the foundation of the world."   In other words, before God said "Let there be light," God knew of all that was gong to come from His creation.  Jesus is not some contingency plan for a creation gone awry, but the original plan set in place before creation even began.  

This should literally amaze you.  Think about it.  If you were going to create your masterpiece and you had some ability to tell the future knowing that the beauty you were about to create was going to quickly become a monument to all that you hate and ultimately your own son would have to give his life to salvage anything from what you had made, would you still make it or would you go back to the drawing board?  I think that any sane person would go back to the drawing board.  God, on the other hand, saw His love for us despite what we would become.  God saw the fall of man and our sinful nature.  God saw that we would take the precious gift of free will and squander it on our desires.  God saw our rebellion.  God saw our rejection.  God saw His Son dying on the cross.  Despite all of that, God chose to create us.  God did not go back to the drawing board.  God did not tweak what He was going to make to try and make it work better.  God saw the love He would have for us and created us anyway.  Think about that for a minute.  God saw that His Son was going to have to die for your sins, yet He chose to create you despite all of that.  God created His own enemies and redeemed them with the blood of His own Son.  When the Bible tells us to love our enemies, this should give you some idea of just how deep that love should run.  God created, sent His son to die for, redeemed though that sacrifice, adopted as His children, and then granted eternal life for His enemies. 

In the end, I do not know why God loves us, but that is probably the point.  His love for us is not dependent upon us.  If it were, Jesus would never have been sent to redeem us.  It really is as simple that God loves us because God loves us.  There is nothing more we need to know.  His love is incomprehensible with our mortal minds and is immeasurable with our mortal hearts.  His love is greater than we can even imagine and more than we can ever love Him.  His love will never fail us.  His love will never end.  It is because of His love that He sent His Son to grant us eternal life and He created us knowing that would be the case.  It really is amazing when you think about it.  Remember this love when you deal with people in the church or in the world.  No matter how bad they may seem or what things they do that you might hate, God tells you to love them with the same love He has showed you.  Of course you can never measure up to perfect love, but anything less means you are not loving them enough.  The point I am trying to make is that it should never be about how much love should you show your friends or enemies, but how can you love them even more.  It is through that love, that a fallen world will see God in us.   
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.  1 John 4:6-12 NKJV

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