Saturday, April 05, 2014

God Proved His Love


Rom.5:8 - But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Such a nice, tidy little verse that we've all used as a witnessing tool and yet the true depth of its meaning cannot truly be grasped until we "know as we are known". In order to fully realize that expression of love we must fully understand and know the Lover. The Lover is holy, never having being tainted by sin. Sin is so repulsive to this Lover that He can never even look upon it, and eventually He will cast all of it into hell itself. We as humans can understand sin-tainted love, sin-tainted mercy, sin-tainted peace, sin-tainted power, but there is no such thing as sin-tainted holiness. God is perfectly holy, and in human wisdom He should never desire, much less love, any sin cursed human being.

So a completely holy God "demonstrates" His love to a perfectly unholy man. Notice that word "commendeth" which can be translated proved, offers, shows, demonstrates, unveils, and unfolds. Our God didn't just let the truth of His love stand alone with no substantiation. This is no lip service, no, God takes His love and puts it on display throughout eternity so that no one can deny the evidence. Jesus Himself keeps His nail scars to forever prove His love for us. We would be embarrassed to admit we loved Hitler much less parade around a visible proof for that kind of love and yet Jesus is not ashamed to wear the wounds of love for sinners like us for all of heaven to see. Even the angels will never understand.

What more could God do? He has given His only begotten Son for us. Even the term “Son” if for our benefit so we can understand what a sacrifice it was. The cross was an open and public and eternal revelation of the love of God. It bears witness to His essence and His heart. And when received in the divine context in which it was meant it substantiates God’s love for us without any evidence to the contrary. We consider it heroic when a man gives his life for his family or loved ones, but we consider it weird and insane if a man gives his life for a stranger, much less his enemy.

You see this world teaches us to kill and destroy our enemies while the teachings of Jesus exhort us to love our enemies. And when Christ went to that cruel cross He authenticated all His teachings. He was not spouting off religious philosophy or moral suggestions that He Himself could not bear. Jesus was teaching Himself. Did you hear what I just said? Add up the sum of all His teachings and you have Jesus. That is not a clever turn of words. That is the truth. THE Truth.

The further we move away from Christ and into church structure and ecclesiastical habits and seasonal practices the further we move into an exhibition of a fallen religion. Jesus must not be just our standard bearer or our doctrinal centerpiece. He must be our very life. And that is a deep and challenging journey which ultimately leads to Golgotha. The reason professing believers are so satisfied and content with their lives is because they are not striving to follow Jesus. And they have no idea concerning the depth and power of His love.

The stage of history is littered with events from the totally insignificant to the supremely important; from the revolving electron to the revolving galaxy; from the birth of a slave to the birth of a king; from the glow of a lightning bug to a supernova; all creation shouts "The Creator is!". But center stage of all history is an event that shouts "The Creator loves!!!!". The cross. Unimportant in the affairs of man but the only seam that leads to life everlasting took place on a little hill in Judea. To the natural mind that cross blends in with the millions of other men and women that have met the same fate but to the eyes of the Spirit it is the triumph of eternity. Let's admit it, we have faith in measure about the coming events in eternal glory, but when it actually unfolds before us and we are granted a new body and we are like Him and we see Him face to face, not for a season but for eternity, we will experience something we can't even imagine. All because of that cross.

And today the cross is on the very "back burner" of the church's theology. Can you imagine that? Money, success, health, power, jokes, stories, and OUR happiness in this life has crowded out our Savior's cross!? It has become stale and unsophisticated in this "intellectual" culture and in this fleshly ecclesiastical genre. Preachers are invited on Larry King to discuss politics, morality, but never a show on the cross. Why? It is an offence to this world and it has become an offence to the church. Shame on us!! And if you peruse the internet you will find article after article about all the so called preachers that are taking the church further and further into Spiritual cotton candy, but we ourselves need to preach, meditate, describe, lift up, and exalt the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. For it is foolishness to the world but the power of God to us who believe.

It is beyond me that Jesus would love me much less die for me on a cross. It is way beyond reason and logic and I will never understand why He demonstrated such love for a disgusting sinner such as I. And while He died on that cross He knew I would let Him down thousands of times even after I found eternal life in Him, and He still died. What kind of love has no reason? What kind of love is without logic? What kind of love shows no vacillation for eternity? What kind of love gave everything? I know it is out of vogue today to say that I am a disgusting sinner saved by God's grace. I know preachers tell us we are little gods and we have as much authority as God Himself, but they are deceived. Without being seen through the prism of God's divine Son and His saving love, I would be a shipwrecked enemy of God walking toward judgment. The more I meditate on Christ's love for me, the more I am ashamed of my love for Him.

He gave everything for me and yet what do I give for Him? Oh to be immersed in His love mentally and emotionally and spiritually and within my heart and being! Am I moved by doctrine? Am I energized by causes? Do my emotions run wild because of some current events? Or is my being enraptured by His unsearchable love for me? This is no Hallmark card sentimentality. This is the very life force which sent my Redeemer to that awful tree. The cross screams “I love you!” And yet do I have no tears of joy and love for Him?

What we must decide is was Jesus God in the flesh, and did God really die for our sins. And we cannot get away with some perfunctory religious nod. If we truly believe that unfathomable truth then it should, it must, shake our very beings down to the core. It must revolutionize our thinking and our hearts and our lives. But, sadly, familiarity breeds contempt. We have heard the story over and over and over again until it has become almost religious folklore. What kind of people say they believe the cross was God’s redemptive love for us and yet walk boldly into a gathering for worship without having spent any time with this Loving God? What kind of arrogance is that?

But if you truly, and I mean truly, receive the love of God in all its crimson fullness then you can never be the same. And you will hate the things of this world which summon you to leave His feet and enjoy the dalliances which appeal to the flesh. The world screams, but the Spirit gently woos. The world is sensational while the Spirit is quietly profound. The world points to you, but the Spirit points to Him. There can be no common ground. The cross of Christ calls us to surrender. The cross of Christ calls us to obedience. The cross of Christ calls us to die. To the unredeemed and darkened heart those are foolish words. But to those who have truly been to Golgotha they are life itself.

Widen the corridors of my heart, Lord Jesus, and fill it all with love for You.


Julie Wilton said...

"The more I meditate on Christ's love for me, the more I am ashamed of my love for Him."

I cant seem to get away from this post of yours. Your words reveal to me just how pathetic my own love is for Him. I despise everything in this world that distracts me from Him and I hate everything inside of me that hinders my love for Him.

He is worthy of all of me. How dare I give so little?

Cherie c. said...

The tears of regret and conviction are debilitating, but then I deserve it. I shamed Him Saturday, and He still loves me. How is that He still loves me, is a great questions.

I wrote in a comment in another post that I would be living with remorse for a while, but this post makes me want to crawl under a rock. How shallow can I get? It took me quite a while to get through this post.

Pastor Rick, how are you able to capture the very thoughts I have? Holy Spirit. One Faith.

I have the audacity to put my way of thinking on the Lord and your post reminded me that He doesn't think like me. By doing that I am not able to feel sorry for myself, but I do feel disgust and disdain.

All I ever hope for is to please Him, but I fail most miserably. Yes, I could keep complaining about my short comings, but I am overwhelmed with a sense to keep trying to worship in spirit and truth. The way He would have it. The thought of being without Him even one minute causes fear and panic and great sadness. How does the world do it? How do they live each day without Him? I couldn't do it.

His love is the cross, but His love is also in His correction and that is what this post is about to the believer, correction. To bring us back to a reality about who we really are and who, most Gloriously, Who He Is.

I sat for a while and just thought about it, and I am sad, frustrated, and empty inside. This relationship with the Lord is not always warm and fuzzy like the church says it should be. They will say I haven't enough faith. I say they have the wrong relationship if they think it is just a few words and church attendance every week. It surely is not. It is up and down, and sad, and joyful, and fearful, and sleepless, and painful, and wonder, and exhausted tears before a Holy God, and correction and all of it. All of it. The day is fast approaching.

I wrote a longer comment, but to sum it up, this post, Guilty as Charged. And I am truly sorry.

your sister in Christ Jesus