Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Extravagant Love

I often hear the phrase, "good things happen to good people." For some reason I hate this phrase, I guess because it is completely opposite of what the Bible teaches. We hear from false teachers that if you give to their "ministries" the Lord will bless you beyond what you can imagine. This is known as Karma. So if your faith is Hinduism or Buddhism your present state of existence determines what your future existence will be like. Prosperity gospels and majority, if not all, of other religions in the world's basis of salvation is determined by your actions, also known as... Karma. I want to hit on this topic because I believe when compared to the Gospel of the Bible it makes the love of God even more radiant because we realize there are no "good people," but there is a good God.

What good people?
Let's start in Romans 3 and Psalm 14. In Romans 3:12, Paul agrees with what David says in Psalm 14:3; "All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one." (Isaiah also hits on this in Isaiah 53:6). So if you claim you are a Christian, you have to also claim that there are no good people because Christians believe the Bible and the Bible says, "no one is good." Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden our default nature has been set to wicked. And to for your deeds you think are good, let's go back to our pal Isaiah and see what he says about this. In Isaiah 6:5, Isaiah is delivered to the Presence of the holy God and the first thing he says is, "Woe is me for I am ruined." Now I have no Masters of Divinity and I am certainly no Biblical scholar, but what I have do have knowledge that Isaiah is a man of God. He is a major prophet whom God uses to instruct sinners to repentance, so I am willing to bet that Isaiah is further along in his process of sanctification than anybody reading this article and the first thing he says is not, "Oh hey God, boy I'm glad to see you. Look at all these great things I have done." No, he falls to his knees in awe of the holy Creator of the universe and says, "Woe is me for I am ruined." To sum up what is going on here, Isaiah does not go around sinning. He is a man after the Lord, but when he becomes transparent to the holy God, even something he thought was a "small" sin is enough for the wrath of God to be unmercifully poured out on you. That is how holy God is, that even one "little" fib has stained you. I'm closing on the bad news with this, even our best works are still "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). So even our best acts of service to others and God are nothing more than a stained rag to Him.

"But God, Who is rich in mercy"
Good thing is that the Bible doesn't stop there. It goes on to point us to even though we are bad people, there is a good God. So now since sins has entered the world, God looks down upon us with grace, not out of obligation, but out of delight and makes a Way for bad people like you and me to be righteous. That Way is Jesus Christ. So this is why the love of God is so immeasurable. To Him, we have absolutely nothing to offer Him. Let's say the boss of a painting company came to me and said. "I want you to work here. I'll teach you all the skills you need to do this job." I would say to him, "Sir, I have no idea how to hold a paintbrush, much less how to use one. If I worked for you I would cost your business a lot of money." Then he replied, " That's alright, I want you to work here, no matter what it costs me." That is how to love of God works.

"Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." - 1 John 4:10 

What this verse is saying is that God loves us despite all of our failures. How amazing and extravagant does that make His love!? Even though there is nothing He needs from us to benefit Him, He still decides to love us, even in our wickedness, He chooses to have mercy and lavish grace on us. I don't know about you, but when somebody wrongs me or does something to make me mad my initial reaction is rarely, if ever, patience and love. But this is God's character. His mercy, love, faithfulness, holiness, and compassion are found in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived the perfect life, which He then imputes to those who believe this with the fullness of their heart. I'm not talking about just believing facts that there is a God. I'm talking about believing that there is a God with a love so vast beyond all measure that He would send His Son to die for a human race that has nothing to offer Him, except for a repentant heart that says, "I am a sinner deserving of an eternal hell, but praise be to You for the making the Way to eternal life through Jesus Christ!"

Thank you for reading. Love you guys!


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