Archive for October, 2009|Monthly archive page

God loves me

I am discovering how much God loves me.

I have known since I became a Christian at the age of 20 that the Lord Jesus loved me so much he died for my sins on the cross.  But, much of the time in the decades since, I have felt he wasn’t happy with me.

I believed I was saved by God’s gift of grace – his unmerited love.  But I started living the life of a Christ-follower as if I had to earn his love.  And I realized I just didn’t have what it takes to keep him happy – I fell short of the glory of God.

Then, two years ago, my eyes were opened to a new truth for me: God loves me even when I mess up.

There is a wealth of scripture to support that view.  But, perhaps the best illustration in my view is Jesus’ great parable of the Prodigal Son or the Lost Son in Luke 15.

I had always believed that parable referred to people coming to know Christ for the first time.  And that is undoubtedly its primary meaning.  But there is another meaning for believers, too.

Look at how the father welcomes home the lost son home.  He has been waiting for him ever since he wandered away.  And when he sees him, he runs out and hugs him and kisses him before the son can begin to ask his forgiveness.  Before!

Isn’t that tremendous?  The prodigal son had known his father’s goodness before he left home and yet he rejected it and left home to indulge his own self-centred desires.  But his father never stopped loving him.

I am struck by the fact that the father didn’t tell his son: “You can come home if you do this or that to prove you’ll be good from now on.”  Instead, he hugged and kissed him without any preconditions.

There is a lot in the Bible about God’s grace for believers.  Paul devotes a lot of time to explaining to believers that they are not to start living as if they had to fulfill all kinds of rules and regulations to please God.

I find this a liberating truth.  It floods me with hope.

This raises an interesting question: What incentive is there to fight sin?  My quick answer is that when I know how much God loves me, I am going to love him more in return.  And sin will steadily lose its attraction.

I am still sorting this out as I am still pondering the “exchanged life” that I spoke about in my first post.  The exchanged life refers to Christ living his life through me.

I believe they are linked truths – like two rails on a railway track.

Again, I will come back to this in future posts.

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Slow learner

I am a slow learner.

Two years ago, after 48 years as a believing Christian, I began to understand what the apostle Paul meant when he said: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

I am still plumbing the depths of that phrase. I have read scripture and books and meditated on it and yet there is more for me to grasp.

It is an astonishing statement. Paul is saying his old self – the very core of his being – has died and it has been replaced by Jesus Christ.

You might say that Paul has gone too far. Jesus Christ has replaced my inner being? How can that be?

What I believe he is saying is that I underwent a personality change when Christ entered my life. Christ is taking control of me.

But the big question is: How does that square with what I see happening in my life? There is a lot in my life which is not Christ-like.

Indeed, Paul deals with that issue in Romans 7. He talks about the continuing influence of the flesh – the mental, emotional and physical desires and habits that I have built up over a lifetime. Some of these are bad for me, spiritually, emotionally and physically.

So, what difference does it make to believe that Christ is in control and not me?

A very big difference.  How I think will influence how I act (Matt. 12: 34-35).

Paul speaks about this in the sentence following the one I quoted above: “The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2: 20)

What this is telling me is that if I have faith that Jesus really is the new “me”, it will change the way I live.

And that is what I am finding out.  Not quickly – for I am slow by nature.  Yet Jesus is changing the way I think.  And I believe that will change the way I act.

I will come back to this topic again.  I have much more to learn.

This is my first post.  This blog will jump from one thing to another as I think about what Christ is doing in my life and in the life of my family.

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