Tuesday, December 11, 2007

love without boundaries

Yesterday I blogged about how "conscientious" Christians like me often obey God from fear of failure or God's displeasure, rather than from a desire to please the God who loves them. This morning I was walking and praying, and thinking about God's love for me, when it struck me: God's love has absolutely nothing to do with what I do!

Well, duh, I hear you say, that's just the gospel, I know that already. But I am blown away by it every time. I know God loves me, but surely it's because Jesus' death means he has to, not because he wants to! How could God possibly regard me with love, affection and joy when I disappoint him (and myself) so often?

But then I remember that God chose me to be his own before he laid the foundations of the world, long before I had done anything good or bad:
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. (Eph. 1:4-5; and see Rom. 9:11; Deut. 7:6)

He didn't send his Son to die for me because I was obviously trying really hard to be good, but when I hated him with every fibre of my being:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ... [W]hen we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son. (Rom. 5:8)

I find it nearly impossible to believe, aware of my imperfections as I am, but the fact is that he sees me - me! - as holy and perfect, flawless and beautiful in his sight:
He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. (Col. 1:22)

And I am so incredibly precious to him, that he actually rejoices over me with singing!
The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,

he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17)

God's love is free and joyous. He doesn't love me because he needs to, or because I deserve it. He loves me simply because - well, because he loves me. His love doesn't vary according to how obedient I've been or how lovable I feel. The measure of how precious I am to him is the infinite value of his only beloved Son. His love for his people knows no limits and no boundaries.

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