I’m beginning to learn that, in those moments when I want to be someone/something different entirely, the gospel is fresh and real. I go to Romans 5 and am reminded that while I was still weak, Christ died for me. Christ died for me even though I talk too much, and don’t listen well, and settle for normal living, and am flighty and fickle, and overly zealous at times, and stir up controversy. That doesn’t excuse any of those things….but it makes God’s love so much more glorious, especially when He is so perfect and chose to love me based on nothing that is good or desirable in me.
That is an amazing type of love. It’s a really freeing type of love. When you don’t earn or merit love, you don’t have to keep working to earn or merit it. His love is ours, freely and fully. It doesn’t change from day to day. It doesn’t wane with time. He doesn’t grow tired of us. He will never leave or forsake us even though we will continue to fail and sin against Him as long as we live on this earth.
It’s also a very humbling type of love.
We have several examples of this type of love in Scripture (think of Hosea and Gomer, Ruth and Boaz, Salmon and Rahab) which serve as pictures of Christ’s love. The Bible doesn’t include these love stories so that Hollywood could make an extra buck off similarly themed romantic films. No, these stories serve to point us to Christ because He is what we are longing for. He alone loves sinners perfectly. He loved His wicked Bride, pursued her, called her out, initiated reconciliation with her, gave Himself for her, cleansed her, and made her holy and pure and without blemish.
He sees all our sins and flaws, knows all of our weaknesses intimately and completely, and chooses to love us fully and freely in spite of it and at great cost to Himself. At the same time, he patiently bears with us, disciplines us and tries us to in order to make more of us. He will not allow us to remain as we are and yet doesn’t give up on us. He doesn’t walk away. He will not give up on us until we become fully like Him!
The tricky part is that we have to be willing to own up to our weakness and failures. We can’t pretend like we are worthy and deserving of His love, nor can we pretend we don’t desperately need His righteousness. In order to do that we have to let go of our pride…..which is no easy task. We have to look in the mirror and admit we can’t ever live up to what He has called us to be. We need Christ to cover EVERY part of us. We needed Him to become sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. We desperately need a righteousness that isn’t ours because we have none.