Tag Archives: Jesus loves me

The Father Himself

 

Grace 101

“Jesus loves me, this I know, but the Father wants to destroy me because of my sin.”  That’s what many people have been taught.  Somehow Jesus intervenes between us and the wrath God wants to pour out on us.  It’s a good thing we have Jesus to protect us from God.  That’s what they think.

But how sad is that?  And how wrong?  There is an anger, a passion, that builds in the heart of God because of sin.  He hates sin, there is no question about that.  But that’s why the Father sent the Son.  To destroy the power of sin over us and release us from sin’s influence.  In Jesus, the Father destroys sin.

Think about that for a moment.  Who initiated the whole salvation plan?  Who loved us from the beginning?  God has been on our side all along.

We commit theological error if we believe the Son does anything contrary to the Father’s will or even to the character of the Father.  Jesus said that He and the Father are One.  From eternity, Father-Son-Spirit have been One.  One mind, one heart, one motivation toward us.

The Christian gospel is not about the Son doing battle with the Father to protect us from the Father’s wrath.  The gospel is not about us narrowly escaping eternal punishment by hiding from God behind Jesus.  The gospel is about how much God loves us.  He loved us so much that He sent His Son to save us.

I think Jesus understood that the legalists of His and our day would get this mixed up.  So in John 16:27 He makes it very clear:

“The Father Himself loves you!”

But what about God’s wrath?  I know that if that topic were taken away a lot of preachers wouldn’t have anything to say on Sunday morning.  But God’s wrath is not against you and me.  God’s wrath is against sin.

Let me use a silly illustration.  Suppose you are holding some kind of homing transmitter that leads a missile to its target.  The missile is in the air, headed to the transmitter, ready to blow up everything in its target range.  Now, as long as you hold that transmitter, you are in trouble.  That missile is headed toward you.  All you have to do is drop the transmitter and get out of range.  But if you insist on holding it, the missile will get you.

Okay, God’s wrath is against sin.  He sent Jesus to separate you from sin, both your personal sin and the corporate sin of humanity.  If you refuse Jesus, then the wrath of God is headed your way—not to get you but to get sin.  If you want to be safe from the wrath of God, come to Jesus.

But listen: those who have come to Jesus are free from sin and have no reason to fear the wrath of God.  In fact, the wrath of God has nothing to do with believers.

And this was the Father’s idea from the beginning . . . because He loves you!

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Filed under grace, Grace 101, Grace definition, Legalism

What I know about you

 . . . you are loved!

 

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you have done, or what you believe—one thing I know about you is that you are loved.   The message of the Bible is clear and consistent: God loves you.

“Even after what I have done?”  Even before you did it and knowing that you were going to do it!  He knows your failings, your compromises, your weaknesses, and your sins.  He knew it all from the beginning and He has loved you the whole time.  (Romans 5:8)

“Little old me?”  You only think you are insignificant!  The truth is that you are precious to Him and He wants you to be with Him forever.  It is true that God loves the whole world (John 3:16) but He also knows each person intimately and He loves every one.

“But I don’t feel loved.”  I understand that life can be difficult and things don’t seem to work the way they should.  Some people go through a great deal of pain and suffering.  Yet, God is there with love and compassion through the pain.  He never says that He will take us out of suffering.  He says He will walk through it with us.

“I don’t want His love!”  That’s okay.  He still loves you.  You can’t make Him stop, no matter what you do or say.  It doesn’t work like that.  He knows the struggle of your heart, your disbelief, and He is ready whenever you are.  At any moment, when your need is such that you want someone to love you, He will be there.  He won’t force you in any way, but He waits and hopes.  He has always loved you and He draws you with love (Jeremiah 31:3)

It is God’s nature to love you (I John 4:8) and He loved you before you loved Him.

The great theologian was asked to summarize the Christian gospel, the whole truth about our message.  He used words so familiar to us:

“Jesus loves me, this I know.”

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Filed under grace, Relationship, Theology and mystery, Uncategorized

Love is a person inside

A couple of weeks ago I came across a phrase that intrigued me.  I think it was on Facebook.  You have to understand that I sort of collect titles.  I really don’t care what the book or article is about, I just like some of the titles.  A good title communicates the message long before anyone reads the text.

So I read, “Love is a person inside,” and I began to think.  It’s true.  If I want to know what love really is, there is a person who can tell me.  A person inside.

Now, you understand that I write from a Christian perspective.  I believe in Jesus.  I believe that He is alive and active.  I believe that He is with me and that He loves me.  I believe that, when I came to Him for salvation, He exchanged His perfect life for my broken life and now He lives in me and I in Him.  No, I don’t fully understand all of this, but it is what the Bible teaches and it is what I have personally experienced.

So, the person inside me is Jesus.  That means something, something very practical when it comes to love.

First, it means that love is inside me.  The Lord loved me so much that He gave me new life and marked me as His forever by living within me.  The life in me today is Jesus.  My goal for the rest of my earthly days is to live in and through that life within me, rather than in the pattern of the old life I used to have.

The truth of the Christian life is that you are loved.  You are acceptable and accepted in Jesus.  He will never reject you and His heart toward you is always positive.  He always wants the best for you and nothing will come between you and Him.  Even when you fail in some way, He is there and He accepts you.  His love is truly unconditional.

But there is something more.  In those times when I find it hard to love someone (and there are those times), there is Someone inside me who does love that person.  When I get past myself and my feelings, I realize that the life in me, Jesus, already loves that person.

Yes, I believe that Jesus loves all people, no matter who they are or what they have done.  I do not believe that all are saved, as some are saying.  I do not believe that all are going to be welcome in Heaven, as some are saying.  But I do believe that Jesus went to the cross to make salvation available to all people—because He loved all people.  I don’t care about skin color, language, culture, background, current religion, or time in history.  Jesus loves all people.

So that person who cut me off in traffic, that person who cost me my job, that person who hurt someone I care about, and that person who wants to hurt me—all are loved by Jesus.  That does affect how I think about them.

This has nothing to do with their behavior or whether they are loveable.  They are still accountable for their sins and still answerable to justice.  We have all seen the amazing situation where the family of a young person forgives their child’s killer.   But that forgiveness does not stop justice.  The murderer may still be executed and, perhaps, should still be executed.  But the family is free of hate and bitterness.  How is that possible?  For most, it’s because of a person inside.

If you belong to Jesus, let Him love that person you cannot love.  Don’t force yourself to do anything.  Just know that the Person inside you is loving, even when you struggle.  You will find your heart changing as you accept that Jesus loves the person you cannot.

No, I don’t think this is inconsistent or unreasonable.  I think this is the Christian love we all talk about, but rarely experience.  We think Christian love is something we are supposed to do from ourselves: our sacrifice, our kindness, our forgiveness.  But that isn’t right.

Christian love is not our love.  Christian love flows from the Person inside.

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Filed under Freedom, grace, heart, Relationship

Where is Jesus?

 Jesus is alive and well.  He is where you are.  I have long been of the opinion that most of the Christian community isn’t so sure of that.  If you ask a Sunday School child where Jesus is, you will probably hear that He is in Heaven.  Where is Heaven?  Far away from here, that’s for sure.  So Jesus is far away.  The sad thing is that you will probably hear the same thing from an adult believer. 

But even those who believe Jesus is with us often say things like, “He is in my heart.”  It is interesting that we use the same expression to refer to the memory of someone who has died.  “She is alive in our hearts.”  But does that mean anything?  Does it mean anything real?  I hold the memory of my parents in my heart and I think of them often, but they are not here when I think I need them.  I wish I could talk with them and get their response, but I can’t.  Not really. 

No, it is not enough to say that Jesus is in Heaven.  Nor is it enough to say that He is in our hearts.  Jesus is real!  He is here!  He is with you right now and always.

Well, you say, I wish He would show Himself sometimes.  Yeah, me too.  But just because I can’t see Him or feel Him doesn’t mean that He isn’t here.  He has promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20).  God is with us.  He dwells with us, stays with us, always (Revelation 21:3).  Jesus is here.

I have a couple of pet peeves. 😉 One is when the preacher or worship leader tells us that God “showed up” at a certain gathering.  Maybe you showed up or woke up, but God was already there.  The other is the poem, “He has no hands but our hands to do His work today.”  What nonsense!  If Jesus has no hands, no ability, to do His work apart from us, then He is weak indeed.  Not true! 

Wherever you are, Jesus is there.  He loves you.  He never leaves you (Hebrews 13:5). 

Sometimes people ask me how to walk with Jesus.  The truth is that those who belong to Him never walk apart from Him.  They just have to open their eyes and hearts.  He is already where you are.  Believe that you are always in the presence of Jesus.  Talk with Him.  Live in the presence of His love.

Comments?

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Filed under heart, Relationship, Theology and mystery, Uncategorized