Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. (THE MESSAGE)
An old story tells of a new king who wanted to visit the very poorest person in his kingdom. A frail and poor widow was found and was told the king wished to visit her and grant her help. Over weeks, she continually put off the visit because she felt her home was not clean enough, her appearance not attractive enough. And so she never got a visit because she never felt she was worthy of it.
The Christian faith can sometimes be distorted in a similar way. In order for God to pay us a visit and bless us with mercy and new life, we have to clean up our act. Passages like the one today remind us that this is not true. God didn’t wait till we were worthy or pure or good to send Jesus on his rescue mission. He meets us as we are.
Trying desperately to be worthy of God’s love and acceptance is a loser’s game. He comes to us as we are and we come to him as we are. Once forgiven and accepted through such faith in him, then of course God gets to work on us helping us tidy up our lives. The way we live does matter, but a changed life comes after his accepting us just as we are.
We live good lives in gratitude for his acceptance of us, not to earn that acceptance.
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