Read John 15:9
I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. You must go on living in my love. (JBP)
We say we believe in grace. We accept as fundamental that God loves each and every one of us. But experiencing all this,embracing it with our whole beings and letting it shape our lives-that is another thing altogether. We still figure that we are unworthy of God’s attention. We still reckon that he might just love others a bit more than us given our character flaws. We still live as if God’s acceptance and love of us is dependent on how busy we are for him.
It is at once so simple and so difficult to realise that our basic identity is that of those who are beloved of God. And that this love shown to us is not because we are always loveable or useful or obedient. In rushing around trying to be worthy of that love,in scouring our souls for things that might be preventing that love coming our way,we make it even harder to realise we are beloved by God just as we are.
We can’t hope to live in God’s love unless we truly realise we are objects of his love. The God who is indescribably powerful and utterly holy has set his personal love on us. And if we nod our heads at that and immediately rush on to say how unworthy we are of that love,we show we have not grasped the wonder of grace. Of course we sin and displease the one who loves us. But our sin is not the final reality: his grace is the rock-bottom reality.
I am not defined by my sin but by the fact that my sin has been dealt with by someone who had the power and will to do so. I am not,fundamentally,a wretched individual grudgingly befriended by a scowling deity. I am fundamentally beloved of God,aware of my faults but so much more aware of his grace and his love. Thus I can live in that love.