Saturday, May 21, 2016
Last week we were out of town visiting family. I got to do something I rarely do....visit another church. It was a great service. The worship was God focused, the teaching was biblical and well done and the church family was warm and engaging. I pretty much loved the whole thing....
...until the pastor closed in prayer with these words, "Thank you, Father, that we are deserving of your love..."
Wow! I thought for a moment, "did he really just say that??" I couldn't believe it!
First of all, it's profoundly untrue. That alone should have been obvious to him if he had read almost any of Paul's letters...Romans, Galatians, Ephesians...well, you get the idea. In all of them Paul makes it clear that what God did was totally undeserved by us! In fact, we deserved wrath not grace. To see God's grace when we were his enemies is a totally undeserved gift of God.
Second, if his prayer were true it would put God in debt to us. It would mean that he owed us salvation, because, by God, we deserve it! Clearly, apart from Christ, all we "deserve" is wrath!
Third, this simple idea of us deserving God's love elevates us above God. Imagine that! We, the fallen sinful rebellious creatures are elevating ourselves above God. We deserve his love, look at us God, you owe us! Now step up! This idea assaults the nature of both God and man.
And, last, in my little tirade, when I believe I deserve God's love I am not seeing myself clearly. It makes it really hard to grow in faith when I think I am better than God reveals I am. To esteem myself worthy of God's love clouds the truth about my nature and where I am in my walk with God.
I do not deserve God's love!! Neither do you! The fact that he gave it at all is amazing, wonderful, glorious and gracious...because he gave it when we were his enemies, when we hated him, when we hung him on a tree and spit on him. It is totally undeserved, totally free...and, it's available to any one of us unworthy undeserving sinners who will receive it.
Am I deserving of God's love? Not at all! But I'm so thankful he gave it anyway.