As we start a New Year, we all seem to anticipate what will become of 2019. There is a desire to build on what was accomplished in 2018 mixed with other new goals for the year. To be honest, we all hope that we can achieve even a few of these goals.
It shouldn’t surprise us that we are wired that way. God has created us to be productive people who honor Him in everything we do. Yet, truth be told, we struggle to give Him honor in goals and tasks accomplished. We often pin the blame on Him when things go wrong, but when things go right, we tend to beat our chests and point to our accomplishments as something we have achieved all by ourselves. When things go right, we want all the credit. When things go wrong, well, we blame others.
This, beloved, is a heart issue. It is a sinful condition for all those who are outside the grace and salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. It even finds itself in the life of the believer in Christ as our sin continues to reveal itself. With or without Christ, we are a fickle people. As a creation, we are selfish and self-absorbed. If we are outside of Christ, the Bible calls us enemies, haters, ungodly and revilers against God. That is our heart condition. Yet, there is a difference between those with or without Christ, and it is wrapped up in the divine love of God. He extends His love to both, but it is only received by those who have turned from their sin and to faith in Christ.
Our ungodly actions in of and of themselves require swift justice and judgment from a holy God. All those heart attitudes and actions demand a guilty verdict with a sentence of condemnation. Yet the beauty of God in Christ is that He offers the good news one needs to hear, even as we stand in rebellion to the only true and living God. Outside of Christ you stand in judgment. In Christ you stand in His grace.
Beloved, this is the beauty of the revelation of Christ. He has come to save, redeem, forgive, love and even give grace to the undeserving sinner. That, my friends, is a divine love that is profound.
Let me give you a passage of Scripture to ponder, as it defines this truth that I have been writing about. Romans 5:8–11 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”
There is much truth expressed in this passage. It explains the heart of God by showing how He put His love into action. God demonstrated His love by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. Why? Because we are sinners. Paul says that we have been justified by His blood, which means that Christ’s death on the Cross satisfies the payment for guilty sinners. God accepts the death of His divine Son as the atoning sacrifice to redeem us from the guilt and condemnation of our sins. This isn’t a sloppy, mushy type of emotional love; no, this is a planned, eternal, directed type of divine love that is purposeful and has impacted every soul who has ever lived.
Jesus Christ’s willingness to come lay down His life for sinners and atone for their sins makes God’s love even more awe-inspiring. Why? Because you can test the depth of someone’s love by whether the receiver deserves it. The depth of Jesus’ love is shown in the measure of His sacrifice. He died for the ungodly. He died so that we might live. He gave His life to people who don’t deserve it and don’t reciprocate.
That is the heart of the Gospel, the good news, that demands our response. As you ponder what is next, may you humble yourself and turn from a condemned heart of ungratefulness to faith in a demonstrated love that led Jesus to pay the price and penalty for your sins.
May 2019 be the year you receive His undeserved divine love as you come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Only then will you find peace, hope, and forgiveness of the sins that you have committed. Turn to Jesus. Oh, and Happy New Year!