“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, [Jesus] died for us.” Romans 5:8
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent [Jesus] into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us…[and] since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:8-10a, 11
In the last few posts, I articulated a worldview that I will now attempt to summarize in a single sentence:
Because a personal sense of insecurity is the root of every evil choice, the only way to live a life that is truly good is to – by faith – live as people who are completely secure (i.e. unconditionally loved).
I also shared the good news with you: you are unconditionally loved. As God’s creation and as is eternally articulated through the passion and resurrection of Jesus, you are loved without exception or condition.
Practically speaking, your salvation lies in the acceptance of the above reality. Not because you must arbitrarily adhere to some religious doctrine in order to be saved. Rather, it stands to reason that only the secure person is truly free…free of guilt, fear and the desperate need to self-protect and self-promote…free to protect and promote others…free to accept and give love courageously and with integrity. And there is only one faith that announces a God who is, in very nature, Love and thus capable of driving out our fear and making us completely secure. That God is manifest in the person of Jesus, and He makes possible the eternal kind of life, the life worth living, the life that leads to greater harmony and connectedness, the good life. Such a life – based in true security – is only possible because of His grace.
Grace is the cornerstone of unconditional love.
Grace is undeserved favor. Without it, everything falls apart. Most religions articulate a reality governed by karma or something like it. You reap what you sow. No more and no less. If you do good, you receive good in return. If you do bad, you receive bad in return. There is truth to this, but if it is the final word on all reality, our only hope for salvation is our own capacity to maintain a “white-knuckle” goodness that will outweigh our mistakes and earn us a ticket to some etherial paradise. But grace, which is a concept unique to the Judeo-Christian God, interrupts the downward spiral of bad karma in this life and the next. Grace means that no mistake you’ll ever make is destructive enough to isolate you from the love of God. It also means that there is nothing you can do to earn His love.
Love is a gift, and gifts cannot be earned or lost.
Gifts may only be accepted or rejected, but the decision whether or not to give a gift lies squarely in the hands of the Giver. And He has made His decision. It will not be revoked. God – made manifest in the person of Jesus – loves us…unconditionally…without exception. And the key struggle of our lives – in every decision and on our last day – will be to accept or reject this truth.
Do you believe it?
To reject the true nature of our immense value and security in God’s eyes is to systematically invest in our own destruction. It means looking to other broken people, systems and habits to validate us. Enter fear, guilt, hiding and blaming. Enter addictions, isolation and death. The best way to waste your life is to insist on your own worthlessness.
Do you believe it?
To accept the true nature of our immense value and security in God’s eyes is to systematically invest not only in our own re-creation but also in the re-creation of all things. It means incarnating – amidst other broken people, systems and habits – the message of our God who is Love. Instead of taking from them, we give. Enter freedom, forgiveness, fearlessness and faith. Enter grace and the glory of reconciliation with ourselves, others and the God of the Universe.
You are not a waste…not to Him. He made you. You are His poem. You are His masterpiece.
Do you believe it?