“We must remind ourselves that God loves us, not because we are lovable, but because we are in Christ, and the love which the Father has for him flows over to us because we are in him.” – Jerry Bridges, Who Am I?
God doesn’t love us because we are lovable.
In fact, in and of ourselves we are very much unlovable. But Mark, you ask, aren’t I good enough, smart enough and doggone it don’t people like me? Yes, people may like you. Yes, you may be smart enough. But you’re not loveable enough to merit God’s blazing holy love that burns up all impurities in its presence.
The Bible gives us pretty rough assessment of our “lovableness”.
…as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Observe how lovable we are: we’re unrighteous, have no interest in or understanding of God. We’re worthless.Our throats are open graves – what a lovely stench! And the the venom of asps under our lips makes us doubly attractive to God, as well as our mouths full of curses and bitterness.
Can you imagine a husband saying to his wife, “I love you honey. Your mouth reminds me of an open grave. And your lips are like the venom dripping from a Gaboon Viper.” Somehow I don’t think that wife would feel particularly lovable.
Though our sin renders us repellent to God, when he saves us he not only washes our sins away, but he plunges us into Christ. We become so organically and intimately one with Christ that when God looks on Jesus he sees us, and when he looks on us he sees Jesus. When God loves Jesus, he loves us in him and when God loves us he loves his Son in us.
The Father doesn’t love believers because we are lovable, but because Jesus is infinitely lovable and God has made us one with Jesus. And because we are one with him, when the Father pours out his love on his Son, that love washes over us as well.
Let this truth fill you with joy today. No matter what kinds of trials you’re facing, remember the Father loves you with the love he has for his own Son. And nothing can separate you from that love. Ever.
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Mark Altrogge has been senior pastor of Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, Pennsylvania, since 1982. He has written hundreds of songs for worship, including “I Stand in Awe” and “I’m Forever Grateful.” Mark and his wife, Kristi, have four sons and one daughter.
Find out more on his blog, The Blazing Center.