“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
I don’t know about you, but sometimes this verse resonates with me more than any other. Especially at past times in my life. Sometimes, all I can think of is how short I do fall of the glory of God. At times, it aches to know just how sinful I am. It’s against every bit of logic that I have that God could still love me. Yet He does.
This post is about love. More importantly, it’s about the greatest love we could ever receive. It’s also about the love that we often feel unworthy of.
I was having a conversation about sin with one of my friends the other night. My friend, while I can’t remember the exact words, said something to the effect of, “Right after I know I’ve sinned, I just don’t get why God should love me.” Honestly, this is something that I think we all wrestle with. When we sin, when we disobey the Father and hurt Him, how could He possibly love us?
It’s a question that was also posed in a similar way by Francis Chan in his book “Crazy Love,” which I’ve been reading lately: “So why does God still love us, despite us?”
Chan says that even he does not have a full answer to that question. He does provide Isaiah 64:6 here to help explain it. In its entirety, the verse reads:
“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a lead, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”
That’s pretty heavy stuff. It’s practically telling us our good works mean nothing if you weigh them against our sins. Chan uses this all to say that God’s love is truly the only thing that can make us redeemable and allow that sin to be washed away.
I agree with that, and I also have my own way of looking at it. I believe that if you conclude that our good, righteous acts don’t take us any closer to being clean of sin, especially in the sense of being any better or more worthy of God’s love than anyone else, you can also logically conclude that are sinful acts will not remove us further from the love of God. I say that with a slight caveat: are sinful acts do not take us further from the love of God, so long as we approach God with a repenting heart after we have sinned.
God desires us more than anything. The thought of God longing for a relationship with us is a difficult one to wrap our heads around. He desires us so much that there is absolutely nothing that we can do that will damage how much He loves us.
It may sound like a little bit of a paradox, but God’s amazing, abounding love is the only thing that makes us worthy of His love. I’ll say it again. God’s love is the reason that we deserve His love. Because, yes, we are sinners. Yes, our sin does separate us from God. But in love, God sent his Son so that that sin has all been washed away.
Our value is not defined by our sins but by our hearts. Our identity is in our Lord, not in what we’ve done. I think Francis Chan sums it up well:
“God’s mercy is a free, yet costly gift. It cannot be earned. Our righteous acts…certainly don’t help us deserve it. The wages of sin will always be death. But because of God’s mercy, sin is paid for through the death of Jesus Christ, instead of the death of you and me.”
With God’s love, we are assigned infinite value. Ephesians chapter 2 captures this beautifully. For the sake of saving space, I won’t share it all here, but I strongly encourage you to take a moment to read it on your own, maybe even aloud to yourself, and just reflect on it.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”
Even when you are caught up in sin and feel unworthy of God, remember how unconditional His boundless love is and that those sins have already been washed clean. For through the Father’s love, we are renewed.
To God be the Glory.