Love Much

Sin isn’t the problem Faith is. We often don’t have the faith to see how good and loving God is.  The devil uses sin to separate us from God. His plan of deception brought shame into our lives. He still does it today. Jesus took all our sin and the power of sin. How?  It is His nature.  God is a God who justifies the ungodly.

Rom 4:5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God). (AMP)

His Grace and mercy forgives me. His willingness to die for us demonstrates his love for us. He didn’t die on the cross out of obligation. It wasn’t a legal contractual binding obligation that needed to be fulfilled by God to settle accounts or balance stuff because HIS bank account was short. He has everything. My sin or unbelief or rebellion or rejection absolutely has no impact on His condition or legal position. It isn’t like there is this great cosmic law that says sin must be balanced by punishment. That is a contrived concept based on fallen human wisdom. That is the thinking that drove us into the bushes.  Don’t believe me?  OK, here is a story that is in the Bible on purpose and it isn’t the only one like it.  Look carefully at what Jesus did and what the Jews said about God.  This is before the cross.  No “sacrifice” yet.  No “payment” yet.  Look closely for God’s nature to forgive just because He is God.

Mark 2:3 And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. 4 And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. 5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” 6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (ESV)

Can you see that God can forgive sins?  Can you see that Jesus came to forgive sins?  Can you see that forgiving sins or healing the sick are the same to God?  They require no effort, sacrifice, commitment or even belief by the participant.  They didn’t know who He was.  God doesn’t need a payment.  He says this:

Matt 12: 6 I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. 7 And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath.” (ESV)

Fallen human nature requires balance.  God does not.  He is outside the rules, greater than the temple, Lord of the Sabbath.  Please see this truth.  The devil uses sin in your life against you.  God does not.  God forgives period.  Are you beginning to see that the cross is so much more than just a payment for sin?  It is God Himself dying at the hands of man.  Can’t you hear Him saying “this is how much I love you”?  The sin thing is a huge distraction that the enemy uses to bring condemnation into your life so you won’t turn to your loving Father.  It is a tool of the enemy to put a wedge between you and God.  This is why God says He doesn’t even remember you sin any more (Heb 8, 10).

Jesus also had this amazing exchange with this amazing woman:

Luk 7:47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven — for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “ Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “ Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “ Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (ESVST)

In this story why do we feel obligated to say “well she was a prostitute so she had really bad sins so she was extremely grateful for her huge forgiveness”?  Gratefulness is not love.  What if we have it backwards?  What if her capacity to love was complimentary to her ability to see God’s forgiveness?  Could it be that when we see how much he loves us our desire for balance is lost?  Think of it this way: When I know someone loves me then I am willing to share more of my most intimate secrets, hurts, desires with them. When I know I am loved I just open up. When I know I am loved I don’t see judgment of any kind. When I know I am loved I know I am already forgiven. When I look into the loving eyes of Jesus I know that the stuff I thought was awful and horrible and hated by God is actually not even on his list. He just sees me.

Of course I am forgiven. Look at this Jesus and how he is love. He can’t be mad at me. Look into his eyes and see.  I see no judgment, no condemnation no fury or scorn. I see nothing even remotely like that. Look at how he looks at me. Look at how he loves me. I would give my life for this God. I would go anywhere and do anything. I am invincible with Him beside me. I am unbeatable with Him in me. Just look at how he loves me. All that sin stuff and thoughts about any angry God evaporates here at his feet looking into his eyes.

For the person that “loves little” they don’t have this same capacity for love.

Don’t forget this truth:

1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (hilasmós) for our sins.

2434 hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease (satisfy) an angry, offended party

Who is the angry party?  We are.  The garden is the proof.  We ran and hid, God came to the rescue.  We turned to religion, Jesus heals on the Sabbath.  We want to do it ourselves, God does it for us.  We needed to see a payment because we needed a payment because we need balance.  God went so far as to satisfy our fallen-nature-insistence for balance.  Can you see it?  God is love.  His infinite love for us cannot be balanced.  This is what the woman saw in the eyes of Jesus.  One more verse to seal the deal.

John 3:17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (AMP)

OK I said one more verse but I can’t resist even one more:

1 Cor 13:5 Love is not rude [disrespectful], is not selfish [self-serving], and does not get upset with others [is not easily provoked/angered]. Love does not count up [keep a record of] wrongs that have been done. (EXB)

Jesus loves you that much.  The more you know His love the more you know you are forgiven.  Legal arguments about balance and payments may point you to Him but only you sitting at His feet will make you whole.  I know I am forgiven.  I know you are forgiven.  I know that Jesus loves you that much.  When you can love much you will see you are forgiven.  You can love much when you know you are loved.  Look in His eyes and see His love for you.  He loves you so much.  Get saturated with that truth.  Let the Holy Spirit brag about His love for you.  Let Him love you.  Then…love much!

Yay God!

Lance

 

 

Grace

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