This kind of thinking is no gospel. Where is the good news?
This writer says, “If your love is distracted by someone else then you are not worthy. If your love is not given completely, then you are not worthy.”
But isn’t that the point? None, may I repeat this, none of us is worthy (Isaiah 64:6).
Scripture tells us we love God because He first loved us. We are not worthy of God’s love but that’s Who God is (God is love just don’t confuse with love is God…). God loves us and demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die for our sins and even our bad motives for good things we do.
Even our very effort to be worthy falls completely short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). Even if I can love God completely, I am still a fallen creature in need of saving.
I can’t pick myself up by my own bootstraps and “be worthy”. It’s impossible.
This is why we need grace. We’re not worthy of anything God gives us except His wrath, and Jesus is our propitiation (He satisfied God’s wrath for us and in our place). Without Christ, we are children of wrath but with Christ we are children of grace.
I am not worthy of God’s love but He certainly is worthy of my love and devotion. Thankfully I rest in Christ’s work on my behalf and not on my own effort or merit.
I am not worthy but Christ is worthy for me and in my place. That’s good news.
Paul writes in his second letter to the church at Corinth, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I awoke to a song on the radio about grace. Mmm…. Grace.
My thoughts turned to what is commonly known by theologians (pardon the pun) as common grace, as well as, special grace.
Both kinds of grace are mediated through Jesus.
John 1:3 explains, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” In other words, everything that exists is because it was created and made by Jesus. Romans 11:36 conveys this fact, “For from Him (Jesus) and through Him (Jesus) and to Him (Jesus) are all things. To Him (Jesus) be glory forever. Amen.”
Do you realize, you are alive this very moment by the power of Jesus? Hebrews 1:3 tells us, “He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
This is common to all of creation. All of creation is upheld by the word of his power!
Now what is so special about special grace? Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
It is this special grace that saves us. Paul continues in Ephesians, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
It is grace in Jesus that creates us. It is grace in Jesus that re-creates us through faith in Him. This is nothing of our own doing.
We have nothing to do with our first birth, and we have nothing to do with our second birth. It is all of grace.
And those good works we so want to do for God? Jesus is fruiting through us. In other words, it is the fruit of what Jesus has done on the cross that blooms in our lives (See Galatians 5).
This is good news! This is the Gospel because it is all of Jesus. This is grace.
“We glorify God by working out our own salvation. God has twisted together, his glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; his design of free grace takes effect, and God has the glory of his mercy; so that, while we are endeavoring our salvation, we are honoring God.
What an encouragement is this to the service of God, to think, “while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heaven, I am increasing God’s glory!”
Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, “You will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away”? So, for God to say, “Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified!”
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth: 1890, 2000), 13–14.
(HT: Peter Cockrell)