Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Good Covenant For Bad Kids

Having nothing to offer God is only a bad thing if the covenant between God and man requires something from me. There was a covenant like that; a covenant aimed to show that we could never be right with God if God related to us on the basis of us having to contribute something to the relationship.

On the other hand, if there is a covenant between God and man that requires God to do everything to satisfy every nuance of relationship between Creator and creature, and we stand before him with nothing in our hands, the only issue is whether our pride can both admit to our utter and complete failure to bring anything to the table, and can accept the glorious and gracious gift that God has provided.

Because I grew up trying to be the good boy who never got into trouble (outbursts of anger traumatized me), it has been an exceptionally difficult journey for me to admit to my absolute and complete inability to do anything good enough to earn right relationship with God through my own good works.

I don’t mean that I didn’t understand the gospel from a young age, and that we are all sinners, and that the wages of sin is death, and only Jesus dying for our sins gives us life with God. Rather, it has been a long and gracious work of God to bring me to feel the love God has for sinners, for people who have utterly failed to bring any good thing to the table.

What happens when God seems to drive the glory of his grace deeper into my heart than I have ever felt it before, and it makes me so conscious of how sinful I am in myself, without any thought that I can blame anyone at all for the sins and failures of my soul?

It makes me feel more love and accepted in Jesus Christ than I ever felt when trying to hide my badness under a mirage of good works.

It is not that God loves me more when I admit to being a sinner than when I am trying to show him how good I am (this has come to appear very familiar as I consider the toddler stage of maturity with the many children who have gone through our daycare).

Rather, it is simply that there is a dimension of God so loving the world that we can only appreciate when we know how sinful we were when he loved us and gave his Son for us. There is something of knowing the love of God that becomes experientially real only when we are in the very midst of an undeniable moment of guilt, and shame, and fear, and we suddenly get it that God demonstrated his love to us through the cross while we were still sinners.

Which then brings us to enjoy the childlike wonder of this new covenant in Jesus Christ in which all the requirements of relationship with God are fulfilled on God’s side of the table, and our side of the table only requires us to respond with the faith that receives the gift.

As God’s Book says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And, “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.”

What God has done by grace, we can receive by faith. And, while this removes any right to boast, it liberates us into the childlike delight of expressing our wonder at having such a great and glorious Father who has loved us before he even began creating the world, and did everything required to have us as his own. Forever.

© 2017 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

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