August 1st 2010

God Is For You

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.”
“…for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me,
and have believed that I came forth from God.”
John 15:9; 16:27 (NKJV)

A psychologist named Lawrence Kohlberg developed an elaborate test to measure maturity in the area of moral reasoning. He concluded that good behaviour to avoid punishment is the lowest form of motivation for doing what is right.

Is this what Christian repentance is like? Do we simply modify our behaviour in order to avoid punishment? Is Christianity just one among many means of pursuing moral development?

Many Christians tend to think of holiness as being the same thing as sinlessness. And while that may not be totally wrong, that perspective has a major flaw. Holiness is not an absence of something, namely sin. Holiness is the presence of something greater, namely, participation in the life of God. In other words, it is possible to try to clean away all our sin, but even if we were to succeed (and that’s a mighty big “if,” since no one has ever done it except Jesus) we would still be missing out on an authentic Christian life.

Authentic repentance is not when we turn away from something, it’s when we turn toward God, who loves us, and who is unswervingly committed to sharing with us the fullness, joy and love of the Triune life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Turning to God is like opening our eyes, letting the light shine in so we can see the truth of God’s love, truth that has always been there, but that we could not see because of the darkness of our minds.

The Gospel of John describes Jesus as the light that shines in the darkness, the light that the world could not understand. But when we put our trust in Jesus, we can begin to see him as the Father’s beloved Son, our Saviour and older Brother in whom we are cleansed from sin and made right with God. And when we see Jesus for who he really is, we begin to see ourselves for who we really are—God’s beloved children (1 John 3:2).

Jesus said he came to give us life and life more abundantly. The gospel is not just some new and better behaviour modification programme. It’s the good news that we are near and dear to the Father’s heart and that Jesus Christ is the living proof of the Father’s unrelenting purpose of drawing us into the joy of the eternal love he shares with his Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Whoever you are, God is for you, not against you. Let him open your eyes to his love.

Dear Father, thank you for your love. Undeserved, extended to us even before we knew that we needed it, or that it existed. You called us out of our lifestyle into yours because you loved us and want only the best for us. Help us always to focus on your love, Father, because that is what will motivate us in our Christian walk with you.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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