Briefly, On God’s Love and Being In Jesus

I appreciated this post from Scott Sauls, particularly this opening quote from Rankin Wilbourne: “God does not love you to the degree that you are like Jesus. Rather, God loves you to the degree that you are in Jesus. And that’s 100 percent.”

One of the distressing operations of remaining sin is to convince the Christian that this is not true. Functionally, so many of us live our lives as if we need to do more to warrant God’s love, or prove that his love is well founded. As Sinclair Ferguson puts it in The Whole Christ, we exchange the beauty of God’s grace in our justification and sanctification for a sanctification built upon our own performance.

And we will fail. I can not be the Holy Spirit, just the Holy Spirit’s instrument. I think this is the source of so much Christian shame: I strive to be like Jesus, grounding my belief that God loves me based on how well I imitate the savior. And then I fail. I fail to follow Jesus well, I fail to avoid sin, and I feel as if I have failed the love of God. How much despair finds its origins here?

Repentance of sin and imitation of Christ are central to the Christian life, but only because our state is one of unseverable union with Christ. How freeing that it is! The wickedness of sin does not lessen, but the burden for the love of God is borne not by me, but by Jesus.