Truth and love are always held in tension. Any husband knows that. When asked if he likes the new hair-do, is he truthful or loving? (That’s autobiographical material, by the way. I admit to telling Bev what she wanted to hear most of the time because of love.) When a friend is making what appears to be a very poor choice but is so excited about it, do we express our reservations or do we choose to join their enthusiasm? Individually we choose, too often I think, to ‘love’ ourselves and avoid the truth. We know what we need to do about our weight, our failure to deal with some habit, a relationship that needs attention, our discipleship – but we make excuses for not dealing with the reality of life.
Jesus told us that “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV) His first audience was offended, insisting that they were not slaves to anyone. He saw deeper. “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36, NIV) We all need to learn that Truth! We are slaves of the sinful nature, living separated from our Creator Father. We grow so accustomed to that spiritual state we do not even realize how dire our situation. But, when the Spirit visits, revealing the Truth about God and His love, inviting us to receive His grace and be restored to the family of God, there is a choice of faith to be made.
That choice involves accepting the Truth that is hard. “I am a sinner.” Confronted by God’s Word, we love to point to the good things we have done, to our morality, perhaps to our achievements, insisting that we are not so bad as they are, “they” being the ‘really bad people.’ We also like to rewrite history to justify the stains of the past: the wrong decisions, the selfish moments, the God-rejecting choices. And, in this ‘love’ of ourselves, we perpetuate the slavery, living a life that is less than God desires for us and, worst of all, destined for death. Nobody likes to face that Biblical truth.
Speaking of the anger of God is thought by many in the 21st century to be the most unloving thing we can do. “How could you love yourself so little,” they ask, “that you would believe in a God Who would judge and destroy?” The truth is that the love and mercy of God demonstrated in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice become a gross absurdity unless we are willing to accept the truth that “all have sinned… and the wages of sin is death.”
If we are innately good and living as God desires why would He have become a Man, suffered with us to give His life a sacrifice for sin? He did so because He loved a world gone wrong, desiring to save us from the grasp of evil. That awful Truth of the reality of sin and death is set in the context of this amazing Truth: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s judgment.” (Romans 5:8-9, NLT)
When, by faith, we receive that Truth, personalizing it, we live in a new truth about ourselves, “I was a sinner, now I am child of God, saved by grace.” This is true- for you, for me, who believe: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6, NIV)
This Monday morning are you choosing to live in truth?
The hard truth is matched by the amazing love of God. Saved by grace we grow into creatures of beauty, full of His love.
Meditate on our word from the Word and let the power of the Truth change the day for you. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:1-3, NIV)
How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One\
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts no pow’r no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
Why should I gain from His reward
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
Stuart Townend © 1995 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)
CCLI License # 810055