Here is what love is. It is not that we loved God. It is that He loved us and sent His Son to give His life to pay for our sins.
1 John 4:10 (NIRV)
I used to think my mistakes were too big, too many, and too deliberate for God to forgive. My shame told me God couldn’t love be because I’d turned my back on Him.
But I wanted God in my life so I tried to make up for my past by getting involved in church, attending regularly, taking Bible study. I tried to earn His love by following Jesus’ teaching. But I could never be sure I’d done enough to compensate for my mistakes. Did He love me yet? Am I in? Had I earned my ticket to heaven?
That’s where I stumbled. It’s never enough. Ever since Adam and Eve rebelled against God, we too have been trying to do things our own way instead of God’s way. As much as we try, we can’t ever do enough to get right with God. The crazy thing is that we’re already right with God because Jesus made us right by His death on the cross. All we have to do is believe it and claim God’s love. The ticket to heaven is free. Even so, letting go of my shame and accepting God’s view of me took time.
I love God because He loved me first. He accepted me in spite of myself. (tweet this)
The ‘stumbling block’ is that we receive God’s love by faith. We can’t earn His love by good deeds. Following Jesus doesn’t make us right with God. Until we stop focusing on our own efforts to please God we miss the point. We’re only right with God by believing that Jesus died on the cross in order to remove our sins. We follow Jesus in response to His love for us.
If you have time, explore these related posts:
Demonstrating Salvation with Good Works
Exchange Guilt for Grace
When I Loved Jesus for the Benefits
I’ve added links to supporting scripture. Click on the colored text to dig deeper.