Seeing the goodness of Jesus

Seeing the goodness of Jesus

Sometimes we can feel like the Christian life is all about trying to stop doing things we shouldn’t be doing. After all, we’re all sinners. God, in his great mercy, often points out our sin to us as we read his Word and hear it explained. We can always do a better job of being a disciple.

It is easy to make any Christian feel down by asking how their prayer life is going. (It could always be better). Or by asking if they love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. (Honestly, not quite as much as that). We so easily see our faults and feel unworthy. And as we are unworthy, that’s an honest and helpful thing to notice.

We cannot stop there. We need to constantly remember the wonder of what it means that God loves us, and in his grace has sent Jesus to die for our sins. We are unworthy, yes, but we are forgiven too. We are sinners who are also saved and even adopted in the family of God. We have been saved from sin and saved to serve our Lord and Saviour who paid for us with his own blood.

If all we do is focus on our sin and unworthiness, we can lapse into acting as if our faith and Christian life are all about what we do. If only we do a better job of resisting temptation, we think, well then God will love me more because I am doing a good job. If I pray more, then maybe God will approve of me more.

God loves his children as much as possible right now because of Jesus. We are not approved of because we are doing a good job, only because Jesus did the perfect job in our place.

This means that learning to seek God’s kingdom first instead of our own needs and wants (as Matt 6 encourages us to) isn’t all about rejecting our needs and wants. It is about seeing how wonderful God and his kingdom are. Unless we are convinced that God and his kingdom are better, we won’t actually put them first. Christians should be thankful people, people filled with joy at what God has done for us!

It should be common practice for us to notice God’s goodness in creation and in salvation. God has given me another day: how wonderful! God has kindly healed my recent cold, and once more, I have enough to eat and more than I need. God has loved me, even though I am unlovable, and has given his own Son for me. I have a certain hope of a glorious future because God has dealt with my sin and set me free.

By all means, we need to notice our sin and deal with it. But if we do this without remembering the goodness and love of God, we can become dour legalists. Never lose the amazement that God’s grace is amazing, to save wretches like us.