Some of us have our roots in a type of Christianity that emphasized Law instead of Grace. Many of those dear preachers who influenced me early, knew God personally in ways that I still admire and seek to emulate. They were mighty in the word and afraid of none, but, to a young preacher, back then, the message I heard seemed to be “you better get right with God or else.” My view of God was one of a God who certainly loved me, and who had given His Son for me, but who also required me to walk on eggshells because, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place beholding the good and the evil (Proverbs 15:3).” I was constantly being reminded of my evil. The everlasting love of God was mentioned and sometimes rejoiced in, but hardly emphasized because it was thought that if you talked much about the love of God you might lead people to think that God was “easy.” Speaking too much about the love of God might lead someone to believe that they could get away with sin. And we all knew that what separated the liberal preacher from the Bible believing preacher was that the liberal always preached on the love of God and never on God’s wrath. We Bible believers felt it our obligation to remind people (especially church folks) that God was watching them and that they had to be careful to dot every “i.”
As I have grown older in the Lord, and I hope wiser in the things of God, I have come to realize that the most sanctifying thing in heaven and on earth is the love of God. God’s love never gives permission to wander into forbidden fields. God’s love never allows us to discount holiness or give vent to our fleshly lusts. The experienced love of God ever draws us into closer fellowship with Him. It draws us with a sweet attraction and wins our affection through a constant courtship until our greatest desire is to please Him. The love of God teaches us to love our Bibles and to love our neighbors and it teaches us to love our God supremely. We love Him because he first loved us (1John 4:19).
The Law needs to be preached. Sinners need to know how much the Law condemns them. Sinners never feel their need of a Savior until they feel their offense to God and know the lostness of their souls. But when they are translated out of the Kingdom of Darkness into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, they need to see how much God loves them and wants to be with them. Saved sinners are His delight. Saved sinners are welcomed into His Presence and saved sinners are changed into His likeness as they gaze on Him. Saved sinners are the very fabric of sainthood. A sinner who, by the grace of God, quits loving his sins and starts loving Christ, moves from condemnation to salvation, and from the realms of the damned to being the very delight of God.
God has completely freed us to enjoy Him and His Love. As the catechism asks and answers: What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever (emphasis mine).
So often we sing better than we preach. I say amen to the old Hymn by P. P. Bliss
Free from the law—oh, happy condition!
Jesus hath bled, and there is remission;
Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.Chorus
Once for all—oh, sinner, receive it;
Once for all—oh, brother, believe it;
Cling to the cross, the burden will fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all.
There on the cross your burden upbearing,
Thorns on His brow your Savior is wearing;
Never again your sin need appall,
You have been pardoned once for all.
Now we are free—there’s no condemnation;
Jesus provides a perfect salvation:
“Come unto Me,” oh, hear His sweet call,
Come, and He saves us once for all.
Children of God—oh, glorious calling,
Surely His grace will keep us from falling;
Passing from death to life at His call,
Blessed salvation once for all.
I am so blessed that God loves me. Not just in a general sense but particularly. He loves me, and that means He wants to be with me and wants me to want to be with Him. The demands of His Law have been perfectly satisfied in Christ. I am in Christ. My sins are gone and my heavenly Father loves me with the same love with which He loves Christ.
Never be afraid of God’s love. Trust it and you will find that you are fellowshipping with Him. Lowly sinner/saint that you are, you are reveled in by the Lord of glory! Revel in Him and in His love.