Such A Wicked, Wicked Child!

[This is the first part of a series on what the Bible teaches about our standing with God. Today’s post concerns God’s love and the fact that – despite sinning – we are always in God’s good pleasure. Tomorrow, part two will explore the finished work of Christ that has washed us clean and made us new inside and out.]

Boosting Cars, Smoking Dope

When our kids were young, my wife insisted on never telling them they were a good little boy or good little girl. You see, my wife knows what Jesus said in Mark 10:19 – “No one is good—except God alone.” We didn’t go around telling them they were worthless and wicked, of course. We often had the occasion to praise and encourage their good behavior, but none of those behaviors made them good.

As our son and daughter entered their teens, people would sometimes ask how the kids were. My usual response was, “Well, they’re not out boosting cars and smoking dope, so we’re doing OK.”

But you know what? Even if they were acting badly – or perhaps I should say when they acted badly – one thing remained true, real and unchangeable: they were still our kids. No matter how they act, good or bad, we’re always going to be their parents and they’re always our kids.

The Parent with Eternally Constant Love

Have you ever said something like this?

“I’m a horrible child of God.”

If you have, or anything remotely like it, let me clue you in to something.

You’re not.

You are not a disappointment to him, you are not displeasing to him and you are not a horrible child of God.

You are a beloved child, saved by his wonderful and extravagant grace, a grace that he showered on his people because he wanted to.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8-11.)

Let’s break that down.

  1. God decided to reconcile you to himself when you were still dead in your sins.
  2. Christ loves you so much that he gave his life for you.
  3. You are not now nor will you ever again be under God’s wrath.

Later, in Romans 8:1, Paul made it abundantly clear:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Do you see the word “no” in the middle of that verse? Here’s what it means in the original Greek:

“No”

“Nothing”

“Not”

It can’t be any clearer. The only one who has any right or authority to condemn you has eternally chosen not to.

Stop Playing God

Some people in God’s family still condemn themselves, though, and I have a question for them: Who are you to play God?

Satan is the one who accuses God’s people. (Zechariah 3:1.) Accusing yourself, then, means you have fallen for one of Satan’s trick. But because you are in Christ, the wonderful news is that Jesus himself advocates for us. (1 John 2:1.)

He doesn’t accuse us, he doesn’t condemn us, but instead he stands up for us. That’s what our brother, the firstborn of God’s family, does for us.

Eternally Beloved

The bottom line is this: you are an eternally beloved and eternally pleasing child of God no matter what you do. The reason for this is because God’s pleasure in you doesn’t depend on you , but on Jesus and what he has already done for you. If your past, present or future sins made a difference in how God views you, then Christ’s work would not be sufficient to remove God’s wrath from your life.

But it is. Finished, done, accomplished, past tense. And because of that, we never need to feel as if we should hide from God. Instead, because of the finished work of Jesus:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16.)

and,

In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12.)

It’s all true, and it’s all by God’s grace.

[Check out part two to explore the finished work of Christ that has washed us clean and made us new inside and out.]

***

Questions to ponder:

When are you hardest on yourself? Why?

Is this the way you think God sees you? Why (or why not)?

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11 Responses to Such A Wicked, Wicked Child!

  1. Jeannie says:

    Great post, Tim — thanks for reminding us again of God’s amazing love. As you mentioned the parent analogy: I’ve been reading a book called “Far From the Tree” about parents’ relationships with “different” children (I’m going to TRY to review it on my blog soon but it’s 900+ pages — a daunting prospect!). There’s a quote in it that your post brought to mind: “If some glorious angel descended into my living room and offered to exchange my children for other, better children — brighter, kinder, funnier, more loving, more disciplined, more accomplished — I would clutch the ones I have and, like most parents, pray away the atrocious specter.” If parental love can be that tenacious (no matter the challenges it brings), then God’s love must be truly, unimaginably great.

  2. Aimee Byrd says:

    This reminds me of our sermon yesterday on Peter’s denial. One thing my pastor said that stuck out to me was, “Christ is never taken by surprise when we fail him.” We may be, but not him. He went to the cross knowing. That is so powerful, because just like Peter, we will weep, but we also know that we can turn to our compassionate Savior.

    • Tim says:

      Never taken by surprise – great way to think of it. It’s not like Jesus is ever going to look at us and say, “If I’d known you were going to do that, I’d have never bothered dying for you!”

      Like you said, my failings may cause me sorrow, but Jesus always loves me overwhelmingly and delights in me in each moment there is. Why does he? You got me. Even better, of course, is that Jesus’ got me!

  3. Pingback: Dirty Underwear | Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another

  4. This is the person I am. . .the one who feels like I can’t live up to God’s expectations and am a “bad child of God” even when I try hard, and so it was a great post to read since I am one who beats myself up and condemns myself over some of the most petty things. I always tell my sons that no one but God Himself is Good and to live up to His example and not mine because I make mistakes. I want them to know that I have imperfections and that Christ is the most perfect example to live by. I do try to live as Christ myself, though, since we are “little Christs”. Thanks for the reminders and for cluing me in to “get over myself” and to just allow God to mold me and that He still loves me even when I feel like i’ve disappointed Him. Satan has no power over me because His Spirit is within me.

    • Tim says:

      Victoria, I think we all feel bad when we try hard, because trying hard never gets us one inch closer to God. With Christ in us already, we’re as close as can be! I think the Bible is clear that our job is not to try to copy Christ, but to abide in him as he lives in us and through us. He does a much better job being him than I ever could. That’s why Paul said Christ in me is to live!

      When I learned to stop trying and start resting and abiding, my walk with God became one where I knew his peace so much more. I hope you find that too, Victoria, and that you can stop trying and just start resting and just rest in him as he does all the trying and doing and living for you.

  5. I’m coming in a bit late here but I must comment because you’ve highlighted something so valuable to me – my recognition that I’m not to judge – including myself. I learned that on my living room floor nearly 20 years ago and the eureka moment has never left me. Glad others are in tune with it too.

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