Life At Its Best: God's love
We live in a society where God's nature is often misinterpreted. Some see Him as a God who will forgive any bad decision they make, so they just keep right on making them. Others see Him as a harsh God, enforcing rules without caring about their hearts. Neither of those is accurate.
In John 8, Jesus exemplifies the balanced nature of His Father. While He was in the temple courts, the religious leaders brought Him a woman who had committed adultery. They said, "Teacher . the Law of Moses commanded us that we're to stone her."
Jesus replied, "Whoever has not sinned may throw the first stone." The teachers looked at each other in shock. This wasn't the reply they'd hope for. One by one, they began to trickle out, until only Jesus was left with the woman. When they'd left, He asked the woman, "Where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin."
There's no question that woman's eyes were opened to the fullness of God's love that day. She realized she didn't have to live in condemnation for her past mistakes, but she also realized she had to change her ways in order to live a better life.
It's the same for us. We must understand and accept both aspects of God's love in order to move forward into the beautiful things He has for us. Ephesians 3:17-18 says, "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power . to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge."
In order to live God's best for us, we must first recognize that His love never condemns. Often, the enemy tries to convince us that we've done too much wrong to receive forgiveness. It's easy to start beating ourselves up when we fall short. But we must remind ourselves of what Romans 8:1 says, that, "There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus." We don't have to bear shame or guilt because of our sin. Jesus already bore it on the cross.
The other side of God's love we must receive is the side that won't condone wrong actions. This is the side most people don't like, but it's just as much a part of God's nature because He wants the best for us.
We see this part of love in the story of the adulteress very clearly. Jesus not only forgave her, but he also commanded her to "leave her life of sin." God loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are. His love calls us to better actions that lead to better outcomes.
Are you living in the fullness of God's love today? I encourage you not to let condemnation keep you from receiving forgiveness. Be confident in His unfailing love. Then, let it lead you to better actions. Start moving toward your best life today.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria. faithfamilyvictoria.com.