For many years I felt unworthy of God’s love and that kept me apart from Him. I knew in my heart that I was incapable of earning His love. No matter how hard I tried, I could not keep God’s commandments — nor the man-made rules of the church I was raised in. I reasoned that because I was failing in this way, I was lost. What a blunder.
The truth is, I had stumbled over a great stumbling stone on the path to a meaningful and eternal relationship with God. A relationship with God is not something that anyone earns. Human nature prevents us from obeying God consistently because everyone sins. No matter how hard we try, we are imperfect and we will remain that way.
But the beauty of God’s love — and the heart of Jesus’ message to us — is that the relationship we have with God has nothing to do with our worthiness. We are not prevented from having a relationship with God because we are sinners.
God knows we are imperfect for He created us that way. Perhaps He allows sin to exist because He wants us to make choices — or perhaps it is through struggle that enlightenment and spiritual development occurs. I don’t know.
What I do know is this: God is aware that we sin and always will. He doesn’t love us because we are worthy, He accepts and loves us for who we are. God has infinite love and mercy for us. For that reason, He sent His only Son to lead us and die for us so that we could defeat sin and death. God doesn’t abandon us; he waits for us.
The Bible teaches that our relationship with God is ours not because we are good, or because we deserve it, or because of the things we say or do. It’s a gift from God for those who want it. It is a gift of love, mercy, and eternal life with God. Only when we choose to believe in Jesus, do we accept it. It’s a matter of faith.
The Apostle Paul, a Jew, wrote, “…God has given the Gentiles the opportunity to be acquitted by faith, even though they had not been really seeking God. But the Jews, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping his laws, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to be saved by keeping the law and being good instead of by depending on faith. They have stumbled over the great stumbling stone. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I have put a Rock in the path of the Jews, and many will stumble over him (Jesus). Those who believe in him will never be disappointed.” (Romans 10:30-33)
As for people who try to earn eternal life through good acts and deeds? “…they don’t understand that Christ has died to make them right with God. Instead they are trying to make themselves good enough to gain God’s favor by keeping the Jewish laws and customs, but that is not God’s way of salvation. They don’t understand that Christ gives to those who trust in him everything they are trying to get by keeping his laws. He ends all of that… for salvation that comes from trusting Christ — which is what we preach — is already within easy reach of each of us; in fact, it is as near as our own hearts and mouths. For if you tell others with your own mouth that Jesus Christ is your Lord and believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in his heart that a man becomes right with God… .” (Romans 10:3-10)
I no longer feel a distance between myself and God. Jesus has bridged that for me.
For faith without Jesus is no faith at all.
Photo by Tara Khimchak