A Love That Shows Up

August 9, 2021

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins 2 in which you previously lived according to the ways of this world, according to the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit now working in the disobedient. 3 We too all previously lived among them in our fleshly desires, carrying out the inclinations of our flesh and thoughts, and we were by nature children under wrath as the others were also. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love that he had for us, 5 made us alive with Christ even though we were dead in trespasses. You are saved by grace! 6 He also raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might display the immeasurable riches of his grace through his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift —

Ephesians 2:1-8

Written by Carol Vicary from the Brentwood Campus

God is love. Many of us began hearing about God’s love from the time we could understand words. Our parents said it, the Bible said it, our pastor said it, even billboards said it.

So, if God is love, why does Paul spend so much time in this passage talking about sin? Could it be because in order to understand the depth of God’s love, we have to first get in touch with how much we need it? It’s easy to feel loved when we somehow think we deserve it. When we do what we think God wants, we have no problem feeling like He loves us. But what about when we do what we want instead?

As Ephesians reminds us, before we gave our lives to Christ, our lifeless hearts had no understanding of God and His love and no ability to respond to it. Dead things can’t respond. The flower in a pot on my front porch is dying. It’s being overcome by little bugs that want to take its life. The flower no longer responds to the water I give it, and the sunlight seems to be hurting instead of helping. Sin is like that. It overwhelms us so that we can’t respond to God’s love. It paralyzes us and stunts our growth. Sin and its callous promise of more and better leads to death and loss. Its goal is to take our lives.

The amazing thing is that when we are being made alive in Christ, the heart of God moves toward us in our sin. When sin tries to lure us away in order to take our lives, God does not run away and leave us to die. We sometimes think our sin is so repulsive to God that He can’t handle it. The truth is that we have a merciful father who sees the sin in our lives and can’t help but come. Loving fathers can’t help but come when their children are in pain. Loving fathers fight for their children. Nowhere is that more visible than on the cross.

God, because of His great love for us, created within our hearts a longing for something more than sin could provide—a longing for real truth and deep love. Then He answered that longing in Jesus. God reveals the immeasurable riches of His grace through His kindness to us in Christ. We can rest safely in His strong arms, knowing that loving fathers always fight for their children.

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. How do you feel right now about the fact that God says He loves you? Do you feel unworthy? Do you feel like it’s a big joke? Ask the Lord to make His love so real that you can see it and would not dare run away from it.
  2. Loving fathers can’t help but come when their children are in pain. How has the Lord met you in your pain? How has He spoken to you? How has He put people around you to care for you?
  3. Are you dealing with guilt and shame in your life because of things in your past? 1 John 1:9 says that if we tell God about our sins—He already knows, of course, but there’s something powerful about us admitting them to Him—He will forgive us and purify us. Make a time and place to do this as soon as possible.

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