And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16
Our society is all about “I can.” I can win the race. I can be the best salesperson in my company. I can get a college degree. I can be a good mother. We have been taught that the most important things can be earned if we only believe and try hard enough. Certainly, when God is behind something, all things are possible for him who believes (Mark 9:23). But there is an “I can’t” phrase every believer needs to embrace: I can’t earn God’s love. This phrase is empowering, liberating, and life-giving.
Granted, most believers know they are “saved by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8) so they intellectually agree that salvation can’t be earned. So they will also say His favor and love can’t be earned. But there is often a disconnect between what we say we believe and what we truly believe. For example, in his book, Holiness by Grace, Bryan Chapell shares that many people believe that if they have a quiet time, God will love them more. If they are kind to their neighbor, it’s a guarantee of His favor. “However much we may want—or feel the need—to trophy our good works before God in order to merit his acceptance, our accomplishments remain insufficient to obligate him to care for us as members of his family.”
“But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace” (Romans 11:6).
So what does guarantee His care and unfailing love? Only His goodness and the covenant He made through His sacrificial death on the cross. It’s not anything we do. When you are in Christ, there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more. He just loves you. That’s it. His love is unchanging, unshifting, secure, steadfast, and unalterable. What great news!
Knowing you can’t earn God’s love will liberate you from the bondage of perfectionism, and from the fear that God will reject you when we get to heaven because you haven’t been good enough. And it will free you to serve Him with a thankful heart, secure in His steadfast love the way a child is secure that her daddy will never leave.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
Prayer: Lord, how gracious you are! You are so faithful. How liberating it is to know that your love is steadfast and that I can love you from a place of security knowing I can’t earn your love. Thank you, Jesus.
Application: Take a moment today and write a letter to the Lord, thanking Him for His gift of salvation on the cross and your security in Him as His child through His sacrifice.
Related Readings: Romans 6:14; Romans 3:20-24; Ephesians 2:1-10