The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – A Dangerous Statement

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:14

“The love of Christ controls us.”

One issue believers frequently struggle with is the relationship between living by grace and obedience to God’s commands. When I state that nothing you ever do or don’t do will make God love you any more or any less, and that he accepts you strictly by his grace through the merit of Jesus Christ alone, such unqualified statements sound exceedingly dangerous—leaving me open to the charge of saying in effect that God doesn’t care whether or not you sin.

But consider the alternative: “God loves you if you’re obedient and doesn’t love you if you’re disobedient. Since God’s love is conditioned on obedience, and you’re never perfectly obedient, God never loves you perfectly or accepts you completely.” Such a bald description puts the issue into focus.

Since we’re saved by grace and accepted by God continuously by grace, are we to conclude that he doesn’t care whether we sin? To use Paul’s strong exclamation in Romans 6:2, “By no means!” such a conclusion flies in the face of all the ethical commands in Scripture. Such a conclusion also ignores the very clear relationship Jesus insisted on between love for him and obedience to his commands.

Our love for God, expressed through obedience to him, is to be a response to his love, not a means of trying to earn it. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Jesus said that love for God and love for one another essentially sum up all his commands (Matthew 22:36-40). Both our love for others and our love for God are prompted by his love for us. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)

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