Confession #5 [of a prodigal pharisee]

Confession #5:

When I sin, I sometimes feel confused about how Jesus could love me


Man.  This is a kicker.  This is that confession that reveals those places inside your heart that act like they’ve never heard the Gospel.  I hate this confession.  I hate that feeling or thought when it rises up in my head or my heart.  My thoughts rebuke my feelings: ‘fabs?! do you even KNOW the Gospel?!’

But that crazy pharisee and the prodigal tag team this one.  My prodigal self  is so afraid of not being accepted that I can’t even see the truth.  My Pharisee self can only image that I have value when I’m perfect.  And the combination is deadly and hinders repentence and faith in a deadly and deceiptful way. 

When my failure causes me to question how Jesus can love me I reveal that somewhere within me I believe that at some point my successes made me worthy of Jesus love.  When my failure makes me wonder how He can stay with me I basically proclaim that I think it’s my actions that give me value before God; I announce to Him that I reject the Cross as my assurance of salvation and instead cling to my own righteousness (the very same thing that disqualies people from entering His rest).  

I understand feeling inadequate and unworthy of Jesus love.  But I have to take hold of the truth that my unworhtiness and inadequacey isn’t lessened when i’m doing everything ‘right’.  It’s lessened – it’s REMOVED – by the righteousness of Christ.  And that doesn’t change.  That doesn’t change when I fail or falter.  So, how can my assurance before God?  Unless that assurance is really based on how well I’m doing, in which case I’m just using Jesus as a cover story for a religion that is really of my own making.

Not sure if I’m making sense.  Bottom line.  I am saved because Jesus has saved me by His perfect life and perfect death.  He saved me because I can never be righteous on my own.  He saved me because I cannot earn God.  And when I try to earn right standing with God, I reject Jesus (plus I will fall short and miss the mark every time).  So, knowing all this, when I fail, the Gospel teaches me to cling to the Cross.  If I am sure Jesus loves me when i’m doing it right but confused about why He loves me when I’m doing it wrong, I reveal that in my heart I am leaning on my own works to gain me Jesus’ love rather than the Cross.  I think it’s my ‘doing it right’ that secures me His love.  I reject the Gospel.  

God forbid.  Seriously, please.  Jesus – forbid that my heart should do that.

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