Thursday, January 19, 2012

God's love, our response

My friend and brother, Deacon Bob Yerhot, as is his wont, left a very thoughtful comment on my last post. It seems nigh unto impossible to discuss God's unbounded and unconditional love for us without thinking and discussing how to respond, which is by loving God with my whole being and my neighbor as myself. Any moral code not rooted in love is not authentically moral. This axiom also has a lot of bearing on why true religion is not a form of social control. Even when we look at the Ten Commandments we see this with the first three commandments being about loving God, the fourth (honoring our parents) is in a category by itself, our Dad and Mom occupying a space between God and everybody else, and the final six about loving our neighbor.

Even when I mess all that up by failing in some small, or even catastrophic, way God doesn't love me any less. Because God's  relentless and unfailing love is unlike anything I have ever experienced, grasping this is not just important, but necessary- "God loves you as you are and not as you should be." I'll go further, God's love is the only way I can become who I should be, who God created and redeemed me to be. Sanctification, which is what we call the process of being made holy, consists in nothing other than loving God and others in a Christ-like way.

In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis sagely observed, "On the whole, God's love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him." Our love runs hot and cold, even tending at times towards the Biblically-terrifying lukewarm. "But the great thing to remember," Lewis continued, "is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not." God's love, as Lewis knew, "is not wearied by our sins, or our indifference; and, therefore, it is quite relentless in its determination that we shall be cured of those sins, at whatever cost to us, at whatever cost to Him."

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