February 5

Do you ever consider your salvation and just how amazing it is?

And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?—Hymn by Charles Wesley

1And can it be that I should gain

An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?

Died He for me, who caused His pain?

For me, who Him to death pursued?

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me?

[Refrain]:

Amazing love! how can it be

That Thou, my God, should die for me!

The Gospel accounts scream out grace to us; underserved, unearned grace! Why in the world would God the Father send His Son to die for His wicked, rebellious creation? Who would He choose “us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4)? Why???

And, we know (especially from John 1:1-4a) that it first stems from His glory, and that because of His glory it is then exhibited through His love for us:

  • We love, because He first loved us.—I. John 4:19

But the why is still a mystery. He doesn’t need us. He doesn’t get lonely. He’s not bored. He’s not incomplete without us. So, why would a perfect God subject Himself to a limited, physical body and all the pain and suffering that living on earth provides? Why would He then willingly endure the cross and take on the eternal sins of the world coupled with their eternal punishment?

  • Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.—Philippians 2:5-8

And, as I ponder this I still come up at a loss. I do not understand enough of the glory of God or His love to tell you why. The mystery only deepens.

  • “Man with all his shrewdness is as stupid about understanding by himself the mysteries of God, as an ass is incapable of understanding musical harmony.”—John Calvin
  • Ephesians 3:17-19 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

While the atheistically influenced 20thand 21stcentury secular world (and sadly, many atheistically influenced Christians as well) has been chasing after self-esteem, self-worth, self-importance, and so forth, the Christian is never told to anywhere in Scripture to seek these things. While the self-esteem saturated society has become more godless, more suicidal, more violent, more immoral, more criminal, it would seem logical to evaluate it and conclude that this agenda is just not working. But alas, it’s hard to even suggest the removal of such self-deification from the masses for being one’s own god is what fuels this movement. And, though it is destroying Western civilization from within, rushing towards a self-induced implosion, it will never accept the truth that our self-worth is actually worthless.

But the Christian is a different creature. He clearly recognizes from Scripture that there is nothing of worth in and of himself, and that the source of his very essence and life is completely from God. Furthermore, he recognizes that his salvation is from God alone and as such his identity is that of “Christian” and nothing else. He no longer suffers from poor self-esteem or self-worth, but proclaims he has no self-esteem or self-worth. He is now redeemed and filled with God-esteem and God-worth since “I am my Lord’s and He is mine, His banner over me is love.”

  1. The Gospel of John bursts on the scene with Jesus as the Word, as being God. It states that He is the light that shines on all men. But, John 3 tells us that those who love darkness avoid the light. They are of the darkness. That is their identity.
    1. Many people find their identity in who they belong to or support, such as a political party, gang, military service, club, cultural heritage, etc. Others find their identity in who they think they are, whether sexually, emotionally, vocationally, etc.
      1. What are some of the severe weaknesses of finding one’s identity in these things? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    2. As a Christian, your identity is being the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) as the light of Christ shines through you.
      1. How does this provide comfort, worth, security, and value to your life? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
      2. Since eternity is in God’s hands, then what have you to fear on this earth? ___________________________________
  • Since you are now owned by God, then what should your daily prayer be with regards to your aspirations, plans, assumptions and so forth? (see James 4:14-16) _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Think deeply about the mystery of God’s love for you, and write down your thoughts here: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    1. Ask God to help you understand Him more as He reveals Himself to you through the Holy Spirit opening your understanding as you read His Word.
  2. Compare being one who is eternally loved by God, and has His name placed upon his life, and is now adopted into His family to one whose sole existence is for himself, to build up himself, to exalt himself, to think first about himself:
    1. Do you see the complete banality of the secular mind and how the secular world has influenced him? __________________________________________________
    2. How can you show the love of God and the glorious Gospel of grace to a person who thinks he is his own god? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
    1. Consider this verse in light of your life and what/who you live for.
      1. Are there any disparities between your focus in life and your claim to the name of Christian? _____________________________________________
      2. If Jesus loved you enough to die for your sins and save you from eternal punishment, do you find that the realization of this truth motivates you to live for Him even more? ______________________________________________

Jesus Paid It All—Hymn by Elvina Hall

1I hear the Savior say,

“Thy strength indeed is small,

Child of weakness, watch and pray,

Find in Me thine all in all.”

[Refrain]:

Jesus paid it all,

All to Him I owe;

Sin had left a crimson stain,

He washed it white as snow.

2Lord, now indeed I find

Thy pow’r and Thine alone,

Can change the leper’s spots

And melt the heart of stone. [Refrain]

3For nothing good have I

Where-by Thy grace to claim;

I’ll wash my garments white

In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb. [Refrain]

4And when, before the throne,

I stand in Him complete,

“Jesus died my soul to save,”

My lips shall still repeat. [Refrain]