By Guest Writer Robert Dow
Legacy Ladies Note: I met Robert my freshman year of high school and got to know him my junior year when we both served as camp counselors for our church. I remember thinking he was really pursuing Christ when he told me he asked out his girlfriend at the time by giving her a purity ring (cue “awww”). Robert is a man who admits that he has made plenty of mistakes and fallen into sin, but lives by God’s grace each day. He truly understands that nothing can separate him from the love of Christ. Robert’s life was changed when he heard the Gospel explained as a free gift, so this article is reflective of his walk with the Lord, and I believe his explanation of accepting the love we don’t deserve will change your life just like it did his. -Nikki
I’d like to preface this post with this:
Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher. -Luke 6:39-40
Without Christ I am blind, and I hope and pray that through what I am about to say to you, your love and pursuit after God would be full-fledged.
Recently I read a quote without knowing it was from the popular movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The quote reads, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” This took me by much surprise because of its ability to relate to my own relationship with the Lord, and surely others’ relationships with Him as well. Throughout the entire Bible—Old Testament and New Testament— we continually see a love that we don’t deserve.
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:7-8
So what is it that we deserve? The answer is death.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 6:23
Now anyone who is a NFL fan could probably recite to you John 3:16, but for those who aren’t fans or have not heard it before, John 3:16 states,
For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16
What is the definition of eternal life? It can be found in the same book in John 17:3:
And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. -John 3:17
Here comes the challenging part…when we as humans only choose to “accept the love we think we deserve,” we are really saying that we have to deserve the love before we can accept it. But based on Scripture, we know that what we deserve is death. We don’t deserve God’s love and that is fact. Yet, in His grace, He loves us anyway. As described in the excerpt from Romans above, it is a “free gift,” meaning something that cannot be earned, or for the sake of this article, deserved.
To bring everything full circle, we’ll take a look at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ. -Ephesians 2:4-5
Essentially, what you are left with is two options. You can either choose to accept the love you don’t deserve, which results in eternal life. OR, you can choose to deny that undeserved love, which results in eternal death. Jesus himself said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6).
One of my deepest struggles is to believe that God, the Creator of everything, could really love me, especially with my past of being disobedient to Him. After spending time in His Word, living out my faith by His Spirit, and even just reading back over this article, I can honestly see that no matter what, God loves me. My closing prayer and hope is that you also accept this perfect love we don’t deserve.