February 16, 2017
God’s love is perfect. Our human understanding of love is limited, but the standard of perfection is set by God. “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” Luke 6:27-29. Though Jesus said to love our enemies, too often we seek revenge on someone who offends us and we have a hard time forgiving others. Jesus didn’t ask us to do anything He didn’t do Himself. His love is perfect and His forgiveness is available to everyone who asks.
Sin is a problem for all humanity. Everyone sins. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23. This verse can be discouraging but God is always willing to forgive us. Nobody can possibly measure up to God’s expectations, but even though we fail He still loves us. The problem of sin began in the Garden of Eden when Satan lied to Eve and Adam followed her in eating the forbidden fruit. This rebellion continues to this day. It’s in our human nature to fight against God, and that rebellion is a death sentence. “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23a. Sin pays deadly wages but God takes no pleasure in people facing eternal death.
Pride was what caused Satan to defy God and that was his downfall. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.Satan exemplifies this verse and he still thinks he can win against God. There is a battle raging between Satan and God and the prize is human souls. Satan has wrapped sin in a package with pretty paper and ribbons to tempt us, but that only disguises just how ugly sin is. God knew before He created the world that sin would have a strong hold upon us, but because His love is perfect He gives us a choice. He could have programmed us to love and serve Him, but that wouldn’t be real love. Unless there’s a choice it’s just control.
God doesn’t keep secrets. He has given us the Holy Scriptures to guide us away from sin. That means we’re without excuse when we rebel against God and commit sin. Keeping God’s Law is impossible, although some people claim to be able to not sin. That in itself is the sin of pride. Our idea of sin and God’s idea are different. God alone sets the standards, not humans. Sin involves more than just actions, but we tend to think that if we don’t act on an ungodly thought we’re okay. The Ten Commandments is a very short list summarizing the Law. It’s impossible to even keep ten sins out of our life let alone the entire Law. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3. “Other gods” might include money, television, cars, sports, and anything else that you put ahead of God Almighty. No matter how hard we try not to, we all have something we put ahead of God. Remember, it’s God’s standards we need to live up to, not human standards. It’s easy to point fingers, but the truth is that most of us have many things in our life that we put ahead of God. That’s sin.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talked about man’s standards as opposed to God’s. He talked about the Ten Commandments. “Thou shalt not kill.” Exodus 20:13. In pride we justify our own perfection by saying that the Hebrew word translated “kill” means murder and most of us have never set out to murder another person. That seems simple enough, but Jesus said that even calling someone a fool is worthy of hell. “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” Matthew 5:22. What names do you call someone who cuts you off in traffic? Do you call them a fool, or worse? It’s easy to see that nobody lives up to God’s standards of perfection. Can He love us anyway? Yes, His love is perfect.
Shall we talk about adultery? “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Exodus 20:14. That’s right to the point and usually we think of this as a man lusting after another man’s wife. Jesus said “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Matthew 5:28. Do you have a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue? Oh right, you just read the articles. Television promotes lust and so do movies. In fact, much of the “entertainment” we partake of promotes sin. This verse doesn’t only apply to married men lusting after married women, but also applies to those who aren’t married and also to women. The Apostle Paul said to take control over thoughts. “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. If your relationship with another person isn’t Biblically based, you need to take your thoughts before the Lord. He knows them anyway and loves you in spite of it. His love is perfect, but you need to seek His forgiveness.
It could be easy to get discouraged when we look at our life and compare our thoughts and actions to God’s standards. God created us and Satan corrupts us. Is there any way to live up to God’s ideals? No, not by our own efforts. We can try, but even the kindest person falls far short of God’s standards. In order to restore the fellowship that Adam and Eve enjoyed with God prior to the Fall, God sent his Son to be the atonement for our sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16. Most of us have heard this verse quoted many times. There’s no love greater or more perfect than God’s love for you. He knows you sin, but His love is far greater than the sins in your life. He doesn’t look for ways to condemn you, but He offers salvation. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:17-18. Love is a choice and God chooses to love you. It’s time for you to choose to love Him. If you don’t, then you have condemned yourself to eternal death. You can’t blame God for a choice you have made.
Don’t wait until you’ve become “good enough” to ask God to come into your life. If you’re waiting for your own perfection it will never come. God’s love is perfect and is offered to everyone right now while we are still lost sinners. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. Jesus loves us and it’s only His righteousness that allows us to come before the most Holy God. You will never be good enough to stand before the throne of God by any effort of your own. Jesus chose to enter His creation to bring salvation to everyone who asks. When Christ died on the cross, you weren’t yet born. Every sin you commit was in the future when He went to the cross, but He died for you anyway. Now, you need to accept the forgiveness He offers. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” John 15:13-14. Jesus did lay down His life for you. Accept His love and follow His commands. There is great peace in living your life for God. His perfect love far outshines the filthy lusts of this world.
There is no pleasure in sin. You might think you’re having a wonderful time sowing your wild oats, but hangovers aren’t fun. That’s just one of the problems of sin. What about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases? When you choose to live opposed to God you choose to be diseased. Alcoholism leads to liver problems, smoking leads to lung disease, drugs open doors for demons to enter. Still, God has perfect love for you and is willing to forgive every sin. The wages of sin is death “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23b. You have to ask Him for His forgiveness. Then allow Him to change you. He will help you to overcome alcoholism, drug addiction, and every sin that has taken hold of your life. You may have to live your life dealing with the results of your sin, such as AIDS, but God’s perfect love will see you through.
Prior to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the Law required animal blood sacrifices to cover sin. There was no permanent solution so those sacrifices had to be made continually. After Christ’s sacrifice on the cross there is a permanent solution. Jesus didn’t abolish the Law, but through Him we are made perfect. “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” Colossians 2:13-14. By His perfect love He took our sin and nailed it to His cross. He did this willingly and He won’t force this gift of salvation upon you. Accept it and apply it to your life. There is no other way to obtain eternal life than through faith in Christ’s sacrifice. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:9-10. Only faith in His death, burial, and resurrection brings eternal life.
“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11. Turn to Him today and receive the forgiveness for sin that He offers. God’s love is perfect.
God bless you all,
Ron Graham’s previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.