Our family just moved to a new home in a new neighborhood. We lived in our previous home for over 10 years. During those years our family saw four children born, major medical trials, a church planted, and a plethora of daily events that produced a range of reactions. Whatever the situation, I would always tend to find myself in the same place, leaning against a wall in the family room and looking out our back window. This spot proved to be extremely versatile. It was there that I wept over fear, excitement, regret, answered prayer, and joy. Now we live in a new home, in a new space. My familiar wall and view are not there. Sometimes I catch myself roaming about the house like Noah's raven looking for a place to land. I'm sure the time and space will come.
Do you have a place in the Bible that you return to for particular gospel encouragement? Is there a Scripture that is so versatile that it is able to meet and greet you in every one of life's events?
My favorite corner in the Bible, so to speak, is Galatians 2:20.
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
The catalyst for the particular encouragement comes in the last phrase.
**Jesus Knows Me Intimately
While we do not know everything about ourselves, we do know that there are within the mansions of our hearts some very dark, frightening rooms. There are places that we fear to enter in but only hear stories about. We have seen flashes of anger, selfishness, bitterness, and self-preservation that make us shudder. There are countless rooms in our hearts that are professionally decorated with such vices.
God knows everything about all of that. He knows what we have done and what we are capable of doing. He knows it all. And yet He loves us.
Some might say, "What kind of love is this that knows about such wickedness and yet still loves? How can anyone love a monster?"
That's just the thing—this intimate knowledge is accompanied by infinite love.
**Jesus Loves Me Infinitely
Galatians 2:20 tells us the consequence and expression of this love: Jesus gave himself for me. This is a redemptive love. Far from being a compromising, bribe-taking, sappy love, the love of God toward rebels like us is a redemptive love. It is a love that sees, acknowledges, and acts based upon our own personal brokenness.
Please understand this: the cross does not minimize our sin by relativizing it. Instead, it declares our sin to be infinitely heinous, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Because God is the highest good, any rebellion against Him is the highest and most vicious assault upon goodness. Because sin is persistent, we daily increase our debt. The already-infinite price tag grows infinitely.
But listen: Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.
As one person said, "How evil is sin that Christ must bleed to cure it?" And how much are you loved by God that He would give His only Son in order to rescue you from sin, Satan, and eternal ruin?
Let's put this in perspective: there is nothing more important for you to remember than the fact that you have offended a holy God infinitely with your sin, and that this same God, knowing this, has lovingly given His Son so that you could be graciously forgiven.
When I return to this passage of Scripture, I am frequently struck by how the Apostle Paul speaks here. He speaks like he is the only person on the planet. Jesus loved me and gave himself for me (emphasis mine, of course). Paul is wrapped up in a gospel-shaped cyclone. Jesus loves me, even knowing all of my sin, and He gave himself for me, thus delivering me from the consequence of all my sin.
Paul could have had every theological degree known to man, yet I am convinced that he would have been regularly undone and moved to tears listening to a 3-year-old sing, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."
Let's find ourselves at home with this truth. Lean and rest against these walls in every season of life: Jesus loved me and gave himself for me.