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Our love for God
- Jacob Ninan
Nowadays it is very common to express our love for God through songs of praise and worship, especially on Sundays. And I think it would be fair to say that many of us are quite sincere in our singing. But it is not difficult to see that the kind of love that only remains in words is quite deceptive (1Jn.3:18,19), especially if it is only on Sundays.
There was a woman who was notorious in society as a sinful woman, who expressed her love for Jesus by pouring an expensive perfume on His feet and wiping them with her hair. Jesus said that she loved much because she was forgiven much (Lk.7:47). A careless reading might give the impression that she was forgiven because she loved much. But in fact, it was the fact that even though her sins were many Jesus had forgiven her that caused her to love Him so much. Even though in her way of expressing that love she did an unconventional public act that earned religious criticism, Jesus understood the love it came from.
If our 'love' does not express itself in the way we relate to Jesus, but remains as a doctrine that we believe and some songs we sing, what it shows is that we have not been 'forgiven much'. Some of us actually think we haven't been forgiven much because we haven't been as 'bad' as some of the others! Then we don't realise what Jesus had to pay for each sin. We also don't realise how if we have sinned just once that itself is enough to separate us eternally from the Holy God. For example, if our only sin was telling lies (that's not true!), it is just as bad as if we had committed murder (Jas.2:11). No, we have all been forgiven much.
If we don't 'feel' that we have been forgiven much, the chances are that we have never seen ourselves as sinners in the way God looks at sinners, and then we have not truly repented, and then we have not been truly born again. Feelings reflect what we believe, and if we have had a genuine experience of being forgiven by God, we will feel the gratitude. It will be something we can never forget in our life. So lack of such feelings may be a true indication that nothing definite has taken place in our life in this way.
But perhaps today is the day when such people can set things right, by recollecting how you have hurt God in the different ways in which you have sinned, asking God for forgiveness and receiving it because Jesus has already taken your punishment. If you do this sincerely before God, you can begin to experience the same love for the Lord that this woman had.
Perhaps others did receive this forgiveness at one time, but have gone distant from the Lord because of various reasons. Then today may be your opportunity to come back to Him, confess whatever has caused you to stray away, and renew your relationship as a forgiven sinner.
This is so crucial for our life--the present one and the one to come--that we cannot afford to take this carelessly. Our relationship with the Lord must be clear, and it must affect all our life.