You, Lord God are wonderful: so gracious, so kind, so firm, so faithful, so consistent. Your agape love flows from your being no matter what we do—for you are love itself.
But, without punishment for evil, your love would be faulty because love protects from evil, love brings refuge, shelter and safety. Therefore, justice is a part of your love, giving what your rebellious creatures deserve in the perfect court of judgment. Yet in each case, you offer us sinners pardon. That is an astounding truth, if you think through the implications.
A criminal is brought before a judge for sentencing. His guilt has already been established beyond a shadow of doubt– although he protests, saying his acts weren’t that bad. His crimes are read out along with his sentence: execution. He hangs his head at the prospect.
Then the judge gets up from his bench, comes down to stand beside the condemned prisoner and puts his arm around him. The prisoner looks up. “Bob,” says the judge, “I want to offer you a full pardon for your crimes. But, in order for me to forgive you, your sentence must be served, so, if you accept my offer, my own son will be executed in your place. You will go free and be able to have a fresh start in life.
“There are, however, some conditions for this pardon. You must fully confess and accept your crimes. And, because you are forgiven at a great price, you must be willing to seek to live a life for good. To help you in this, I invite you to come and live with me in my mansion as my new son. I will provide abundantly for all your needs, I will support you with meaningful, important work, along with training, guidance and resources. I will be with you every day, protect you from harm and will love you unconditionally. Along with this, you will be my heir.”
What condemned criminal wouldn’t accept that? Yet many, many people reject an even better offer from you, Lord God, one of total pardon, of eternal life, of a transformed being, of power to live rightly, of meaningful work with you, plus love, joy, peace, hope and security. And most importantly of all, a close, warm, wonderful relationship with you–out of which flows all the goodness you have for us.
Everything else pales in comparison to knowing you, living with you, being loved, accepted, and cherished by you. I praise you, Lord God, Heavenly Father, that you have called me to be your son, to come into your family, embraced by you, and to become the object of your delight, your joy, your care.
What a marvel, I who deserve your wrath, have been transformed into your dearly, warmly loved son in whom you rejoice. You provide me with full access to your throne room at any time, you give me your full attention at all times. You unendingly pour out your full love on me–a love that is undeserved, unconditional, unlimited, flowing constantly, surrounding, engulfing, nurturing, protecting and cherishing me.
This is what you offer, Lord Jesus, for you are love itself. To you be unending praise, honor and ever-flowing exaltation. You are most worthy of glory, for you are good to us against all logic, beyond all comprehension, over all expectations.
Therefore, I commit myself, for your honor and joy, to live in the light of your love this day, focused on you, responding to your love with obedience, openness, attention and thankfulness. May you be exalted, glorified, praised and pleased in all I do.
[picture from internet]