March 25: How Deep the Father’s Love for Us
As we sang and studied the first two verses of How Deep the Father’s Love for Us, we focused on the great love the Father has for us in Christ Jesus. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
In the third verse of the song, our focus turns to me. How do I respond to God’s deep love?
Because we were children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3) before God made us children of glory (Hebrews 2:10), my response can’t be to boast as if God saved me because of something I could offer him. We had “no gifts, no power, no wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:20-31) that God should choose us. Nor is my “reward” from God given to me because the sum of my good works and righteous attitudes is greater than the balance of my mistakes and wrongdoings. As we read in our last devotional, we all fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8).
It is only because of God’s great mercy and love that I have been given the reward that Jesus earned through his perfect life and sacrifice. In Ephesians 2:1-22, the apostle Paul points out that we were dead—God has made us alive. We were separated from Christ—God reconciled us to himself. We were alienated from his people—we have been made citizens and saints and members of God’s family. We were without hope and far away from God—we have been brought near by the blood of Christ. We were followers of the spirit of disobedience—now we are a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit.
When I (and all of us) see the many spiritual blessings lavished on me in Christ (Ephesians 1) and recognize that my “reward” is due solely to his merits (his reward), when I see that nothing can separate me from the Father’s love (Romans 8:31-39) and that this love is a free gift by faith (Ephesians 2:8), I respond with gratitude, obedience, and praise:
I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no pow’r, no wisdom. But I will boast in Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection. Why should I gain from his reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart—his wounds have paid my ransom.