Monday, December 15, 2008

God Doesn't Think You're Awesome

He doesn't. He is not "enthralled by your beauty."

He sees you as you are: broken, sinful, hard, selfish.

And he loves you anyway.

That makes him the awesome one, not us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
-- Romans 5:8


Bill Kinnon said...

Whoa! That's harsh man. 'specially after I was just lookin' in the mirror and saying, "My God is so totally enthralled with my beauty!"

Oh. Yah. Just ignore the picture attached to the comment. It's not a good likeness.

nhe said...

gosh - I'm gonna need Stuart Smalley to cheer me up now........Jared - would you still agree (as Tim Keller has said) "Jesus became Leah so that we might become Rachel in the sight of God" ??

Jared said...

Yes, but it is Jesus' Rachel-ness that he sees, not anything intrinsic to us.

I think if we even give one inch in the idea that God saved us b/c of something about us (beauty, works, whatever) we severely diminish the sheer wonder of grace. 99.9% grace is not grace, in other words, I guess.

nhe said...

ultimately - we're distinguishing between the now (positional sanctification) and the not yet (progressive sanctification)......I mean, I hear ya, but I think I'm confused by your tense - He "saw" nothing in me that would be worthy of his grace when he saved me.....he "sees" (granted, through imputation) Jesus in me now.

Jared said...

This post and the motivation for it result from the Christless gospel. I agree that when God looks at me he sees Christ and his righteousness. (Thank God!)

But what I'm hearing is that God looks at me and sees how special "I" am, how wonderful "I" am, and how crazy he is about me, how enamored with my special-ness he is, etc.

If what I was hearing was "God thinks Christ in you is awesome," I wouldn't have a beef.

Hope that makes sense.

nhe said...

we're good, I'll call and cancel the ant-depressant order. :)

Steve said...

Great post. Refreshing.

What would you say about this: Is our value inherent or derived?

What I mean is, we are made in the image of God and as a result have a certain amount of value, even though we are fallen. This is the basis for the "capital punishment" passage in Genesis 9 and all of pro-life theology.

So the value we possess is derived because we are contingent beings and whatever we have that is good is derived from the being we are contingent upon - God.

But could it also be considered inherent because it is part and parcel of the way we are made?

Could it be both?

This question was raised in my Young Adult group yesterday, and it has me thinking...

Clearly, as you posted, God does not save us because of anything in us. If He did, we would have to worship oursleves proportionatley.

But Jesus gave His life for us, which seems to communicate that He values us. Not because of what we have done or anything we have generated, but perhaps because of our derived value as having been made in His image.

Does that make any sense?

Jared said...

Steve, great questions.

I'd say human life is precious inherently b/c of our derived image. :-)

I don't believe salvation is granted b/c of the derived value of the imago dei, however, b/c that would mean only the elect are made in the image of God, and I don't believe that. Humankind is made in the image of God. And if the imago dei earns us salvation, that would imply universalism.

In any event, however, I don't think either common grace to all mankind or saving grace to God's elect is based on the imago dei or any other intrinsic preciousness. We are fearfully and wonderfully made, but many of us fearfully and wonderfully made will be trusting our inner awesomeness all the way to hell.

Rather, all of our value comes from God: our preciousness from his image, our salvation from the imputed righteousness of his son.

He loves us not b/c we are lovable, but because He is love.

That is my take, anyway.

Steve said...


I'm just trying to drill down into the thing that motivates love, which was our study yesterday.

In defining love, one must look at what motivates someone to be selfless, sacrificial, look out for others at one's own expense, etc. I believe that has to do with value. I cannot love someone without valuing them.

I'm trying to find the best way to articulate how that works, I guess. Jesus clearly valued us enough to die in our place, but we did not generate that value. He did. Deep stuff.

Perhaps "generate" is a useful word. We do not generate our value, God does. It is only inherent in the sense that all people have derived value from conception, but none of us can generate the value we possess...

Jared said...

I'm with John Piper on the answer to that problem: God's highest value is his own glory.

So restoring the broken creation, redeeming the fallen world, saving the elect from sin, and vanquishing death and sinfulness is his desire b/c restored creation reflects his glory more than fallenness.

I believe it is God's passion for his own glory that motivates him.

Steve said...

Oh, I totally agree.

Tozer said that "God is back of all things." He doesn't need us, and was doing just fine before the creation.

Ultimately, God is the only thing of innate and inherent worth.

I am intrigued, as I said though, about how love works between God and people, as in John 3:16.

Anonymous said...

reading the comments of steve...

the working of love and the Holy Spirit are truly interesting and beyond our knowledge...

thus faith is what we are given

faith, hope

it is soooo wonderfully awesome to be given the faith that we know something is true..without having all the knowledge that we would like to have. without the complete understanding of it all.

Erik said...

"Broken, sinful, hard, selfish." Yep, that about sums up my life AS A CHRISTIAN. Thank goodness that Christ doesn't give up on me in this condition. What a faithful God we serve. Fantastic blog you've got going here. Keep up the insightful posts.

Ed G. said...

While I can always use a reminder not to be so full of myself, not sure I agree 100%. While we are broken, sinful, hard and selfish... when God looks at us, I think he sees awesome.

And when we look at each other, we shouldn't see broken, sinful, hard and selfish, we should see awesome.

Julie Clawson just wrote a diary that I found particularly interesting... would be interested in your thoughts.

Jared said...

Ed, I disagree.

Most of my disagreement can be found teased out in my exchange above with Steve.

I think that when God sees "awesome" in us it is Jesus' righteousness imputed to us. That is what makes us awesome.

And when we see each other, we should not see "awesome," lest we take our eyes off Jesus. We should see each other as broken sinners, in grace and mercy of course, remembering that we are ALL broken sinners, ourselves the chiefs.

I tell you, just personally speaking, my love for God has grown exponentially since I realized he doesn't love me because of anything about me, but because he wants to and chooses to in perpetuity. There is a gratitude that knowledge provokes in me that I cannot describe. Because I've seen what's inside me, and it's not awesome.