“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” ~Jesus
See John 6:37
Can you repeat that opening verse with me? Only this time, I want you to picture Jesus looking directly at you as He says it: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
Whoever means whoever! So let’s do it again. “If you, ______________ (insert full name here), come to me, I will never drive you away.”
You are a whoever! Yeah! You really are! “But Matt, what about this about me—” “NOPE!” Remove that thinking from your mind! You’ve been taught wrong! Jesus’ love for you is not conditional! It is based on His commitment to you, not the other way around! Once you accept His forgiveness by simply believing it as the truth, even you can’t stop His pledge of love to you! (See 2 Timothy 2:13, Ephesians 1:13, Hebrews 13:5, 1 John 3:1).
Friend, Jesus loved you even before you were forgiven, He had a good plan for you even then (see Romans 5:8). So how much more do you think He will take care of you now that you’re a joint heir to heaven with Him? (See Romans 8:17).
The fact is this: You can’t wear out the blood of Jesus, the Cross actually worked! As long as Jesus lives, His promise of us staying forgiven, being loved unconditionally, and remaining one with Him–stays in effect! (See Hebrews 7:25). When I first grasped this amazing truth, I thought I was going to explode!
“You mean…you still love me despite my alcoholism? You still care for me despite my difficulty to forgive? You mean to tell me that I don’t have to be completely perfect in word or deed before you will accept me or stay with me? How can that be?”
Jesus spoke to my heart, “Because I finished everything for you when it comes to words and deeds. As for your identity, I gave you a new one when you first believed as a boy. I killed off your sinful spirit and I gave you a new, sinless spirit. Then I joined your spirit. Now, just the same as back then, just the same as all along, I will never leave you. I’m committed to you for eternity.”
This unconditional and committed love is what changes our words and deeds! More rules won’t, fear won’t, religion won’t, and condemnation definitely won’t. Only understanding that what we do means nothing compared to what Christ has done for us and to us. That’s it! I finally found it! I found what we are all looking for–an actual loving relationship with God!
So why is this good news completely different than what many Christians profess? A couple reasons:
- Many Christians have their identity confused with their behavior.
- Many Christians don’t understand God’s grace, even on the most basic level.
Behavior cannot change identity, but knowing your identity will change your behavior. If it doesn’t, you’ll be miserable or in severe denial. Each person on planet earth has one of two supernatural identities: a sinful spirit, or a perfect spirit (see Romans 5). Spirits are what we are! Faith in Christ’s forgiveness causes an immediate death of our sinful spirit, and then, an immediate birth of our perfect spirit! We get a brand new identity which is interwoven with Christ like wicker! (see Romans 6:6-7, John 3:6-7, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Colossians 1:22, 3:3, 1 Corinthians 6:19).
Our new spirits–which are joined with God’s Spirit forever–then guides our behavior (see Galatians 5:13-25). We still get to choose what we will do or won’t do because our behavior is catching up to our spiritual perfection day after day. This process won’t be complete until we finally shed this shell of flesh (see Philippians 1:6). So as we begin to separate our who from our do–identity from behavior–we can begin to understand Christ’s commitment to us. God requires perfection and Christ has perfected our identity forever! (See Matthew 5:48, Hebrews 10:14).
The second reason many Christians don’t understand the fact that Jesus will never reject them is because they’ve been taught a quasi-grace. When it comes to grace, if there is a hint of being able to earn it, sustain it, or lose it–it’s not grace. Instead, it’s called earned rewards. The whole premise of the gospel is that it’s free and unearnable from start to finish. In our finite, human minds, we’ve been taught, “I do this, I get that,” but that’s not grace. Grace is totally unfair which is exactly what makes it grace. If it’s fair, it’s not grace.
Grace is extremely insulting to those who find their identity in works. The problem is, if works is involved it’s no longer grace. Paul made this point when he said:
“And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6)
The works-plus-grace person will immediately ignore this verse and yell out a passage from the Book of James. “Faith without works is dead!” (See James 2:17).
However, upon a deeper look, if you continue reading in James, you’ll see he is referring to one work of faith by two different people–Rahab and Abraham. They made one decision of faith, took action based on believing God, and that single act of faith is an example of being justified with God.
How do I know this? Because Abraham was already justified with our Creator even before this particular action listed by James–which is offering up his son, Issac. Genesis 15:6 says Abraham was already right with God by faith, and Issac wasn’t even born yet. So offering him up wasn’t the beginning of Abe’s righteousness, but instead an example of taking action because we believe God. What’s more, James does not continue listing off every work Abraham or Rahab did because he knew full well justification with God is not based on what we do. Read all the way down to verse 25 and you’ll see.
It is when we allow ourselves to dive deep into the ocean of God’s grace do we finally get a glimpse of what He’s truly done to us in our spirits! With this knowledge, we change our attitudes and actions to match up to our spiritual perfection–but when we fail, we know that grace is securing us.
We also change because we love God for what He’s given us in Christ. When you love someone, you make healthy changes for them. And this might shock you, but we also change because we don’t have to change anything. Think about it, if we were required to change our actions and attitudes then grace gets pushed aside. Grace has no requirements.
Further, what is an incorrect action or attitude? Sin. What is the requirement for every sin, from gossip to murder? Death (see Romans 6:23). What did Jesus do at the Cross? He died! He took our sin punishment away for past, present, and future sins through a death He didn’t deserve because He never sinned! Our punishment is complete in Him for every sin imaginable! THE CROSS IS POWERFUL! (See John 1:29, 19:30, Hebrews 10:10, 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 Peter 3:18, Romans 1:16, 6:10).
Therefore, if we choose wrongly and sin, what will happen to us from God as far as punishment is concerned? Nothing. Our sin punishment was already dealt with.
Now, does God ignore our sinful actions and attitudes? No. He lovingly counsels us away from them. Our sinful choices grieve Him, but grief is not the same as anger (see Ephesians 4:30). The Bible says we have peace with God because of Jesus, and that His wrath was satisfied by Christ’s blood (see Romans 5:1,9).
Grief is what a parent experiences when their child makes a bad decision which hurts them and others. God is a good Father, He feels grief toward His children–not anger–because He wants better for us. However, He is not removing our identity as His children because of atrocious decisions and thoughts! His grace is too big and we’ll never be unborn of Him!
So when we choose poorly and sin, God is grieved, yet grace abounds and spiritual perfection remains. The goodness of God’s grace and the guarantee of an unchangeable supernatural status is what leads us into organic change! Paul tells the Romans and Corinthians these truths:
“But where sin increased, grace increased all the more” (see Romans 5:20)
“Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (See Romans 2:4)
“And that is what some of you were (people stuck in sin). But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11, note added)
So today, my friends, know this: Jesus will never reject you because of His great love for you! Jesus will never reject you because of who you are in your spirit! Jesus will never reject you because He is one with you! Jesus will never reject you because of God’s grace and your identity as His child!
A prayer for you: Father, today I want to thank you for your commitment to me. For far too long, I was taught that Christianity was about my commitment to you–and I was terrible at it. Once I understood that I was a horrible promise keeper, and that you are the best promise keeper, my confidence began to grow! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. So many of them are confused about Jesus’ commitment to them. Reveal the truth! Let them know He will never reject ANYONE who comes to Him, from the very first time! Instead, He joins them forever! As we grow in the knowledge of His commitment to us, empower us to be our true selves as your children! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 2. Get your copy here!