How does God see me?

The day is going to come when Jesus will come again and we will all stand before his judgment throne. We will be judged on our works.

This means that we have a problem. To illustrate that problem, take out a blank sheet of paper. On this sheet of paper, write down every sin, mistake, error in judgment, and failure that you have ever committed.

Wait.

Before you start, put down Adam’s sin in the very first spot. When you were conceived, you already had this one on your account.

Now, start with the things that keep you up at night. The kind words you should have said. The ugly words that you did say. The lingering looks over the girl walking by you and the horrible things that went through your mind.

The time you really enjoyed that tiny piece of gossip, destroying someone with your hateful tongue. Maybe the time that you were unthankful to God and doubted his goodness. Add your road rage, your hateful words at the customer that is standing in your way. Add your thoughts of rage against your server or cashier for being an idiot and a moron.

And those are just the things you did and didn’t do. What about who you are as a person? Your first thought isn’t about the glory of God; it is about your own glory. Your first love isn’t the love of God, it is a love for yourself. You don’t wish your neighbor to have success, even if it means you don’t. You want to be first. You don’t want to worship the God who is; your first thought is to worship a god that you like better than the one true God.

Maybe you try really, really hard to love God. Maybe you really want to be a better person, so you have learned to reign in your tongue.

But you still have sleepless nights, don’t you? You know that when Jesus comes again, all of those thoughts will be revealed to the whole universe so that every mouth will be stopped. There won’t be any more excuses. They weren’t indiscretions; they weren’t inappropriate gestures; they were sins, affronts against almighty God and worth his eternal wrath.

And you can’t do anything about it.

Write them down on your piece of paper. Remember that all of the ones that you missed, or excused, or forgot about, God already has written them down. He will never acquit the guilty.

Now think about Jesus. Look at the law. He kept all of that perfectly. Imagine never once failing to act according to perfect love. Imagine loving God with all of your heart and mind and strength, and never once failing. Never saying a cruel word. Never rejoicing in gossip. Never abusing and defiling, even in his mind.

It’s hard to imagine because we have no experience of it. We don’t know what it is like to NOT be corrupted by sin. But we have the law. We have the proverbs – God’s description of wisdom – a character reference of Jesus, the Wisdom of God made flesh.

Imagine perfect righteousness, spotless holiness, and unflagging wisdom written in a book.

Now you have two ledgers. You have the works that you have done and have failed to do. It’s pretty ugly. And you have the works that Jesus did and the sins that he refused. It is beautiful, wise, holy, without blemish. It is clean.

When Jesus stood before Pilate, Pilate declared him innocent. Pilate knew that he had done nothing deserving of death. As the temporal judge, he bore witness to God’s judgment: Jesus committed no sin and had no guile in his mouth. But because of Pilate’s character and the treachery of the Jews, Pilate condemned him to death anyway. But when it came time to write up the charge and nail it to the cross, Pilate had a problem. He didn’t have anything to write.

So he wrote, “The King of the Jews” in order to insult the Jews. He refused to change it.

God says this:

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Col 2:13-15 KJV)

Even though Pilate had nothing to write on Jesus’ cross, God did. He took that ledger that you just filled out. Your sinful nature, every sin that you committed and every deed of righteousness that you failed to do. God even took the ones that you didn’t add, the ones you didn’t know about, the ones you excused and justified – he took them all and nailed THAT to the cross of Christ.

The charges were against YOU. The condemnation fell on Jesus.

“What thou, my Lord, has suffered

Was all for sinners’ gain

Mine, mine was the transgression,

But thine the deadly pain” (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

What happened to the other ledger – the one with Jesus’ perfect righteousness? It’s the book that is opened when I stand before God on the judgment day. Every work that he did, every perfection, every spotless act of beauty and wisdom, is put on MY account.

It isn’t how much I loved God in this life. It is how much Jesus loved God.

It isn’t how much I desired God or lived a life of Christian hedonism. It is HIS perfect righteousness, faith, and obedience, put on my account.

It isn’t how much I persevered or how tightly I held on. It isn’t about the strength of my faith or the purity of my faith. It is about the strength and purity of my savior. With my empty hands, I cling to him. With my filthy heart, I cry out for mercy. With my sin-filled tongue, I call to Him.

His righteousness is mine. My sin and filth were put to death on his cross, and that puts to death the bondage and power of the devil. That great exchange will always lead to a changed life, but the changed life will always fall far, far short of the righteous requirements of God. The only thing that will EVER stand before God is the perfect righteousness, holiness and satisfaction of Christ put on my account.

If only I accept it with a believing heart.

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13 Comments

Filed under Faith, Gospel, Hope, justification, Sin and Grace

13 responses to “How does God see me?

  1. Mindy

    Oh God, I believe! But help my unbelief!

  2. Woo hoo! This is life-transforming truth! Thank you, Sam!

  3. Amen! This was really beautiful, Sam. That’s the essence of the gospel right there.

    “There are none worthy, not one.” Abuse of course is never a victim’s fault, but one thing that tends to make us more vulnerable and keep us trapped longer, is this idea that our own behavior makes us worthy or not worthy of love. Sadly many abusers exploit that deception and a few pastors falsely preach it, too.

    I’ve often said if we all understood that we are saved because of who He is and not because of who we are, the world would be like paradise. People who genuinely understand the depth of the Father’s love for us and the sacrifice He made on our behalf, just want to please Him and to honor others who are busy pleasing Him. “To please Him” is simply to offer yourself and your activities up to Him like a sweet fragrance. It’s not about being good enough or earning His approval or avoiding punishment, it’s more like falling in love.

  4. Holly

    Won’t it be wonderful some day in heaven to be free of our sin nature? It’s such a burden in this life.
    Thanks for this blog and for pointing us to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.

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  7. I just want to thank you for your blog and the truth that you write. I am blessed by it and love when an email comes into my inbox from you. Thank you for your faithfulness!!

  8. Allan Jenks

    ‘If only I accept it!’ I don’t know how many marvellous pieces like this get torpedoed by a last line like this. An addition that doesn’t just let faith arise naturally by the Spirit in praise & adoration, but which makes everything conditional and contingent on what I must do, with no mention of why it is, and of Who it is, that some indeed will accept, but most will not, and which TULIP is all about! – Exultation punctured!

    • I won’t let semi-pelagianism or pelagianism ruin a perfectly biblical and confessional phrase. “If only I accept it”. Faith is indeed a condition. No one can believe for you, you must receive it yourself. It is indeed true that faith can only belong to a regenerated heart, but a gospel offer is free to all, with the plea to accept it and believe it.
      I was merely using the language of the Heidelberg, #60. In agreement on faith as a condition is the Westminster:
      Man, by his fall, having made himself uncapable of life by that covenant, the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the Covenant of Grace, whereby He freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe. (WCF 7:3 WCS)

      What answer do you give to those who wish to have their sins washed away? We don’t pry into election. We call them to faith. Repent and believe the gospel.
      Faith is not a work. It is a repudiation of work and grasping Christ’s work.
      But you still must believe, and you must do it yourself.
      By this, I do not at all mean that man can seek after God apart from regeneration, but that is a different topic.
      I refuse to slaughter the free offer of the gospel on the altar of a thousand qualifications. Come to Christ. Accept his perfect righteousness and atonement. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. This is indeed a condition.

      • And one more – when someone asks “What must I do to be saved” the answer is not “Let faith arise naturally by the work of the spirit”. It’s a command. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not believe, you will not be saved.

  9. Allan Jenks

    Heiselburg: ‘requiring of them faith in Him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto eternal life His Holy Spirit, to make them willing, and able to believe.’

    Yes, that would have been a very good ending.

    • The Heidelberg Catechism is actually : “if only we accept this benefit with a believing heart.”
      That’s the ending I preferred. Orthodox, biblical, with long, accepted use in Reformed Churches, and it doesn’t lead to questions as to whether or not I’m elect it simply calls us to Faith. This is Calvin’s language, in case you were confused on that. We don’t pry into the secret election of God, we simply come to Christ. His election is revealed in Christ and received by faith

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