You Don’t Have to Earn God’s Love
The wonderful truth that took me years to learn is you don’t have to earn God’s love or forgiveness! Also, the Heavenly Father loves us to celebrate freedom.
Did you know God likes numbers? He had Israel organize life into groups of 7. In the 49th year, which is 7 groups of 7, slaves and their children were set free and debts were canceled. And the 50th year was Jubilee – a year of celebration of freedom.
50 years ago yesterday, the Lord liberated me from the curse of the law. As a child of the Heavenly Father, I celebrated my 50th spiritual birthday. This is my Jubilee year!
The Summer I Accidentally Joined a Cult Mission
The summer of 1968 I flew to England to visit Drena and George Verwer. Little did I know a detour was planned and I wouldn’t arrive at their home for over a week.
About 150 Americans arrived in London. We caught a train, disembarked, raced down the platform, up the stairs and then over a bridge.
Mrs. Verwer Sr. had given me a case filled with long-playing phonograph records for George and draped a huge fur coat for Drena over my arm. I had my case, a sleeping bag and hand luggage. Nothing had wheels! Back in the day, Samsonite luggage was heavy when it was empty. Exhausted, I collapsed into the train.
We journeyed to the coast and walked what felt like a mile through an underground station. During a long wait the young people I was with started to preach to their captive audience. I was embarrassed and thought them crazy or part of a cult. Why else would they behave in such a way?
We finally boarded a ferry (4 hour journey) to Belgium where we were met by several V.W. vans, handed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and packed like sardines into a shell of a vehicle.
Arriving in a warehouse yard, George shook my hand and I was taken to the girl’s dorm where dozens of sleeping bags were lined up in rows on the cement floor. To my horror, I learned I was to attend Operation Mobilisation’s summer conference.
Frightened and wondering if my brother-in-law was the leader of a cult, I was catapulted into one of the craziest weeks of my life.
Though I thought them crazy, these young people had something I longed for.
Believing God was cruel and I needed to appease Him, for the next year I struggled to experience peace with God. Though I imitated others who prayed, read my Bible, consumed Christian books and tapes, and did good deeds – until May of 1969, I had no peace.
Good Deeds Aren’t Good Enough
In May, George said I would attend a conference. Realizing I’d be with people I didn’t know, I protested. He announced firmly, “You are going!” Taught to always obey those older than me, I went.
The team travelled to Swinden, then we went door to door inviting people to a meeting. George preached to a full church about Christ dying to pay for the sins of the world.
When he gave the call to follow Christ – he stressed one had to do nothing, indeed one could do nothing to earn favor with God. He urged, Just come as you are, with your sin and emptiness. You have nothing to offer God, no prayer, no good deeds.
My Eyes Were Opened
As George spoke, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart; for the first time I realized I didn’t have to earn God’s forgiveness. Jesus paid the debt; all I had to do was come to Calvary, give Him my brokenness and sin, and receive the gift of life.
We began to sing Just as I Am. George invited those the Lord was speaking to – to stand to their feet.
I was terrified lest anyone see me. George kept giving the invitation and asking us to sing another verse, then we repeated a verse. Finally at the end of the last stanza, knowing God was calling me, I stood to my feet. It was as if he waited for me as he then asked everyone to stand.
As he prayed, something wonderful happened. Once I was blind, but now I could see. As I prayed the sinner’s prayer, a heavy burden fell off my back.
Have you seen or read Pilgrim’s Progress? It was like when Christian bowed at the foot of the Cross and the heavy burden of sin rolled off his back.
Year of Liberty
On May 29th, 50 years ago, I gave my life to Jesus. He washed me with His blood, wrote my name in the Lamb’s book of Life, and Father God adopted me as His child. My journey of transformation began with the Holy Spirit working within me to make me like Jesus.
Biblically, the 50th year is Jubilee; a holy celebration initiated as rams horns were blown proclaiming liberty. “You are to consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim freedom in the land for all its inhabitants. It will be your Jubilee” (Lev 25:10, CSB).
Perhaps, you prayed as a child; everyone was happy and said you were saved. Yet, you don’t walk in intimacy with Jesus, you don’t have true peace with God.
Jesus said many who do good deeds and even did miracles in His name won’t enter heaven. Why? Because He doesn’t know them.
I ask you. Do you know Jesus?
The Apostle John encourages you to test the spirits. Make sure you belong to Jesus. Your prayer may have been sincere, but just because a baby is conceived in the womb doesn’t mean he or she comes to full term and is born alive.
It is the same with our second birth.
There’s a problem. Children sincerely respond to Jesus. But a child has no comprehension of relationship. You were old enough to love Jesus, but not old enough to be a disciple.
When you reached the age of accountability, did you choose to respond to the Holy Spirit, place your faith in Christ, take responsibility for your sins, and receive Jesus as your Lord?
If you did, you moved beyond conception and were born again by the Spirit of God.
Let me restate this. It’s not enough to base your eternal destiny on something sweet you did as a child. Especially if you aren’t growing in Jesus.
Prayer cannot save you. You cannot earn God’s love or forgiveness. Salvation isn’t a work of the soul.
Jesus said new birth occurs when you are born of water and the Holy Spirit (John 3:3). It is a spiritual transaction as the Heavenly Father adopts you into His family when you receive the sacrifice Jesus made on your behalf.
Peter said you must be born again of the incorruptible seed, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever (1 Pe 1:23).
I urge you come to Calvary. In humility, thank Jesus for dying for you.
Romans 8 says the Holy Spirit bears witness with your spirit and tells you if you are God’s child. If you have any doubt, ask Him. He will tell you. Make sure you belong to the Father!
Confess your sin, ask Jesus to be your LORD, and allow the Holy Spirit to give you His gift of life.
Then celebrate your new life by setting your focus and your affection on Jesus, with whom you have entered into covenant relationship.