“Jesus loves me! This I know, for the Bible tells me so.” The lyrics state “this I know,” butdo we really know…I mean really know what these words mean? Many of us learned the lyrics: “yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me the Bible tells me so.” We learned these words as children; but now, even as adults, we may not grasp the deep and mystical meaning of these simple words…….JESUS LOVES ME.
What does it mean…JESUS LOVES ME? Further on in the lyrics we are given a clue: “He who died Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in.” What incredibly GOOD NEWS this is!
My dear friends, that which we could not do for ourselves God, through GRACE has done for us. Hear me loud and clear when I say; we cannot wash away our own sins, but the Lamb of God can and did when He took our place, bore our sins and died so that we could be forgiven.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Why did Jesus have to die? Paul gives us the reason in Gal 2:20 with these words “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me.”
Let’s examine the depth of His love:
- God sent His son to become man like us in all things but sin.
- Jesus, though innocent, was treated like a criminal
- The flesh of His back was torn off during a scourging.
- A crown of thorns was forced to pierce His head.
- Nails were painfully driven through His hands.
- A spear was thrust into His side.
- Naked, bloody and humiliated He died on a cross.
- ALL OF THIS FOR EACH ONE OF US INDIVIDUALLY!
The depth of His love is hard for us to comprehend. Using the words from Amazing Grace, “I scarce can take it in.” John says it this way in John 15:13: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” It is for this reason we adore God.
My dear friends please don’t miss this next point we DO NOT repent to EARN forgiveness, no, we repent because we have been forgiven. To grasp the meaning of Grace and thus God’s love we must see these in the correct order. FORGIVENESS (Jesus’ death on the cross) precedes our REPENTENCE.
As Christians we too often live in fear of damnation. We often view God as some vengeful score keeper. We seem to lack trust in the entirety of the act of Jesus’ death on the cross. As we mature in our Christian faith we move from this lack of trust to the deeper understanding that GRACE means that we can trust completely in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.
In 1 John 4 we are told that we can have confidence on the day of salvation. Let me repeat that, we are told we can have confidence on the day of salvation. Do you have that confidence? We forsake that confidence when we trade it in for fear. Look again at what we are told in 1 John 4:18 : “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.”
God does not want us living in fear as to whether or not we will be saved. The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of His own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. The grace of the Holy Spirit has the power to justify us, that is, to cleanse us from our sins and to communicate to us “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ.”
For emphasis permit me to repeat myself, We CAN’T EARN our own salvation!!! So since our justification comes from the GRACE of God and it is a gratuitous gift, does this mean our salvation can’t be lost? Volumes have been written over thousands of years debating this issue. I certainly cannot get into the depth of that here.
One verse that’s helps me with my understanding of the question as to whether or not we can lose our salvation comes in Romans 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” As I ponder the meaning of these words; “for those who are in Jesus Christ” I must ask myself, “What does it mean to be in Jesus Christ?” Although grace is a gift freely given it seems to me that through my free will I can also freely reject it as well.
Matthew tells us this in Chapter 7:20: “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord“ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.”
John 14:15 says this: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
James 2:16 says this: “So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
Mark 1:15 says this: “Repent and believe in the Gospel.”
So before stating my conclusion, I want to sayI offer this as my own personal belief and conclusion. I see things this way: God loves us beyond our ability to comprehend. God’s ability to forgive exceeds our ability to sin. God longs for everyone to be with him in Heaven. His Grace is freely given to us, we cannot earn it. The normal and natural response to love is to love the one who loves us in return. The Bible tells us if we love Jesus we must keep His commands. We can demonstrate a lack of acceptance of His gratuitous gift of Grace and Love if we don’t repent and keep His commands. After our repentance is it likely that we will slip up and sin again? Yes it is, and that is precisely why His death on the cross was necessary! So this is what is meant by “Yes Jesus Loves me.”
We started with the children’s song YES JESUS LOVES ME, so let’s finish with it since we know Jesus calls us to be like children. The song concludes with these words: “Thou hast bled and died for me, I will henceforth live for Thee.”
Heavenly Father, I do accept Jesus as my SAVIOR. Please help me to love you in return for the glorious gift of your SON by following your will. On those times when I do fall short and sin, please wash me clean by the blood of the lamb. Amen!