Have you ever wondered if God was just going to drop you? You’ve had too many screw-ups. Too little faith. Not enough self control. Too many wildly volatile emotions. Poor decisions and deliberate rebellion. Ever felt like perhaps God’s grace and patience with your inconsistent heart was exhausted? I’ve felt like that this week.
As I grow closer and dive deeper into a life changing faith I am so much more aware of my sinful nature. I’m a mess! Can’t do what I want to do and do the things I don’t want to do. The fruits of the spirit? I lack them. In fact, this week at one time or another I am pretty sure I lacked every single one of them. (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 5:22)
This morning I was wallowing in my mess, fumbling through scripture, trying to allow what I was reading to speak life into my heart. The gap between my heart and God’s seemed insurmountable. It was there, in Romans chapter 8:31-40, that God reminded me that the grip He has on my life was not initiated by me. As Christians, I think sometimes we forget that God’s love is perfect, and in His perfection, He chooses to love us even at our messiest.
When you give your life to Christ something amazing, almost incomprehensible happens. He securely locks your life into His. As I was considering this truth I am reminded about one handy tool mechanics, engineers, and common laborers often use to secure things: a vise grip. Ever seen one in action? A vise grip is similar to pliers, except, it has locking “jaws.” Vice grips function by using multiple pivot points to expand and contract the jaw in direct proportion to the amount of force applied to the handles. Now, aside from this useless mechanical lesson I just gave (smile), there is one very cool thing about vice grips that I want you to know. A vise grip allows the tool handler to multiply the amount of pressure tenfold to secure the object being gripped! Essentially, a vise grip amplifies the hold on an object to be unbreakable! The user of a vice grip can simply apply more pressure, to create a firmer hold, for objects, instances and circumstances as needed.
Friends, Jesus sacrificial death on the cross, created a vise grip for you and I! When God granted the gift of salvation, He did so permanently and lavishly. Paul confirms to those who doubt, to those who fear their failures, to those who feel condemned, to those who wonder if they’ve gone too far, to those who feel unworthy, and to those who feel insecure: You are firmly gripped by the love of Jesus.
I love the way the message version of the Bible words this passage. Pause a minute and let it pour over you “Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture….None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.”
I love that Paul (author of Romans) tells us he is convinced of this! Paul is completely certain! Paul gets so clearly specific in his list of “nothings” because He wants the church to realize the security of their relationship with Christ. Salvation is initiated by Jesus, and it is secured by Jesus. Nothing you did earned God’s love, and nothing you do will take it away! Isn’t that phenomenally freeing? Today, rejoice in the fact that you are securely His. If you doubt it, write it down somewhere where you’ll see it often. Maybe a nightstand, mirror, or dresser. God knew all you would do, every thought, mistake, failure, and still chose to die for you. As I read Romans today, that still small voice moved in my spirit with such reassurance, “Hey You. I chose you. I love you. Forever. Always. Just because… I can.”