The song “Reckless Love” has become well-known and much loved over the past year in the Christian community. It touches on a wonderful truth: God’s deep love for humanity. It describes God’s love as overwhelming, never-ending, and reckless. Cory Asbury expounds on this idea (recorded at Heaven Come Conference 2017, published November 23, 2017 by Bethel Music) saying that God’s love might be seen as shocking, even ridiculous by our human way of thinking. “God was utterly unconcerned with the consequences of His action with regard to his own safety.” John Piper’s thoughts on this song pointed to I Corinthians 1:18-25 where Paul describes the foolishness of God: “for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” Amen! Thanks be to God for his ‘reckless love’, his ‘foolish’ plan, which makes a way for us to be His own!
Truthfully, I think the news for those who believe is even better for us. My thoughts are rooted in my firm belief that God is omniscient: he knows everything. So what might seem to us to be reckless (because we don’t know the outcome of our actions) was actually a decision made with full awareness of the cost to God. He knew the price that needed to be paid: the death of his only Son, born of a woman into humanity… born to die. The incarnation was no gamble on God’s part. He determined that the salvation of all creation was worth the price, and so the price was paid. The Innocent died so that the guilty might go free. Thanks be to God!
Another bit of good news that I think is important is grounded in the biblical concept that God is omnipresent: he is able to be in more than one place at a time. The psalmist talks about this in Psalm 139, verses 7-12. There is no where that we can go that God is not, from the heavens to the depths of Sheol. When Jesus was incarnate, he was only in once place at a time, but when Jesus ascended to heaven and sent His Spirit to be with us, there was no longer any sort of limitation on where God could be. (For the record, I believe that God the Spirit and God the Father were not limited by Jesus’ earthly body during his time here on earth…) I’m reminded of a song that the band Lonestar sang in 2001, “Already There”… the song talks about a father far from home, asked by a child when he will be home. The dad replies, “I’m already there… in the sunshine, in the breeze, in the shadows, in your imagination, in your prayers.” The father’s heart was at home, with his wife and family. But his body was not. God does not have the limitations that we have. He can be everywhere. The good news is this: God doesn’t have to search to find us, like the hero in the movie(s) “Taken.” He knows where we are (omniscient) and he’s already there (omnipresent). We are not alone in our struggles or trials or triumphs; he is with us! Thanks be to God!
A bit more good news: the deed is done. God has come after you. There is not more searching to be done, as he knows where you are and he is already there with you. The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us clearly that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was sufficient, once for all. (see especially chapter 10). According to John, the beloved disciple who was there at his death, Jesus himself stated on the cross, “it is finished”. That which was far away (sinful mankind) has been brought near through the blood of Jesus. The prophetic words of Psalm 22, spoken by Jesus on the cross (and describing Jesus on the cross!), have led to the description/formation of the Church: God’s people who are poor and rich, from every nation, the strong and the weak, the young and the old and those yet unborn… he has done it. That which was far away has been brought near. He has done it! (Psalm 22:22-31) Thanks be to God!
So is God coming after us? More good news! In one of his last talks with them before his suffering and death, Jesus promises his disciples: I will come to you. (John 14:18, 28) After his resurrection, Jesus refers to the time when he will return in his conversations with Peter. (John 21:22ff). Angels inform the ascension-shocked disciples that Jesus will return in the same way that he left the earth. (Acts 1:11) Also, the beloved disciple John is granted a vision of the victorious return of Christ with this description: “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.” (Rev. 21:3, but don’t stop there! The description is stunning and comforting and all that we might hope for!) In Christ’s words concerning the end times we hear both blessing and warning. “Blessed are those who wash their robes (in the blood of the Lamb) that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.” Thanks be to God! Glory!
About the warning: Christ goes on to describe those who will end up outside the gates to the city…basically the evil-doers. This points to a part of the song “Reckless Love” that I have come to appreciate more and more as I have searched the scriptures. I felt offended (or certainly not included) when the lyrics called me God’s enemy. I’m not an enemy of God! I’ve been His child since I was young, following and seeking His ways and His glory. But my life and the scriptures tell a different story. I’m a sinner. Ephesians 2:1-3 describe my life (and yours) apart from God’s saving work. I am (apart from Him) dead in my sins. I am (apart from Him) disobedient. I am (apart from Him) an object of wrath. Verse 4 starts with that most important word: but. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ, even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” YES!!! We are saved by grace through faith… and even the faith is a gift from God! (Ephesians 2:8-9) Thanks be to God!
In the next paragraph of Revelation 21, we hear an invitation from the Church and from the Spirit. “Come.” Dear friend, dear brother and sister, come. “Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Rev. 22:17). You are invited! You can take the free gift of the water of life… Jesus Christ Himself. (See John 4.) You don’t have to wait for God to find you; he’s already with you. You don’t have to wait for God to rescue you; it is finished. All you have to do is accept the free gift of the water of life. Thanks be to God!
God does seek us out, like the shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to find the one. And when we turn to him, his hands are ready and able to lift us from the eternal trouble that plagues us: our sin. He may or may not lift us from the circumstances of our life. In Luke 15, following the parable of the lost sheep and the lost coin, we find the parable of the lost son, or “prodigal” son. This is a boy who grew up in the Family. He decided he wanted a different life, so he left home. When he came to his senses, he did not wait for the Father to come and find him. He turned back toward home, practicing his apology as his steps took him closer. Did his Father see him coming? Yes, and ran to meet him!
If you have sought a better/different life apart from God, and you are “coming to your senses”, realizing that true life is in Him, simply turn toward home. Hear the Spirit and the Church inviting you, pleading with you, “come!” Take a step and God will meet you, arms outstretched to welcome you. If you don’t have strength for a step, simply call out to God. The Shepherd is eager and waiting to lift you on his shoulders and bring you home. In the words of Christ, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30.) Thanks be to God!
So much good news!! For those who claim Christ as Savior, trusting in His work and His Word, the joy and security is overwhelming. For those who are considering Christ as Savior and Lord, hear the voices of the scriptures, of the Spirit, of the Church, and of Christ Himself, bidding you to come to Him. Perhaps another picture from the book of Revelation (3:15-20) will help. These are the words of Christ, as he both warns and welcomes:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so that you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
Come, friends. Open the door to reckless, costly, grace-filled Love.