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Today you have witnessed part of a love story. But we want you to know that it actually points to an even greater love story about a Groom who chose the most unlovely and unworthy Bride. A love story no Hallmark film or romance novel comes close to.
The story begins with the creation of humanity. God creates both male and female and pronounces them to be very good (Genesis 1:26-31). However, the first man, Adam, chose to disobey God by eating from the tree that he had been commanded not to (Genesis 3:1-7). There is no greater crime than disobeying our very Creator. Going against His commands to walk our own way instead of worshiping the One who gives us our breath.
God, being holy, will not tolerate any sin against Him. One of the prophets stated that God’s eyes are too pure to approve evil, and [He] cannot look on wickedness with favor (Habakkuk 1:13). This is the God who wiped out all of mankind except for eight people in a universal flood because of their wickedness (Genesis 6:5-8), destroyed an entire wicked city (Genesis 19), took the life of two men who were wicked in His sight (Genesis 38:7, 10), warned the people not to get too close to Him when He appeared on the mountain or He might break out against them in anger and wrath (Exodus 19:21-25), struck down two priests for their disobedience (Leviticus 10:1-3), struck another man down for touching His holy ark (2 Samuel 6:6-7) as well as a couple for lying (Acts 5:1-11).
God, being just, cannot let sin go unpunished. If a judge had a guilty murderer sitting in front of him and he lets him go without any consequence, you would probably question how just of a judge he is. Likewise, God would not be just if he allowed people to sin without punishing them. The Bible tells us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the soul that sins surely shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). (Did you notice that all of the examples given in the last paragraph involved death?) In fact, after Adam’s treason with eating the forbidden fruit, God kicks him and his wife out of the Garden of Eden where they had close fellowship with their Maker so that they are not able to eat of the tree of life and live forever (Genesis 3:22-24). They can no longer be in His presence on account of their sin. They are separated from God and will physically die.
None of us are any better. We are born with the same death sentence as Adam, having inherited his sinful nature. God’s Word states that we all stand just as guilty before God. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If we look at God’s standard of righteousness revealed in His law and compare it to our lives, we are faced with the reality of how guilty we actually stand before this holy and just God. Take the 10 Commandments for example (Exodus 20:1-17). Have you always, every minute of every day, placed God first in your life and never given the devotion that exclusively belongs to Him to anyone or anything else? Have you ever taken God’s name in vain? Ever dishonored or disobeyed your parents? Told a lie? Taken something that did not belong to you? Hated someone? (Jesus said that if you have hatred in your heart towards someone you are in essence guilty of murder (Matthew 5:21-26).) Committed adultery, whether physically or lustfully in your heart? (Jesus tells us that lusting after someone in your heart who is not your spouse is counted as adultery (Matthew 5:27-28).) What does our honest answers to these questions related to God’s law indicate? Exactly what God Himself says about us. That we are sinners who have broken His law, thus deserving His hatred, anger, and wrath. Why should we expect a holy, righteous, and just God to ever accept us wretched, wicked, and evil sinners? We are unlovely due to the filth of our sin and unworthy of His favor. Even what we think to be righteous acts are considered to be filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6).
Here is where the love story comes into play. God does the unthinkable! He chooses to love these rebels. To show them both mercy and grace. He sends His sinless, righteous, and holy Son who willingly leaves the glory of heaven to come down to earth to become a man and live among us. He lives the life that we all have failed to live; a life of perfect obedient righteous holiness. Never breaking any of God’s law but keeping all 613 commandments that God gave. Yet, though He didn’t deserve it because He never sinned, He died upon the cross experiencing God’s wrath in place of those who would turn from their sins and look to Him for their hope of being able to be accepted by God in spite of their sin. As He underwent the punishment in their place, being counted as guilty of their sins, God in turn declares them to be righteous. He views them as if they had lived Jesus’ righteous life and accepts them as His children, making them part of the Church, Christ’s bride. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, guaranteeing and promising a future resurrection for His bride.
What greater love can be found than that Jesus would lay down His very life for the bride that He loves? For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that all who believe in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
There is coming a beautiful wedding banquet for the Lord’s bride when He returns (Revelation 19:6-9). The question is, will you be a part of it or be without your wedding clothes and thrown into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 22:14)? God commands that you repent, a turning away from your sin and a forsaking of yourself, and trust that the Lord Jesus Christ alone can save you through His death and resurrection. Not relying on your works or any specific tradition but looking to Jesus only. Confess your sins to Him, renounce them, and cry out for His mercy. As Scripture says, everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved (Joel 2:32). If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9). Only those who repent and place their complete trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for their salvation will be at this banquet. We hope to see you there!