Does God Love Me Just the Way I Am?

The answer to the question above is “Yes, and no.” God loves you, yes absolutely, and he wants you to live with him forever. This is proved by the fact that God sent his Son, Jesus, to take on human nature and to die for our sins. God’s extraordinary self-sacrifice, taking on himself the penalty for our sins, shows that from God’s point of view our sins are literally a matter of life and death.

Sometimes the phrase, “God loves me just the way I am” is used to mean “God loves me and doesn’t care what I do.” But look at the first interaction between God and humanity recorded in the Bible, to story of Adam and Eve. God issued one rule (don’t eat from that tree). Adam and Eve broke the rule. God did not say, “Well, that’s all right, I love you just the way you are.” He expelled Adam and Eve from their pleasant garden and consigned them to a life of work and pain. Look at the history of the people of Israel. When they broke the Ten Commandments, God punished them. God cares deeply what we do. He loves us despite our sins, but he wants us to give up our sins.

Jesus instructed us (in the Lord’s Prayer) to call God “Father.” Think of how a father loves his children. He loves them no matter what, but he does not love them “just the way they are.” He wants them to grow in maturity and good works.

Our liturgy at St. Barnabas reflects both sides of this question. There is thanksgiving for God’s love and there are stories about his mighty works to save his followers in the past. There is also confession and prayers for forgiveness because we recognize that everyone sins in one way or another. This is liberating! It is unhealthy to fool oneself into thinking that one does not sin, and it is equally unhealthy to suppose that our sins have irrevocably cut us off from God.  The fact is that we do sin and that God has done something about it in Jesus, but he wants us to strive for holiness, and he has promised to help that striving.

About Saint Barnabas Anglican Church of Seattle

Rooted in Scripture & Steeped in Anglican Tradition. A church that worships from the King James Version of the Bible and the 1928 American Book of Common Prayer. A diverse congregation committed to Jesus Christ.
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