God knows me so well. I stand unclothed before an omnipresent and omniscient God. There is no place for me to hide. God is intimately acquainted with me, my thoughts, my words, and my works.
God is so displeased with who I am and what I have done. According to his evaluation, I am so unrighteous, so unholy, so sub-par. Perhaps, if me and my works were like hot water, then I might be good for cleaning dishes, taking a bath, or cooking. Or, if only me and my works were like cold water, then I might have some benefit for drinking or bodily refreshment. However, me and my works are lukewarm, and frankly, God finds them disgusting. In God’s eyes I am wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
God sees how complacent I am about my condition and his displeasure. I should be most concerned about God’s desires, expectations, and appraisals. I should be desperate to see our relationship rectified. However, I pursue personal satisfaction through material things. I focus on money, food, sex, entertainment, popularity, fame, ease, sports, and various hobbies. I hope these things will bring me satisfaction. I pretend such material pursuits are making me happy. And in the meantime I neglect the God who is most displeased with my current manner of living life. Yes, in God’s eyes I am wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked, but in my eyes I am alright.
However, despite my pitiable condition, God loves me. How?
He sends godly counsel my way and encourages me to read, listen, learn and apply. His wisdom is more valuable than refined gold. His direction makes one truly wise and really rich. His Gospel is like the most extravagant of white garments for those who find themselves shamefully naked. Through his Word, the Holy Spirit soothes the troubled soul; he is like salve that benefits the stinging and blurry eye. And according to his eternal decree and daily providence, he has brought the printed Word and the preached Word my way.
He disciplines me. Actively and passively he brings difficult circumstances and pain into my life. With divine compassion he spanks me. His rod and staff are both troubling and comforting. These implements of discipline hurt so, but they are so useful in the tender hands of my Heavenly Father.
He pursues me. When I move to another place, he stands like the father of the Prodigal Son and longs for my return. When I am found missing in the night, he leaves the ninety-nine other sheep and travels about to retrieve me. And even though I have entered into his house and left him out in the cold, he stands at the sanctuary door and knocks. He is always ready to reconcile. He is always ready to restore. He is the God of love who seeks worshipers. He is the Savior of the elect who will not go away.
So what should I do? What is the logical response to this God who loves with me with everlasting love?
Revelation 3:15-22 I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
According to this text, it is my duty to:
- Clothe myself in the white garments of grace (Prayer of Faith)
- Be zealous and repent before the offended God of grace (Prayer of Repentance)
- Open the door and fellowship with the God of grace (Prayer of Communion)
And what does God promise? God promises instantaneous communion. He will not keep me at arms length. He will not put me on probation. He will again respond as did the father of the Prodigal Son. Immediate fellowship will be enjoyed with this all-seeing, all-knowing, all-present, very-offended God. All that is wrong will be made right as we dine together at the table of the Lord.
And why will he respond to me with such undeserved grace — again? Not because I am worthy. Not because I am faithful. Not because I am consistent. But only because he loves me!