READ: Proverbs 15, Luke 3, 1 John 3


Let my heart be blameless,” the Psalmist prayed, “regarding your statutes, that I may not be ashamed” (Psalm 119:80). If anything short of a blameless heart brings shame, then blamelessness must be God’s minimal standard, not man’s highest goal. It is staggering to think of blamelessness as the entry point, not the destination. Oh what wonder, the impossible expectations of God for us! Oh how marvelous is God’s infinite capacity to bring us to the place of blamelessness and then beyond it, how spectacular the grace that does not stop at redemption. God’s unrelenting mercy presses on, past redemption, past a blameless heart, past the highest expectations of man, and presses towards His expectation for us–conformity to Himself! We can hardly bear the thought or the process.

John exclaims in joyful wonder: “Behold what manner of love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God” (1 John 3:1). As unbelievably blessed as we are to be God’s children, that too is a minimum standard. John continues: “and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be.” God’s goal is not just our adoption as beloved children; it is to make us like Him, for “we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). God has unimaginable goals for us. We look at blameless sonship/daughterhood as a final destination; God looks at these wondrous relational standings as portals. His destination is to stamp the divine image so deeply upon us that we become like Him.

It is difficult to believe that we will be blameless. It is even difficult for many followers of Jesus to believe we are beloved. We are content to sit on the outer edges of glory. It is enough for us to be redeemed generally, to be one of millions who enjoy the encompassing love of the Father. We are satisfied to sense the love of God remotely, as one on the outer fringe of a vast crowd pressed in to Jesus. We can even picture and anticipate the warm glow of happiness of being in heaven looking towards the throne from a comfortable distance; others immediately around Jesus while we breathe deeply of the peripheral glow. But this is not enough for Jesus.

God’s unrelenting passion does not stop at blamelessness and does not rest at sonship/daughterhood; thus it cannot allow intimacy by proxy. God reaches out into our very being and gently, firmly pulls us ever closer to Himself. It hurts, it burns, it destroys all comfort, and it is both agonizing and awesome to be brought nearer and nearer to God. We even writhe and resist this infinite drawing. We feel unworthy, and that falsehood must be burned out of us. Intimacy and union with God scares the sin out of us. Ever deeper, ever closer, intimacy can be an uncomfortable process for those who have been twisted, but it straightens us then envelops us with sweetness.

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