“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV).
If you lived to be 500 years old, you would not live long enough to please God by your own works. It doesn’t matter how hard you may try to clean yourself up. Your flesh is not accepted before God; it can’t even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross. Now a new man has come forth: the Christ man. True faith is having confidence in what Christ has done for you.
You may say, “Oh, I can believe that God delights in faithful pastors. They pray and spend so much time in his Word. I can believe that elders are precious to him. They have endured sufferings, tests and trials, and have come out victorious. However, I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He is surely disgusted with me because my life is so inconsistent. I have problems I can’t seem to get through. I believe he still loves me, but surely he is disappointed in me.”
Please understand Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy of grace when God said, “But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.’” (Isaiah 43:1). This was spoken to a people who had been robbed, spoiled, snared and cast into prison, all because of their own foolishness and unbelief.
In the following chapter God emphasizes his message. “For I will pour water on him who is thirsty, and floods on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your offspring” (Isaiah 44:3-4). This is not a God who withholds from those he loves!
God wants his children to hear this clearly. He pointedly says to them, “Now, after all your failures, I come to you with this message of hope. And it’s only because you are mine!”