I’m writing this a bit on a whim, but that’s okay. It’s been on my mind for a while to start a new series of posts called “Forgiven Much”. The title refers to Luke’s account in chapter 7, verses 36-50, which tells a tale of two very different characters: Simon, a Pharisee, who is confident in his own righteousness and blind to his need for Christ, and an unnamed woman, who is notorious in the city for being a sinner. In the story, Jesus is dining at Simon’s house when a sinful woman enters and begins kissing Jesus feet, wiping them with her tears and anointing them with expensive Alabaster perfume. Simon is repulsed by Jesus’ acceptance of such a sinner and complains silently to himself. Jesus, however, knowing his heart, responds with this humbling parable:
“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:41-47 ESV)
Our Lord tells us this: he is who is forgiven little will love little, but he who has been forgiven will love much. That’s the way it is and there’s no way around it. For me, this is a scary rebuke. Underneath my knowledge and my right answers, I still struggle to understand the sinfulness of my heart. The truth is I often don’t feel like I’m very sinful and as a result, I’m not often awestruck and humbled to the dust at God’s love for me. I think God has been teaching me over this past year that many of my struggles–whether its struggling day-to-day to find contentment and rest in Christ or wrestling with questions of God’s sovereignty and justice in the Bible– come from an an inadequate knowledge of my sin. I have failed to understand how deep-rooted and widespread, how deceptive, and how serious my sin is. The goal of this series is a simple one: to meditate on the depth, height, width, and the breadth of my sinfulness in order that I might find fresh joy in the depth, height, width, and breadth of the forgiveness and love of Christ.
Every year, Berean, my church in Irvine, chooses a theme. My freshman year it was “Worship”, this past year was the “Great Commission” (I think, haha), and this year our theme is “Abiding in Christ”. If I were to try and identify a theme for this year, I think I would want this to be my theme. We have been forgiven much, and therefore we love much.
Also, I’m hoping that I can make these posts shorter but also more frequent. That way I won’t be weighed down writing these massive 1500 word essays (that I hate by the time I’m done writing them), but I can write entries that are enjoyable for me and more easily digestible for you. Until next time, adios!
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