I was at a Dave Matthews concert several years ago and there was a dude there wearing an unusual shirt with this bold proclamation: “God Hates Me”. It was really awkward and makes me wonder this: How do I think God thinks about me?
It’s super easy to go through the motions and read the posterboards at football games that tell me that “God Love Me”. And I pretty well believe it almost all of the time.
But what does he really think about me? How does he “feel” about me? (but let’s not get into a debate regarding God having or not having emotions…go read your Westminster Confession and figure it out).
When I’ve recently asked that question to friends I get two responses more than any other:
I see my own life and even a touch of my own heart and am pretty disappointed in myself. How can God, who knows me better than I know myself and has infinitely higher standards than I can imagine, feel any better about me. At the very best He tolerates my slow learning and weak following. Kinda like giving me 2 stars out of five in his review of me.
But then passages cut my disappointed knees out from underneath me:
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with salvation.
There’s loads of other places that say the same thing, but essentially we are told that, because of the Gospel and Jesus exchanging His Sonship with ours, we have a Heavenly Father that absolutely loves us, but ALSO LIKES US! Hear that. Own that. I have pretty much never heard that preached, though it is an age-old theology called “Propitiation” (defined as returning into God’s favor)
In short….God has not just removed his wrath (“expiation”) but has imputed his favor, his “affection”. God actually likes you. He doesn’t just put up with you and wish that you would do better. He sees you as you in all your uniqueness, but with Jesus-colored glasses. Even more…he has changed us into His Son’s Image. He doesn’t just see us in a better light, he has remade us into our original image…and has returned his favor onto us. And this utterly changes the way I see Him…love Him…obey Him…repent to Him. It’s utterly freeing.