Last week I wrote about how love is a summary of the law (Romans 13:10). If this is true, then to understand what love is we need to understand God’s written revelation to us; love is not an open category that we get to define. Rather love is a virtue, a habit grounded in a character that pursues and loves things that are good, true, and beautiful. But given our sinful condition, we are never going to understand love or be loving apart from God’s grace. In grace God does not just empower us to be able to engage in this or that loving act, He remakes us into His image so that we become loving.
The purpose of creation and redemption was always and is for us to receive the very thing (being like God) the snake claimed God was withholding. The devil claimed and continues to claim that God withholds from us, but God’s ultimate and final plan is for us to walk in “fullness of joy” and “pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16).
God desires that we know Him, but that means more than just mental assent. It means familiarity. It means having something in the bones of your character, attitude, and behavior. And this takes time.
The very first and fundamental step in growing in God is that we must trust the Trust-Worthy One. Our first parents failed to do this in the garden and all of us have failed since to truly trust God. That is why Christ lived the perfect life and died on our behalf. His perfect life not only paid for our sin, but opens the way for us to grow in godliness. To be formed in righteousness and holiness we must trust put our trust in God, not the wisdom of this world.
We need to remember that the wisdom of the world is ultimately futile because it failed to recognize Jesus as the rightful ruler. No religious leader, professional academic, or political leader recognized Jesus as God; instead, they crucified Him. In the same way, the world does not see or recognize the Gospel as the ultimate revelation of the wisdom of God. We cannot have the mindset of the world and see Christ as God.
But this seems impossible to the post-modern mind—is there really truth? And can we really know it? Gibson argues that our biggest problem is not that we cannot find the truth, but because of our sin we don’t truly want to find it. We say we are seeking the truth, yet we never obey the truth we already have and we ingeniously avoid the truths we don’t want to find.
Yet the Bible claims that there is Truth: He has revealed Himself to us and He sets us free. As Christians we are not only to have Christ in mind, but have the same mind as Christ. As we renew our minds in Christ we learn to appreciate the goodness of His mind, the beauty of His plans, and the nobility of all His work. We need all of this to feel a deep and devoted approval toward God’s will. We need not only to see it, but to love it.
This sounds great, but how do we get there? First we need to recognize that becoming like Christ is a gift of God and seek after and pray for this gift. Next we need to try to please God, to have faith that He is good and that His commands are good and truly try to follow Him in all things. We can’t do this alone, but His Spirit empowers us to do what He desires of us.