Seeing Jesus in Psalm 31 “Loved, Wondrously Loved”
Psalm 31:16 – “Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love.”
Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation once joyously declared, “sinners are attractive because they are loved,, they are not loved because they are attractive.” This is a very simple statement but one that is profound in its simplicity, for what is says is this, there is nothing within us that makes us attractive and because of that God’s love for us is not based on how attractive or how good we are.
That is a radically different message than what is presented by our culture today isn’t it? People today are seen as being loveable based on how attractive they are or how good they are or what things they have accomplished. It is not only a message that is radically different than culture, it is a message that is radically different than what is presented in many so called Christian circles. Many times in our postmodern world, Christianity has evolved into a message of positive thinking, a message that says if I just do this or this then God is going to be with me and I’m going to be able to accomplish great things. Another danger for Christianity in our world today is that it has become a culture of self help. People go to church to learn how to be a better person, or a better parent, or a better employee, or whatever. The problem with both of these teachings is that they are both predicated on the idea that we have to do something to make ourselves attractive to God so that He will bless us. “I just need to pray more”, or “I need to come to church more”, or “I need to learn how to control my temper or stay away from pornography or whatever sin plagues you.” If I can just do these things then God will be pleased with me and then He will help me and I can accomplish great things in my life.
The truth is you may need to do all of those things but if you are doing them to make yourself more attractive to God then you are going to end up a failure because there is nothing you can do to make God love you anymore or any less. There is no way that you can make yourself more attractive to God. Quite the opposite it is His love that makes you attractive to Him. We are not attractive in the eyes of God because of our good works, our good thoughts, or our ability to stay away from sin. We are attractive to God when we are covered with the blood of His son. When we have accepted the love of God that was displayed beautifully, wondrously, and powerfully on the cross of Calvary then we are covered with the blood of Christ and then and only then are we attractive to God.
God makes His face shine on us, He saves us with His steadfast love not because of what we do but because of what Jesus did. We are able to find refuge in God (v. 1), He is our rock and our salvation (v. 3), He redeems us ( v. 5), He delivers us (v. 8), He remembers us (v. 12), He lifts us up (v. 17), and He makes His face to shine upon us (v. 16), not because of what we do, but because of what Jesus, His son has already done on the cross of Calvary. Because of the cross, all these things become ours, they are a part of our inheritance, and they give us hope and joy. Its not about us or our attractiveness or our work, it is about how Jesus lived (a perfect life), and what He did for us on the cross (bearing our sins so that we could be forgiven. We certainly are not loved because we are attractive, we are attractive because we are loved. Loved by Jesus, who went to the cross for us. If we put our faith and our trust in Him, then we are justified before God. We are justified by faith alone, not our own attractiveness, nor our own works, simply justified by faith. Faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ and once we put our faith in Him, we are justified, we are Redeemed, and God truly does make His face shine upon us. To God be the glory!