“It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the Lord favored and chose you—for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. Rather it is because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the promise he solemnly vowed to your ancestors that the Lord brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” Deuteronomy 7:7-8
In our day and age, it has become more and more prevalent to speak of our salvation in terms of what it says about us. How valuable we must be to Him that He would go to the lengths our redemption required. This is true in one sense, but not without qualification. For you see, if God saves us due to some worthiness in us – then grace ceases to be grace. And the Gospel is robbed of its most essential component.
Are we in any way worthy of God’s love? Only in this way: That because He created us in His image, He imbued us with value. Value that does not exist in us intrinsically, so that in some way, God was drawn to us first so as to decide to redeem us. He came to us ruined and undone. He was before us. He made us, we did not make ourselves, nor make ourselves attractive to Him in any way. He sought us in our sin, rebellion and defilement. Not because we – in and of ourselves – brought anything to the table to bless or add to Him. It is only the sad expression of our fallen egos that looks for something in ourselves that makes us worth saving.
We get another picture of this when God confronts Israel about its beginnings: Ezek. 16:2-6 “Son of man, make known to Jerusalem her abominations, and say, Thus says the Lord God to Jerusalem: Your origin and your birth are of the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite. And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born. “And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’”
We are not sought out and made His because of some worthiness in us. But because of the glory of mercy, grace and compassion that is in Him!
So we are at a place where we need to re-calibrate such thinking according to revelations like this one in regard to the Israelites. i.e. that we think of salvation not in terms of what it says about us – but what it says about Him. What it says about His love, His grace, His mercy, His condescension, His faithfulness, His compassion, His magnificence. To make salvation a matter of our worth, is to seek something of our own glory, rather than to seek it all in Him.
So the 3rd verse of Rock of Ages:
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.”
Oh that our hearts would be captured once again by the wonder of His grace. That the congealed fountains of our hard hearts would be broken up afresh to gaze and the power, majesty, sweetness, and unfathomable mystery of such divine love that would make sinners such as I am His own.