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  • Ben Lucas

God's Creative Love

Ben Lucas writes about New Year's resolutions, and as he does he encourages us to rejoice and remember that it's all about God's grace.


I don’t know whether you are a New Year’s resolution person but many of us are. The magazine shelves at this time of year attest to the fact. Women’s health offers, “Get fit, 28 days!”[1] Psychologies magazine will help you, “Discover your mantra.”[2] And Homebuilding and Renovating will teach you “how to create a healthy home.”[3]

 

It may not be that your mind turns to fitness, psychology, or home improvements. For many of us, whether we consider it a resolution or not, it’s a time of year in which we start a new Bible reading plan, or a new program of reading. Both are certainly true for me. As well as starting a new Bible reading plan, I hope to deepen my acquaintance with Luther.

 

As I set out this year with Luther by my side, he is already bringing me back to the gospel. Already brought me back to the fact that we live from grace to grace. Grace, beginning and end. In thesis twenty-eight of the Heidelberg Disputation he writes, “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.”[4]

 

You might want to go back and read that again. What a truth to start the year. God’s love creates that which is pleasing to it. Or, as the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it after God had made everything, “they were lovely because he loved them.”[5] Our God, revealed in the face of Jesus Christ, does not love us in response to anything in us. Rather, he loved us despite what was in us. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:9).

 

Being dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1), and since dead things do not act, we were unable to produce anything loveable. And so, if we cannot produce it, God does. “The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.”

 

This is probably not new to many readers. But how we need to be drawn back to the gospel. If we are honest, how many of us have begun in grace. But ended in works? How often have we trumpeted justification by faith. Followed by sanctification by works?

 

Certainly, self-examination and discipline are called for. But we must never forget that if anything is to be pleasing to God, he is the one who created it. Growth in godliness does not go outside in. We do not bear truly good fruit by practising external righteousness. We bear truly good fruit through regeneration.

 

So, as you start this year, start it in grace from beginning to end. Certainly, the God who called forth the moon and stars from nothing will call forth good fruit from our lives. But it is always and only him who calls it forth.

 

Footnotes: [1 ] https://www.magazine.co.uk/magazines/womens-health-magazine [2]https://www.magazine.co.uk/magazines/psychologies-magazine [3]https://www.magazine.co.uk/magazines/homebuilding-and-renovating-magazine

[4] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works. Volume 31. Career of the Reformer I, ed. by Harold J. Grimm and Helmut T. Lehman (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1957), p. 57.

[5] Sally Lloyd-jones, Jesus Storybook Bible (Zondervan, 2012), p. 25.


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Benjamin Lucas trained at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford and has an MA in Theology with the University of Wales. He is married to Emily and they have three children. He is the Associate Vicar at All Saints' Lindfield.


Views expressed in blogs published by the Latimer Trust are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Latimer Trust.

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