Have you heard something like this…
Look at the price God paid for you; His own son! God wouldn’t sacrifice his son for something worthless would he?! Therefore we must be immensely valuable to God!
The crux of the idea of this; God’s primary motivation in sending Jesus to die is because you are personally worth that sacrifice, you are worth that price. The trouble is… you’re not. No one is worth the death of God the Son, the Eternal One. Especially not one of God’s enemies!
So if God didn’t sacrifice Jesus because we’re worth it, why did he do it? Well, first, because of his gracious love.
But you will say, “Aha! We must be worth something to God for him to love us!” But no! It’s not gracious love if we’re worthy of being loved. If we’re lovely in any way then God’s love ceases to be gracious.
But doesn’t God care about us, and doesn’t he know the number of hairs on our heads? Yes… but does he care because out hair is worthy to be counted? No! He cares because he is a caring God. He’s a God who cares for things that are not worthy of his care.
That’s what God wants us to know above everything else; he is the God who loves the unlovely, who saves the not-worthy-of-saving, who adopts the useless, who justifies the wicked.
And that’s why the death of Christ is “worth it” to God… that “price” was what it cost to show that he is gloriously gracious.
So, he didn’t send his Son to die because we’re worth it, he sent his Son to die because being known as amazingly gracious is worth it.
9 thoughts on “The price Jesus paid does not mean you’re worth that much to God.”
Don’t agree. Too much of God’s actions toward us include us into Christ. To say we are not valuable is to put us at a distance. This would mean God extends his love purely due to his character. However the gospel is not just about his character it’s focus is intimacy. Jesus said that he is in the Father and we are now in him. There is intense relationship. More than just relationship – eternal connectedness. This was God’s incredible plan from the beginning. This is the whole point of our creation in the first place. Everything we know about God’s work and plans involves us. Everything God has invested has been for us. Not because we are intrinsically valuable, ( that’s only a human concept to do with currency and is focused on self) but because of our intimate relationship to him.
Some of your concepts are not clear. Worthy and valuable are not the same thing. We can be valuable and not worthy. I don’t think many Christians would say they are worthy. The church will never progress while we have this ‘worm such as me’ mentality. Let’s start acknowledging the new creation. That’s our true identity.
Steve, I 100% agree with the amazing status and intimacy we have with God in Christ. We are beloved Sons! We are co-heirs! We even share God’s glory!
But none of this is because we are, or will ever be, worthy of it. That’s what makes it “amazing grace”. That was God’s incredible plan from the beginning… eternal connectedness with those who do not deserve it – who are not worthy of it.
But I do need to stop you at one point… “Everything we know about God’s work and plans involves us. Everything God has invested has been for us.” No. Everything has been for Jesus. We are not the “focus” of God’s work, we are the tools he uses to complete his work. We are either the objects of his wrath or the objects of his mercy in the revelation of his glorious grace in the face of Christ.
And yes… one amazing side-effect of God bringing glory to Christ is that many will eternally be in an intimate divine union with God in Christ… but the focus will be Christ, not us.
Hi Dave, thanks for that. Agree totally about Jesus. But I don’t think I said focus I think I said involves. It’s all about Jesus. And anything that has been revealed to us about him has actually made it to us for a reason that involves us. In this sense we are very valuable to the Father and Son.
Also, I totally agree that nothing is deserved. Everything good is from God and only by Grace we’re saved. But how does deserving relate to value? Can you flesh that out for me?
From what understand Love and value are connected. Where the heart is, the treasure is. God is always Love but Grace is enacted due to the presence of sin and his character.
Love is primary because his desire is to draw us close not just to extend out to us in Grace.
I don’t think Love and Grace can be separated. And love, in his drawing us close suggests great value. We don’t now how much value, but then we can’t comprehend how much love either. so why down play the value? (not worldly value, or self interested value but the value God has in his heart?)
Thanks… this is good to clarify (for me too)
First, I think we’re both in agreement that Love and Grace are pretty much the same thing. They are the character of God that makes him more than powerful… they make him glorious. So I think we’d both claim that “God graciously loves us” … yeah?
Second, you’re suggesting that love and value are connected… “in his drawing us close (=his love) suggests great value”. But does it? When I buy my kids an ice-cream, its not because I value the ice-cream… it’s because I value my kids. That ice-cream might come at great personal sacrifice, but that doesn’t make the ice-cream more valuable… but it does show how valuable my kids are to me.
So let’s be clear… what is God in Christ doing at the cross? He is redeeming a people, indeed a universe, to give to his Son as a bride. He is declaring his own worth.. his own gloriousness. In a way of speaking, the thing God values the most is his own glory; i.e. being known as amazingly gracious… that’s what he’s “buying” (in a crude way of speaking) at the cross.
Our “value” in this picture is in our ability to better show God’s glorious grace. The more intrinsically worthless we are, the more glorious God is shown to be! So Paul says, “15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”
Actually, you’re right, I did say ‘for us’ should have said ‘involves us’ there as well. In my intention was the ideas that God is giving to us and that in his revelation we are recipiants.
Thanks Dave for your replies, I’m not trying to be difficult just really interested in discussing this particular topic as it is a growing perception in Christian popular theology. and while it comes across the pulpit as a lovely, impacting statement, I think it has far reaching implications. I’m sure you know, hence the article.
First, good point re, ice cream. Totally with you, in that, All about the gift to Christ. And, the whole of redemptive history to Glorify God. It all started with him and any reason there is is for him.
But the question is- (and I take it to the extreme to make a point. Not representing me)Has Grace been given to us because of Jesus only? if so, it is possible that we are just the ice cream and Love is not necessarily a part of the picture for us. By the same logic I could say that, God’s love and Grace are very different things. We can receive one and not the other. I find this consistent with your view ultimately because if it is grace that we receive due to God’s love for Jesus, Love for us, and hence, our value can be taken out of the equation , if not totally, at least as determining factors of how we relate to God in the present and the degree to which we rely on his Love in our lives. In short – Push love (for us) aside as motivation for Jesus dying, then grace can be accepted at a distance from the Father and Son while still acknowledging some kind of non determining Love toward us.
Maybe your not going as far as that but here’s the thing I’m really interested in. Given that everything is for Jesus and that his sacrifice was still a sacrifice (it cost something) does the Bible present us as Ice Creams? I’m not saying we are presented as equal value to Jesus but are we presented as being, to at least some extent, the reason he died? If so, if there is that window, the value we have, is based in love not primarily in Grace. Grace as the means according to God’s character. Love and relationship (with the trinity) as the ends.
finally, if that window is open and our redemption, through Christ and For Christ, is in some part motivated by the trinity’s love for us, then don’t we have great value? instead of Grace and Love being almost the same thing as you’ve put it, why cant Love and Value be almost the same thing instead? I really appreciate the point you make because I think that to motivate people by suggesting that they are as valuable as Christ is questionable. Its not how we’re represented in the Bible, and it can put the main spotlight on us. I hope that’s not what people are taking home, however, i believe, the opposite line of thought takes it way too far. Christians need to know that they are intensely Loved. They already know that they are broken and sinful. They need to know that Christ died for Sinners and that because God loved the world he gave his son. Love is massive. if we don’t believe our value, how will we trust and have faith in our forgiveness? how will we have confidence and freedom to do right? After all, It is possible to know we are valuable and yet place all value on Christ. Knowing that we are valuable and yet focusing on Jesus is the Model Jesus, the Servant, gave.
Anyway ill stop preaching, you get my drift. and I promise to not keep going on about it. I really respect where your coming from, even if not totally on the same page. I’ll let it lay where it falls. Just really enjoyed thinking about it and discussing it. Ta
Thanks… all good. Here’s some thoughts…
“Christians need to know that they are intensely loved.” Yes!!! A common pastoral issue faced is that Christians don’t believe they are truly loved by God, right? Why do they think they are not truly loved by God? Because they think they are un-lovable! They think they are of no value to God. They think that God should rightly ignore them and dispose of them. So, what should we say?
Should we say, “No! You must be worth something for God to send his son for you… you just can’t see yourself the way God sees you… trust that you are lovable, valuable and feel better!”
Or should we say, “Yes!! that’s right! In fact, there’s 10 million other sins you’ve done that mean you’re even worse that you think. You don’t even know the half of it! But… God. Doesn’t. Love. You. Because. You’re. Worth. It! God loves you because he is a loving God. He’s a God who dies for unworthy sinners and hell-deserving rats. He loves you because he wants to. It gives him joy and pleasure to love the unlovely. Now take God at his word that he loves you despite yourself… accept his offer to be loved in way you don’t deserve and you can never earn. It’s the most wonderful love you can ever experience.”
“They already know that they are broken and sinful.” No… I disagree. Even the most downcast sin-laden Christian I’ve ever met has no idea how sinful they are (and that in itself is a mercy from God).
“If we don’t believe our value, how will we trust and have faith in our forgiveness?” I think this is where you betray your previous ideas. You seem to be suggesting that I need to have some confidence in my personal value in order to believe that God would save someone like me…? But that’s not grace any more. That suggests that I have something about me that’s worth saving.
I think I want to go back a few posts and re-state the idea that we are NOT VALUABLE to God… but we are IMMENSELY VALUED by God. We are not LOVABLE, but we are LOVED. We are not worth saving, but God does save us in Christ. We do not deserve that wonderful intimate eternal relationship with God, but we are blessed with it.
I the end, we are trying to take a quite modern idea of “personal sense of value” and fit it into a orthodox theological framework without making terrible mistakes. My gut instinct is that this has been done badly in two ways… Churches that make people think they are valuable precious things that God just doats on… and churches that make people think that God only barely saves them, only just tolerates them now they’re saved, and is always wishing he hadn’t punished his son for them.
Both are wrong… but the solution is to see our own worth less, and see God’s amazing grace and love more.
Hey Dave, Thanks for you time and Grace
Let me see if I can sum this up a bit and more accurately describe the difference between us.
I understand the Gospel in the Anglican tradition. What i’m trying to do is articulate more clearly, cause i don’t find easy, the change that has happened in a lot of Christians I know, including me. Its a change that hasn’t been clearly taught to me but i cant help, through pastoral work experience, connect with in some way.
Traditional Evangelical mainstream..
God’s View of Humans – Totally corrupted by sin so that there is nothing lovable or valuable to God about us personally.( I use the word valuable and lovable because its important in comparison to other view) We, because of our inherited and willful sin are completely unworthy and deserving of everlasting condemnation.
God’s Character and Action Toward Humans – God, due to his divine character extends his Love and Grace out to us, through sending Jesus as Sacrifice. through the God given faith we have in Jesus our state before God has changed. Guity to innocent. In addition to this we enter into a (pre-new earth) relationship that God desired beforehand in order to Glorify himself.
God’s view of Humans – 100% unworthy. Have rejected him and have held themselves up as Kings. If they continue to reject Jesus in this life they will eventually get what they ask for – an eternity without God. (more horrific than we can imagine). However, We are God’s creation, he made us and knows who we are. There are individual qualities that he has placed within us that make us, us. They are still there. God loves these and he loves his craftsmanship, his works of art so to speak. in Addition, we are created relational with the potential of being in intimate relationship with him. For reasons such as these, he does love US. There is treasure in us, as his creation, that causes God (trinity) to intently desire intimate relationship.
God’s Character and Action Toward Humans – God, due to his divine character extends his Love and Grace out to us, through sending Jesus as Sacrifice. Through God given faith we have in Jesus our state before God has changed. Guilty to innocent. In addition, we enter into a (pre-new earth) relationship that God so eagerly desired beforehand in order to Glorify himself, which in- part, involved satisfying his intense love of us as individuals. Love focused on us as unique creation. Not our worthiness.
Sorry, Probably Laborious to have to read through what seems simple. But it’s not to me because I think the change is pretty big but is usually just explained by “your worth the price God Paid…”
You mentioned that people don’t know how sinful they are. I agree. But my point was that people know they’re rotten and unworthy. In my work with all sorts (and I mean just about every type you can think of from every religion) I’ve never come across a person who thinks they’re OK. People know they are not. Even the ones that insist they are are unconvincing. So I still hold up the point that people know they are unworthy.
I think we both agree in: unworthiness, Sinful condition, Jesus’ Sacrifice, Faith, undeserved Grace,
and life everlasting.
The difference is in God’s view of us as creation, Unsaved our status is Guilty yet he is still overwhelmed with love for who we are. This has significant implications for:
in that unbelievers might be told that they are, within themselves, desirable to God. He made them unique and eagerly desires eternal and intimate re-connection with them eventhough they are sinful, rebellious and therefore un-worthy.
The Christian Life
Believers are thankful to God for his undeserved Grace and their Not Guilty status before him that has opened the door to relationship. However, their primary focus, or concern upon salvation is not weather they are going to heaven (even though they know they are) it is experiencing the relational dynamic between them (personally as unique creation) and God that last eternally.
So the change in belief is God’s view of the individual that leads to a pre-eminence of Love over Grace and Intimacy over Status???.
Sorry for typos, grammer and any insufficiently thought out phrases. Frantically typing in between work. :)
Again, honestly, not try to preach just trying to articulate, for me, how I’ve changed in belief. A belief that, it turns out, I feel strongly about. You’ve been kind in helping me do this. Thanks Dave
Just an Extra,
Is it fair to say that the main concern that some may have is that unsaved people will be deceived in believing that they can except the Love (and salvation) apart from the grace? (gospel of) and intimacy (relationship) apart from the Status? (Guilty or Not Guilty)
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