Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
I haven’t seen the latest Star Wars movie yet, so this is not a kabash on the movie. Nor is it necessarily a kabash on the franchise. But a recent quote from Martin Luther struck me in strong counterpoint to a line in one of the previous movies. Luke speaks to Darth Vader and says, “There’s something good in you…” (or words to that effect).
We would all like to believe that there is something good in us; something worth redeeming, or making us worthy of love. It’s as though we believe we’re entitled to God’s love. Luther says something about God’s love that is at once challenging and reassuring:
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 us.
It may not seem like a very complementary thing to say that God’s love does not find anything in us which is pleasing to it. We would rather think that there’s something good in us (ala Luke Skywalker to Darth Vader). But this is dangerous and not truly comforting. What if we are convinced (as we should be) that we are sinful through and through apart from Christ? What hope would we have for God’s redemptive love? There is nothing good in us (check out Romans 7:18 in case you need a reminder of this reality).
The only hope we have is that God’s love does not find goodness in us, but creates good in us. That good in us is Christ. God’s Holy Spirit brings us to faith, and through faith Christ reigns in our heart. God’s love creates goodness in us for which all glory goes to God.
The worst evil we can embrace is to believe that for any reason God owes us his love. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But neither does our lack of goodness prevent God from loving us. And that is truly good news. God’s love depends on his character, not on our worthiness.
Now that God’s love has found us, Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. And that is abundantly good!