God loves us. This is something I was taught from a very young age. But how much does God love us? Aggressively!
When I bump into someone, it is, “I’m sorry.” This is a polite acceptable apology usually returned with “It’s okay.” The forgiveness involved here is indifferent. It does not take much time or emotional effort on my part. It happens.
Sometimes I give grudging forgiveness when I really don’t want to forgive them at all. And sometimes I ask for forgiveness in the same spirit, in a grudging apology. Picture a little boy with his arms crossed and his mouth in a pout. This is taking an effort from me to control my impulses but it has nothing to do with forgiveness.
But God’s forgiveness is aggressive. He knew we would sin. He knew how stubborn I was going to be. He knew that I am headstrong and determined. He knows all of my weaknesses. But he wanted to forgive me. So long ago, before I or my parents or even my great great great grandparents were born, he sent his son to die for my sins. Jesus came, willingly, to die for all of our sins. Why? So that God could forgive us of our sins. That is aggressive forgiveness. He found a way to forgive me and restore me to the position of intimacy with him.
Sometimes we see God’s judgment and his might and power and we tremble. He is a majestic being. In Revelation he is depicted as the Lion of Judah. He is shown on the throne with gem hues of amber and flame. He is shown on the throne with lightning flashing and thunder crashing. He is awesome.
He is like Aslan, from C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. He is majestic but I am not afraid. I am respectful of his power but I trust him not to hurt me. He roars but he is gentle and loving. He can be dangerous and he has fierce looks but he protects me every day. He loves me with aggressive forgiveness, the very definition of grace.
Romans 5:20-21 But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace.
When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it.
Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
Revelation 4:2-6 I was caught up at once in deep worship and, oh!—a Throne set in Heaven with One Seated on the Throne, suffused in gem hues of amber and flame with a nimbus of emerald.
Twenty-four thrones circled the Throne, with Twenty-four Elders seated, white-robed, gold-crowned.
Lightning flash and thunder crash pulsed from the Throne. Seven fire-blazing torches fronted the Throne (these are the Sevenfold Spirit of God). Before the Throne it was like a clear crystal sea.