The bearing of the cross corrects our adulterous love for this world by leading us to love and long for the life to come, but this does not mean that we should be ungrateful to God for the manifold blessings of this life. Rather, our experience of God’s goodness in this life is meant to give us a foretaste of the goodness of God we will more fully enjoy in eternal life. For believers especially, this ought to be a testimony of divine benevolence, wholly destined, as it is, to promote their salvation. For before he shows us openly the inheritance of eternal glory, God wills by lesser proofs to show himself to be our Father.
These are the benefits that are daily conferred on us by God, we are no more worthy of the good gifts of the Creator than we are of the grace of the Redeemer. Thus, when the Psalmist asks, ‘What are human beings, that you are mindful of them? (Ps. 8:4), God’s wonderful goodness is displayed the more brightly in that so glorious a Creator, whose majesty shines gloriously in the heavens, graciously condescends to adorn a creature so miserable and vile as man with the greatest glory, and to enrich him with numberless blessings.
Adam lost the inheritance of the good things of this life when he fell into sin through his faithlessness. We only rightly enjoy the good things of this life when we are adopted as children of God in Christ. The Christian life has as its primary goal the elimination of blind self-love from the human heart. Our self-love leads us to think that we are sufficient unto ourselves, and that we need neither God nor our neighbors to structure rightly our lives. Our self-love is the driving engine of our ambition, greed and arrogance, leading us to seek the meaning of our lives in power, wealth and honour.
Our self-love keeps us from surrendering to the guidance of the will of God, and eliminates the sense of gratitude we should have toward God for all the blessings God lavishes upon us. By calling upon us to deny ourselves, bear our cross and hope for eternal life, even as we thank God for the blessings of this life, we are to abandon once for all the image of ourselves we have created through our blind self-love, in order to be conformed to the image of selfless and self-giving love that is revealed in Jesus Christ.
Categories: Church Life