"Now which of them will love Him more…" (Luke 7:42 ESV)
To Love Jesus more... This is a lifelong pursuit. Yet, even more important is the life long quest to simply be loved (1 John 4:10). After seeing the movie Gravity win so many Oscars last night, it reminded me of the compelling power of God's Grace. It is astonishing that some persist if we preach grace too liberally it will result in loose living and sinful behavior. There is nothing more false. Grace is the force that pulls us deeper into the love of God and His holiness. The gravity of grace keeps us grounded in God's love. Nothing but good can come of this.
"That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith that you, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:16-19 NASB)
In Luke 7 we're introduced to a prostitute whom Jesus delivered of seven demons. Later, He is invited to a Pharisees house for dinner. As they recline at the table, the former prostitute barges into the gathering and begins to wash Jesus feet with her tears and anoint them with a very costly perfume. Such extravagant acts of worship could only be motivated by Grace. The appalled religious man thinks, "If Jesus knew her ill repute, He would stop her." Religious people refuse to see the redeemed for who they are but rather dwell on who they were.
Jesus tells the Pharisee a story of two men who were forgiven of a debt. One was released from a much greater debt than the other. He asks the Pharisee a question, “Which do you think will love his benefactor more?” The Pharisee states the obvious, “Of course the man who had the greater debt.” When we accept that our sin debt is completely cancelled we will cease serving Him out of duty, fear and obligation. Rather, Grace inspires unceasing and liberal acts of obedience and devotion (verse 45).
Religious people guard themselves from too lavish a display of adoration, judging others for their liberality (verse 39). However, notice that Jesus does not condemn His friend. Likewise, we must not hasten to judge or disassociate with those who do not yet have the full revelation of God’s grace. The greatest evidence of a life marked by grace is not how we respond to those who agree with us, but to those who disagree with us.