“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
1) Are We of Any Value to God? (Tom Edwards)
Are We of Any Value to God?
The Bible makes it clear that God “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…” (Jn. 3:16). We also see that He did this not because “we loved God,” but because “He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [the atoning sacrifice, NIV] for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:10). For this took place “while we were enemies” of God (Rom. 5:10), “sinners” (v. 8), “ungodly” and “still helpless” (v. 6), which also indicates that His love for us was not based on our earning or deserving it – for we had not, nor ever would be able to! These, along with numerous other verses in the Bible, clearly show that God truly does love each one of us.
But what we want to answer in this article is whether we are also of any value or worth to God. For how often have we humbly felt so worthless in His sight by realizing that we have no value in ourselves, apart from Christ, by which we can stand justified and deserving of eternal life? Perhaps it causes us to also think of the words of Isaiah: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isa. 64:6). But does our own feeling of worthlessness mean that we are of no value or worth to God?
What the Bible shows is that regardless of who we are, God treats us as being of great value to Him! For is that not expressed in His having Jesus to make an atonement by His death on the cross — and not for just a special few, but in order to impartially “taste death for everyone” (Heb. 2:9) — and be “the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2)? Without exception, Jesus died for every transgressor! And does that not in itself imply that we are of value to God? As the Bible says, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:18-20).
If we had to pay monetarily for salvation, how much would we be willing to give? Would it not be everything we had? But, of course, even all the wealth of the world and the universe combined would not be enough! The psalmist says, “No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him – For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever” (Psa. 49:7,8).
If anyone would ever wonder, “Why did Christ have to die to make the atonement?” Or, “Could there not have been some other way?” Would not the answer be that by Jesus’ atoning and sacrificial death, God showed His love to the world in the greatest way possible! And He did that, as we saw, while we were “sinners” and His “enemies.” We should, therefore, never have any doubt of His love for us. For what Jesus did at Calvary indicates that we are important, special, and of great value to God!
Jesus did not die for rocks and trees and buzzing bees, nor for fish and birds and mountains and seas, nor for plants and animals and their many fleas, nor did He die for any other non-human thing! For they were not created in God’s image, and they do not have eternal souls! How much more, therefore, God values and is concerned for mankind and truly wants each one saved from the wrath to come — and for all eternity! (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9.)
So being made “in the image of God” and having been given dominion over all other living creatures on earth (Gen. 1:26,27) and having an eternal soul also indicates that we are special to God and of whom He values above all else on earth.
When speaking of the concern some might have for food and clothing, Jesus points out that God takes care of even the ravens by feeding them; but then also says, “how MUCH MORE VALUABLE you are than the birds!” (Luke 12:22-24, emphasis mine). So His disciples were not just “more valuable,” but also “MUCH MORE VALUABLE” in God’s sight!
To the nation of Israel, Moses said, “The LORD has today declared you to be His people, A TREASURED POSSESSION, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the LORD your God, as He has spoken” (Deut. 26:18,19, emphasis mine). Our possessions usually have value to us — and especially if they are a “TREASURED POSSESSION”! And just think how much greater God can treasure what He treasures!
In our time, the church is the “spiritual Israel” that has a special relationship with God as being “A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY” (1 Pet. 2:9-10). As the writer shows, Christians are “A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION” — and that sounds mighty special!
Since we are the objects of God’s love, His compassion, and His concern, would not our worth to God be based on that love He has for us – rather than anything worthy in ourselves? For we are not worthy. Just think of the great love God had for Israel, when through Jeremiah He states, “I have loved you with an EVERLASTING LOVE; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness” (Jer. 31:3, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word for “loved” (ahab) in this passage is defined as “to have affection for” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries). The Greek word for “love” (agape) in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us,” also can mean “affection” (Thayer). Do we not value the individual who is the object of our affections? In our hearts, that person is special, important, and of great worth to us.
God said of Israel, “you are Mine!” and “YOU ARE PRECIOUS in My sight…and I love you” (Isa. 43:1-4, emphasis mine). The Hebrew word here for “precious” is “yaqar,” which James Strong defines as “to be heavy, that is, (figuratively) VALUABLE” (emphasis mine). So these individuals were VALUABLE to God!
We were “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 7:23) – and one that is more “precious” than “silver or gold” (1 Pet. 1:18,19). “Precious” has also been defined as “of high price or great value” (Webster). Would one pay a great price for that which would be considered worthless or of no value to the buyer?
Regardless of how much we are actually worth, God has treated us as being of tremendous value!
In a world in which some might view the destitute as being worthless, notice the psalmist’s desire in Psalm 72:1,13,14: “Give the king Your judgments, O God, And Your righteousness to the king’s son. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, And the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, And their blood will be precious in his sight.” Since this was to be on the basis of God’s judgments, would not the poor’s blood being “precious” also be the way that God Himself perceives it? In Psalm 116:15, “PRECIOUS in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones” (emphasis mine). So these individuals are “of great value” to God and “dearly beloved.”
When Peter shows that the adornment of the wives “must not be merely external – braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses”; he then goes on to say, “but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 3:3,4). Since God views this “gentle and quiet spirit” to be precious, doesn’t that also add to the woman being of “great value”?
After considering the greatness of the heavens that the Lord had made, David was also awed by God’s regard for humanity and declares in Psalm 8:4, “What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him?” But that is the way God is. For He is love, and He treats us far better than we deserve and even refers to His people as being “THE APPLE OF HIS EYE” (Zech. 2:8, emphasis mine), which Webster defines as “someone or something very precious or dear to one…”
Think, too, of the love parents have for their children and how greatly they care for them and value them! Would God’s love and regard for His own be any less?! To the contrary, His is exceedingly greater!
Though before the creation, God knew that man would sin, which would require the torturous and atoning death of Jesus, yet God went ahead and made man in spite of that! How much He must have greatly desired to have us for His people — to be our Father — and to bless us throughout all eternity!
Paul shows in Ephesians 2:4-7 that God’s love for us, which prompted His mercy and a salvation by grace, is “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” And “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). Is this not also another indication that we are of great value to God — in thinking of all that He wants to do for us?
Though we do not deserve it, nor could ever earn it, yet God treats us as being of exceeding worth to Him and has a love for us that far excels any other we have ever known!
How thankful we should be that God treats us way beyond what we deserve! From His perspective, we are important, we are special, and we are valuable! So, yes, we can say we are all of these things to God — but not on the basis of any personal merit; but, rather, because of the way our loving, heavenly Father is and what we mean to Him!
(Unless otherwise indicated, all Scriptures are from the NASB.)
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA 31501
Sunday services: 9:00 a.m. (Bible class); 10 a.m. & 5 p.m. (worship)
Wednesday: 7 p.m. (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
http://thomastedwards.com/go (Older version of Gospel Observer website without pictures, but back to March 1990)
http://ThomasTEdwards.com/audioser.html (audio sermons)