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Has Your Love for Christ Grown Cold?

May 4, 2015

Friend, how is your love for Christ today?  Is it warm, vibrant and joyful?  Or has your love for Christ grown cold?

If you’ve found that your love for Christ is indeed cold, you need to ask yourself this:  Do you have a rich, robust view of your own sin?

Now at first, that question may seem counterproductive.  How will considering your sin make you feel anything but worse?

But Jesus has a different take.

In Luke 7:36-50, we find that Jesus has gone to a Pharisee’s house to eat.  During the meal, a woman who was well known in the town to be a “sinner” came in, fell at Jesus’ feet, and began washing his feet with her tears and anointing them with oil that would have cost her a great deal of money.

The Pharisee – whose name is Simon – is appalled.  He’s appalled at the expensive perfume he thinks this woman has wasted on Jesus.  He’s appalled at Jesus for letting this “sinner” touch him.

But Jesus responds to Simon with a simple illustration:

A certain moneylender had two debtors.  One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.  When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both.  Now which of them will love him more? (Luke 7:41-42)

When Simon the Pharisee replies, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt,” Jesus responds, “You have judged rightly.” (Luke 7:43)

Jesus then takes this illustration and uses it to teach Simon by comparing how differently the woman received him than Simon did in welcoming Jesus into his home.  This sinful woman was overcome with love.  Simon, however, didn’t even offer Jesus the common courtesy of that day and age: a basin of water for Jesus to wash his feet.

Jesus then concludes the comparison with these convicting words:

Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.  But he who is forgiven little loves little. (Luke 7:47)

He who is forgiven little loves little.  Those words send shivers down my spine.  Do you grasp what Jesus is saying?

  • The woman loves Jesus so greatly because she knows that her many, many sins have been forgiven.
  • But Simon does not love Jesus because he, as a Pharisee, thinks that he really doesn’t need to be forgiven!

This brings us back to that question:  Do you have a rich, robust view of your own sin?

Do you now grasp why it is so important to ask yourself if your love for Christ has gone cold?

The diagnosis Jesus gives to people that don’t love him deeply is that they don’t think they really need to be forgiven!  Self-righteousness will breed a cold heart for Jesus.

But on the other side of the coin, what antidote is Jesus prescribing for the heart that’s grown cold?  To know how great a sinner you are, so that you know how greatly your Savior has forgiven you!

When you have a rich, robust view of your own sin, you see how desperately you need a Savior and, in turn, you see far, far more clearly how magnificent the grace of Christ is to you in his cross and resurrection!

Understanding the depths of your own sin, then, will not plunge you into further despair but will plunge you into the depths of grace, as you discover how immensely you are loved by Jesus Christ.

And in turn, your love for Christ will increase, growing in warmth, in vibrancy, in joy.

So if your love for Christ has grown cold, take the words of Jesus to heart today:

He who is forgiven little loves little. But he who is forgiven much loves much.

The Author
Tom Olson

Tom Olson is the campus pastor at The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Barrington, Ill. He and his wife Kari have three children—Kettie, Tovie, and Tommy.

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