Someone out there needs these words today.
We spend an awful lot of pulpit time making sure people understand that they aren’t worthy of God’s love, that they aren’t worthy of salvation, not worthy to stand in God’s presence, not worthy to claim any special rights or privileges with Jesus.
This is all true.
“I wept and wept because no one was found worthy,” John laments in Revelation 5:4, even while standing in the courts of heaven. But then Jesus steps into the frame, “and they sang a new song: You are worthy… worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!” (5:9,12).
Only God is worthy. We are, and forever will be, unworthy.
There is a difference between our worth and our worthiness.
I have to clarify this because Christians seems to merge the two concepts. Which is unfortunate, because being unworthy is not the same as being worthless.
Worth is about value, and value is a mysterious quality stemming from the esteem in which a person, place, or thing is held. A thing’s worth is not determined by the thing, but by the beholder.
For example: I have a beautiful ceramic… uh… moon thing… dangling from my bulletin board, created by my son Joel. It’s crudely constructed, carefully painted, a little tacky, and means the world to me. It’s priceless because I think it is. It is not intrinsically valuable, but has value because it’s mine and I like it. So there.
In the same way, our worth—your worth—is not determined by you, but by the One that beholds you. By God himself. You could never earn salvation, could never be worthy of it—and yet, your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has ascribed such worth to you that he decided to spill his own blood and die a criminal’s death on the cross to win your soul.
Let that sink in. Picture a weigh scale. On one tray sits a cup filled to the brim with the blood of Jesus Christ and represents his life and death. On the other end is another tray… with you on it. When I look at that scale, it goes “CLUNK” with a vengeance as Jesus’ blood outweighs me by far. But I’m not the one determining my worth. God is. When he looks at the scale, it goes “CLUNK” with a vengeance as my salvation “outweighs” his sacrifice. In other words, he weighed the decision, and decided I was worth dying for.
This is staggering, amazing, scandalous, uncomfortable, wonderful news.
Don’t ever confuse your worthiness with your worth.