Does God really love me the way I am? I heard a pastor who said recently that God hated Esau because of his sin and what he stood for. With all of my sin, won’t He hate me too? People also say that each of us is God’s masterpiece, but with our sin and our faults, how can we be?
This is a very stark example of the need to check that people are using the scripture in the correct context. If you hear something that goes against every tenant of what you know about Christianity and someone only quotes one verse to make their case, it is important to look for some context.
Romans 9:13 does say “Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’” Which is a quote of Malachi chapter 1. However the two previous verses (Romans 9:11-12) say “Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.’”
A couple of things about this passage in the proper context. It can’t be that God hated Esau because of his sin, because it clearly says that God picked Jacob over him before they “had done anything good or bad.” It is also a little misleading to say that the story of Jacob and Esau is about God showing the emotions of love and hate. The story is about who God chooses to do things through.
Esau was what any observer would have seen as the obvious choice for God’s blessing. He was the first born son, making him who society says was the right choice. He was big, strong, outdoorsy, and had a mighty beard (you get the sense that Esau would have fit in on Duck Dynasty). Jacob was a little weaselly conman. He was the runt of the litter. He was a deceiver and a sinner, and God chose him.
God loves you, as you are today. God does not love you because of your totally awesome sinless life. As proof that Jesus died for you while you were sinner (Romans 5:8). God loves you because He chooses to. That is the very nature of love. We don’t live perfect little lives that force Him to love us. This is not a situation where dad only loves you when you bring home A+s and trophies. Our Heavenly Father loves us because we are His.
That point ties into the idea of “God’s masterpiece.” Psalm 139:13 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” God made you exactly the way He wanted to. He will continue to mold you and grow you throughout your life, that is the process of sanctification, but He doesn’t have an ideal you in His mind that you aren’t living up to.
I hear in this question, and in a lot of Christians struggling with the idea of God’s grace “I don’t like the way I am, how can God? I dang well don’t feel like a masterpiece.”
A masterpiece is something created by a master artist that came out as they wanted. By that definition you are God’s masterpiece. A three year old who thinks the Sistine Chapel isn’t good doesn’t make it not a masterpiece. In the same way, someone who looks at your life and says it isn’t a masterpiece doesn’t get a say. You are as the artist of the universe intended you to be. You are a masterpiece.
-Matt from The Bridge
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