Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day have been on the same date in 1923, 1934, 1945, 2024(this year), 2029 and no more in the 21st century. Today, let’s see how God’s L:OVE is a part of both the ashes and the heart.
God’s LOVE that cares enough about you though you “are but dust and to dust you shall return”(Genesis 3:19). God L:OVES you so much that even though you are a dusty sinner Jesus, the Messiah, took your place and laid down His life to defeat satan on your behalf (Genesis 3:15).
I. Law/Sin Romans(ASHES) Romans 5:8 "God demonstrated His LOVE for us in this, while we were still sinners Christ died for us." This passage is actually the Gospel but it fits here because sinners are mentioned. What would motivate anyone to show concern for those who don't deserve it? Only unconditional LOVE.
The Bible has four ways in the New Testament that in English are translated as LOVE. However, there is only one of those LOVE that motivated God to LOVE us. That word for God's unconditional LOVE is "AGAPE".
When Adam and Eve fell into sin and God had every right as a just God to destroy these failing, fallen creatures. Since their fall into sin no human being has truly had free-will to choose not to sin. By nature we are all born dead in our trespasses and sins(Ephesians 2:1) and unable to save ourselves from dying in sin and merely being dust in the wind. The Law of God that terrifies comfortable sinners is sent from a LOVING God. Unless we know what we are by nature and deserve because of that nature we will have no appreciation concerning our complete spiritual helplessness and not be looking for our only hope(spoiler alert, not President Trump), Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
II. Gospel/Grace Though the Law terrifies comfortable sinners, the Gospel comforts terrified sinners.
Valentine's Day in America celebrates two other of the Greek "LOVES". Phileo "friendship" LOVE. You make me feel happy and I hope I make you feel happy. I am glad we are friends. Eros "sexual" LOVE. No need for me to explain this kind of LOVE. These kinds of LOVE have little to do with motivating God to not only have mercy on His enemies but to give them the exact opposite of what they deserve, grace. God's Riches At Christ's Expense.
As Christians let us be ambassadors of this AGAPE, unconditional LOVE, that God had for the world: "God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)
Let’s tell our fellow ashy/dirty sinners in our lives about God’s great Valentine’s not Day but Everyday gift: Amazing Grace!!!
“God LOVES me dearly, grants me salvation, God loves me dearly, loves even me. Therefore I’ll say again, “God loves me dearly, God loves me dearly, loves even me!!”