Once again, his hand wanders over to the mouse. Once again, he clicks onto a website. He knows it’s wrong. He knows he’s distancing him not only from his wife, but also from God. He knows guilt is waiting for him. He knows the pleasure of the moment soon will melt under a rain of reality, but he thinks, “It’ll be OK. He’ll forgive me…again. I hope.”

If God is so willing to forgive us our debts, why not run up an enormous bill? If God is so good as to forgive us, why not be as bad as we want to be? In reply to a similar question, John wrote of the road to reality and the necessity of taking it.

The Road to Reality Begins with the Greatest Love
God has lavished love upon us. How great a love is God’s love? We are His creation, but He also wants to call us His children!

“This is love,” declared John, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10). What a frank declaration of human need! None of us knew or cared for God! What a breathtaking show of divine intervention! God put on flesh and allowed it to be pierced for us! This is no Internet fantasy; this is historical reality.

If God would do this for us, we must ask ourselves, “What are we doing for Him?” How can we live the same old way, knowing God’s desire not just to make us good but to make us His?

The Road to Reality Ends with the Greatest Hope
If the love of God pushes us forward on the road to reality, the hope of seeing our Rescuer pulls us along that same path. The older I get, the more I realize virtue is not simply a task God has given me to perform (under threat of hell for failure), but part of the delight of my relationship with Him. The more we love Jesus, the more real He becomes to us. The more real He becomes to us, the more we want to emulate Him.

A child who believes good ol’ Uncle Bob is coming to visit may be interested only in the presents his uncle brings. The child of God who believes Jesus is coming in glory is distressed to think he may have no gift of love—no soul won, no sinful habit broken, no treasure sacrificed—to place at His feet. The girl who truly loves her serviceman will remain faithful until he returns from overseas. If she didn’t believe she’d see him, she’d be relieved not only of love but of duty. In the same way, everyone who hopes to see the Lord purifies himself (1 John 3:3).

The Road Between Love and Hope Is the High Road
Of course, we remain sinners as we travel. That’s the condition that brought us to the Great Physician in the first place: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). If sinless perfection were possible for us here, Jesus would not have had to die, but I’ve never met a believer who didn’t want to be a better person. Believers don’t want to go on breaking God’s law. We yearn to remain clean for Christ’s sake.

A child playing in the mud may cry in rage as he’s dragged into the house for a bath. The child of God, however, doesn’t want to step in the muck of sin in the first place. If he does, he’s not happy about it and won’t be content until he’s cleansed. God helping him, he yearns for the high road. Fantasies no longer satisfy one who is won to Christ. Only reality will do. We cling to Christ to keep us on that road.

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