WONDERFUL THINGS: Is God pleased with me?
“I am so pleased with you.” I think that there may be no others words in the English language with the potential to bring such comfort, joy and peace to those who receive them, whether these words come from our parents, or a boss, or a spouse, or a friend. But consider this: What if these words were spoken to you by God, Himself? What if the eternal and holy God of this universe came to you and said, “With you, my child, I am well pleased.” Here is comfort, joy and peace beyond measure.
Let’s be honest though, how is it possible for sinful, stumbling, even rebellious people like us to be well-pleasing to God? There is an answer, and it speaks to us all of our need for Jesus.
On the night of Jesus’ birth, we are told that a multitude of angels appeared to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem and proclaimed, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased” (Luke 2:14). With the coming of Jesus comes that promise of true peace to those with whom God is pleased.
But with whom is God pleased? We are not left without an answer. The writer of Hebrews tells us, “And without faith it is impossible to please [God], for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Peace and deep joy come to those who have faith — more specifically faith in Jesus.
Faith is the key. Faith in Jesus. Real faith means to stop looking to yourself and your own resources, and to your own goodness and your own accomplishments, and instead to rest fully in the power, resources and righteousness of Jesus each day. Faith is not some great work or effort. It is looking to the great work and effort of Jesus. By faith, Jesus’s payment for sin becomes our payment. It is by faith that Jesus’ life of righteousness is credited as ours. It is by faith in Jesus that we really become well-pleasing to our Father in heaven.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the LORD forever,
for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock. (Isaiah 26:3-4 ESV)
The Gospel would not be Good News if the message was, “Here is a list of rules that you must keep in order for me to be pleased.” The Good News would not be Good News if the message was, “You better be good for goodness sake to please me.” The Good News would not be Good News if the message was, “Now follow the example set out by Jesus in order to be pleasing me.” How would we know if we had ever accomplished these things? How could we ever hope to measure up?
The Good News is that a Savior has come, and all he asks of you is that you trust in Him and His work for you, and you will be saved. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter if you have stolen or been in jail or been addicted to alcohol or drugs. It doesn’t matter if everyone looks down on you.
He took my sin and guilt. He clothed me in His righteousness. I am saved right now and forever. In Christ, God’s word to me —and to you this day if you also believe Him — is, “You are my child, and with you I am well pleased — today and forever.”
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at email@example.com.