I once heard a preacher say, "God loves us as we are. But He also loves us enough not to leave us as we are." The Bible confirms this truth of a Heavenly Father who sent His Son to die for us "while we were yet sinners" (Romans 5:8). Scripture also declares that the Gospel believed and received births a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness," in whom God works to "conform to the image of His Son" (Ephesians 4:24; Romans 8:29).
Merely forgiving us and granting eternal life to us would not have solved our fundamental problem. We require a heart transplant, as it were, in order to deal with the sinful root of sin's mastery. Moreover, our thoughts, attitudes, words, actions and ways of relating to God and man must undergo progressive reorientation from the self-centeredness of flesh unto the love of Christ. Finally, we must be glorified in that day when "we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 3:2). Anything less than the transforming miracle of grace begun, perpetuated and culminated by the power of the Lord Jesus, and which changes us into His image, would leave us in the miserable darkness and unfulfilled yearning of self-centeredness. This God could not and would not do, and thus the Gospel of His Son promises the grace of a love that meets us where we are, but does not leave us where we are.
In this present life, born again believers comprise a work begun, and a work in progress. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). Today will be such a day of change in us. We may or may not perceive the Carpenter's skillful hand as it forms and reforms us spiritually, mentally, emotionally, volitionally and physically. Sometimes He works in subtle ways, unknown even to ourselves. He works nonetheless as we trust and submit ourselves to the newness of life already in us, and to the newness of life that remains to be revealed in every aspect of our character, nature, and way. Our Lord could grant to us no greater gift than to make us like Himself. This is love, the love of God, in its most blessed devotion and expression of a grace that both receives and revolutionizes the sinner.
"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst... When Jesus had lifted up Himself, and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
(John 8:3; 10-11).