“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Even if you lived to be 500 years old, you wouldn’t live long enough to please God by your own doings. It doesn’t matter how hard you may try to clean yourself up. Your flesh isn’t accepted before God; it can’t even be reformed. All flesh was done away with at the cross. Now a new man has come forth: the Christ man. True faith is having confidence in what he has done for you.

You may say, “O, I can believe that God delights in faithful pastors. They pray and spend so much time in his Word. I can believe that elders are precious to him. They’ve endured sufferings, testings and trials, and they’ve come out victorious. But I find it hard to believe that a troubled, failing Christian like me could be precious to God. He has to be disgusted with me because my life is so up-and-down. I’ve got problems I can’t seem to get through. I believe he still loves me, but surely he is disappointed in me.”

Please understand Isaiah’s wonderful prophecy of grace when God said, “I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine” (Isaiah 43:1) This was spoken to a people who had been robbed, spoiled, snared and cast into prison—all because of their own foolishness and unbelief.

It is at that point that God said to them, “Now—after all your failures—I come to you with this message of hope. And it’s all because you are mine!”