When you see that all your righteousness is in Jesus, it frees you to love because you stop being so self-centered trying to save yourself.
The more of Christ’s righteousness you see you have will open more of your heart.
The path to love is through the way of belief. Some say that to love you must first know you are loved. Don’t be ignorant of how you are loved. Jesus’ love is not some generalized, vague, wishy-washy, good-intentioned love. He loves you by giving you his righteousness. Even more so, by giving you his very own self.
The more you see Christ giving you himself by giving you his righteousness is the more you will stop seeing your sin and deficiencies and emptiness and weakness and worthlessness unmet. Nothing is more crippling than seeing your unworthiness and worthlessness and that alone. Not that you shouldn’t see yourself as unworthy, as some men say, who would very much like to flatter you. But that to the degree you see your great unworthiness and weakness being met by Christ will be the degree that you are strengthened to love.
Christ’s love in giving you his abundant righteousness in place of your worthlessness will speak of a love that cannot be matched. If one such as Jesus, “in whom the fullness of deity dwells”, and “who is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and upholds the universe by the word of his power” loves even you, a poor worthless sinner, “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” came and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” for you, an unworthy, weak creature, then what one single argument or objection might you raise?
Your heart is not open to love because it is closed to Christ.
Christ has poured out his love on the most hideous parts of your soul. It is bathed in his blood. Yes, bathed. Can you find a darker recess that he does not know? He knows your inward parts and knows them all. He wishes you to reveal them to him so that you may see the unfathomable depths to which his love reaches.
He says to you, “in place of that hideous, dark, filthy sin, I give my very own righteousness”. What greater love can we find than that?
When you see yourself so loved then you are unshackled from your fetters of self-righteous salvation. You try and save yourself because you see your filthiness. You do not know what kind of endeavor you are embarking on. The deeper you go the filthier you will find yourself to be. And then the harder you will try to save yourself by attempting to create a righteousness of your own. What foul curse you bring on yourself.
No wonder you look with contempt on others. If you can “save” yourself through your self-righteous efforts and have “overcome” the weaker points of your character, no wonder you would look on others who have not themselves been able to overcome. “What weak poor souls!” you contemptuously exclaim. “if only they had the strength that I do!”
O’ you weak, poor wretch. Forsake your self-salvation. It is such maddening folly. When you see his love covering your mighty offenses and impeccable righteousness taking their place, you will look with pity on those souls around you who are selfish like yourself.
“Those weak, poor souls!” you will exclaim, “If only they knew Christ and his love! That he offers to cover and provide for them! O’ how I pity them!”
How desperately you need to see that when you see all your righteousness is in Jesus, it frees you to love because you stop being so self-centered trying to save yourself.
Bring all your sins to Jesus; unearth all you find, for it is only there that you will find mercy and it is only there that you will find provision. And when you find his love in your heart then turn to your neighbor and behold with what new eyes you now look upon him.