For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken By his God, the Lordof hosts, Although their land is full of guilt Before the Holy One of Israel.Jeremiah 51:5
Most people can’t tell the difference between being guilty and worthless. In their understanding of God they are confused because they assume that guilty means we are worthless.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The very tragedy of guilt is rooted in our great value. If we had no value, then guilt would be next to meaningless, but because of our great value, our guilt has great weight.
Our value was established at the very beginning of creation. We have great value because we are so carefully crafted and gifted in the image of God. Nothing, anywhere can change that, even when sin entered the world and we rebelled from God, it did not change our value, it only changed our status. We were profoundly valuable as creation but we used our gift to rebel against God.
Jesus did not come to give us value, we already had it, He came to restore relationship, which we lost as a consequence of our choices.
We were kicked out of the Garden of Eden because we had chosen to take the side of a rebel against God, not because we ‘became valueless’. Jesus died for us because of the great value the Father had for us so that we might be restored into a relationship with Him.
If we are not careful we bring this faulty thinking into our relationship with God. If we assume that when we were guilty, we were worthless, then we automatically assume that if we are good we have value. This foolish mindset opens the door for a religion of works. As long as we do the right thing, God will love us because our good works give us value.