We know what something is worth to someone by what they are willing to pay for it. Out of love for us, God was willing to do nothing less than to go to the farthest extreme of becoming our sin (2 Cor 5:21) and becoming our God-forsaken curse (Gal 3:13).
God could not have gone any further than he in fact did to free us from our bondage and make us his bride. If the worth of something or someone to another is determined by what they are willing to pay to acquire it, then the fact that God was willing to pay the greatest price that could possibly be paid can only mean that we have the greatest possible worth to God.
The unsurpassable price God paid for us, in other words, means that we have unsurpassable worth to God. God could not possibly love us more than he actually does.
The cross is what the love of the Trinity looks like when it encompasses us. God loves us in the here and now with the very same love that God eternally is. To put it another way, God loves us with the same love he has for himself as Father, Son, and Spirit. When we say “yes” to God’s invitation to life, we are incorporated into Christ and therefore into the eternal triune community so that we receive and reflect the very same perfect love that unites God throughout eternity.
No wonder Paul declared that God’s love for us in Christ “surpasses knowledge” (3:19).
On the cross, God reveals his true character and promises to be this kind of loving God to us. On the cross, God reveals his perfect love for us and reveals our unsurpassable worth to him. And on the cross God promises to always love us like this and to always ascribe this worth to us.
The most remarkable part of God’s love revealed on the cross is that this love is revealed while “we were still sinners” and were positioning ourselves as his enemy (Rom 5:8; 10). In fact, God loved us precisely by becoming our sin and by standing in our place as a God-forsaken enemy! The unsurpassable worth God ascribes to us isn’t based on anything positive he finds in us, and it can’t be lessened by anything negative he finds in us.
The cross demonstrates that God’s love for us, and our priceless worth to him, are completely based on God’s character, not ours. Even when we are in bondage to sin and are thinking, feeling, and/or acting like God’s enemies, we can trust that it remains as true as ever that we could not be loved more than we actually are, and could not matter more to God than we actually do.
There is nothing that fills my heart with more joy, peace, and confidence than the realization that God’s perfect, unsurpassable, unwavering love for me is also unconditional. When we allow this unconditional love to form the core of our self-identity, we will remain unshakable in our sense of being fully alive, regardless of what life may throw our way.
—Adapted from Benefit of the Doubt, pages 240-242