"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God. Beloved, NOW are we the children of God." - 1John 3:1a and 2a
Parents love their children through good times and bad. Parents love their child regardless of the child’s behavior. Parents do not stop loving their baby just because he or she fails to meet the parent's expectations. This is very similar to the kind of love God has for us; but, as we shall see, God's love transcends even this human definition of parental love to a point that is impossible to fully grasp apart from having a firm grasp of the message about Christ and him crucified for you.
John 3:16-17 - "16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrated his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
We find no conditions placed on us in these verses. God doesn't say, "as soon as you clean up your act, I'll love you;” nor does He say, "I'll sacrifice my Son if you promise to love me." In truth, throughout the Scriptures, we find just the opposite. God’s love is unconditional; He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us "while we were yet sinners". We didn't have to straighten up or make any promises to God before we could receive His love.
When it comes to God’s love for us, it is not conditional love based on our merit. For God’s supply of His love towards us always exceeds our merit. God's love for us is not regulated by our worthiness or unworthiness, God's love for you knows no limits, for "God is Love" (see 1John 4:8).
God loves you regardless of what you do, and He doesn't love you any more or any less on account of what you do or do not do. Moreover, we consider it a very good thing that God's call of love was not a collect call!
John 4:10 and Ephesians 4:2-9 offer us further enlightenment:
- John 4:10 - "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
- Ephesians 2:4-9: "4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love wherewith He loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 In order that in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Yes, God is love, and God is also just. God is just and God is love. There is no contradiction. Jesus suffered and died for our sins, and GOD was PROPITIATED (the price paid was sufficient; the demands of God's perfectly holy justice have been met). Did the propitiation sweep God's justice under the rug? No! The cross rendered God's love for us consistent with His justice. We have been RECONCILED to God by the DEATH of His Son, on the MERITS of CHRIST’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Jesus, in short, suffered because of our sins, and he died in OUR place. It’s that simple.
- 1John 4:9: "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him."
In the realm of human romance, love often needs to be proven. God's love for us is not just a theory or an empty claim, it was proven, manifested, proclaimed and demonstrated with the advent of Christ and Him crucified. God sent His perfect and obedient Son to suffer and die on the cross because He loves YOU. Is Christ and Him crucified sufficient proof of God's love for you or would you rather He just send you some flowers and a nice card? How much more proof of God's love do we need? Can the cross of Christ be topped? Is there a bigger way that God could prove to you that you mean more to Him than even an earthly child means to his/her earthly parents? Look, how many people do you know who love their enemies? Me too, I know a few. But how many people do you know who would have their own only begotten child suffer as Christ did at Calvary for the just punishment due all their enemies?
Romans 8:32 - He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?