While this is extreme, I think there are people, even Christians who believe that God will only bless them if they do not sin or that He will only help them if they are doing there best. I even saw someone offer “comfort” to a hurting friend by telling her, “Do your best and God will do the rest.” I understand the comfort she was trying to offer, but the fact is, God does not depend on our behavior to help us, rescue us, or love us. Do you understand that if God relied on us to decide to love us, He couldn’t love us at all?
Every person has fallen short of the mark, every single solitary person except Jesus Christ has sinned and cannot merit God’s favor or Salvation (Romans 3:23). But that is not bad news! You see you cannot earn God’s love, but He loves you! He loves you in a way that is bigger and deeper and more vast than you or I can fully understand. Ephesians 3:14-21 reads,
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
God already loves you. And He loves you fully and deeply. The more we understand and recognize His love, the more deeply rooted we are in Christ. The faith we have in just accepting, assenting, and acceding to His love the more firmly founded in Christ we are. Grasping the concept that God loves us before we can earn it and that we do not have to earn it gives us strength to understand the richness, scope, freedom, and profundity of this love that surpasses, that is exceeds and transcends knowledge and understanding. It allows us to comprehend the incomprehensible to know the unknowable, not because of ourselves but because the more we accept and receive His love, the fuller we are with Him and the more we become like Christ, thinking like Him, and loving like Him because His Spirit is in us, transforming and renewing us.
You were loved by God before you were saved. Before you gave your life to Him and called Jesus your Lord, He already loved you. It is that love and what He is doing for us that carries us through any circumstance. Romans 5:1-11 reads,
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Get this, He loved you before you were born. Psalm 139:13-16 reads,
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
He loved you and chose you to be His before the creation of the world! Ephesians 1:3-10 in The Living Bible Translation says,
How we praise God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every blessing in heaven because we belong to Christ.
4 Long ago, even before he made the world, God chose us to be his very own through what Christ would do for us; he decided then to make us holy in his eyes, without a single fault—we who stand before him covered with his love. 5 His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And he did this because he wanted to!
6 Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us because we belong to his dearly loved Son. 7 So overflowing is his kindness toward us that he took away all our sins through the blood of his Son, by whom we are saved; 8 and he has showered down upon us the richness of his grace—for how well he understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.
9 God has told us his secret reason for sending Christ, a plan he decided on in mercy long ago; 10 and this was his purpose: that when the time is ripe he will gather us all together from wherever we are—in heaven or on earth—to be with him in Christ forever.
Do you think that now, somehow we have to do something to earn God’s love? No! We can revel in His love! We can celebrate and enjoy it! That is not a reason to continue sinning, it is a reason to choose to obey God, to love like Him through His power and Spirit, not our own. If God loved us so much before we were reconciled or given peace with Him, how much more now will He love to pour His goodness and love out on us?
Now that you are a Christian, you should know better than to run around living a life that contradicts God. But still there is nothing you can do to make Him love you less. Nothing can divorce you from His love, NOTHING! Hardships will come and the enemy will use them to lie to you and make you think that God no longer loves you, that He is disappointed in you, or that you are not His very own Cherished Child. But, staying rooted in the knowledge of His love for you will not only keep Him strong in you, it will help you continue to grow in Him not despite your circumstances but through them and then over them. God loves you, He saved you. Who is there that can change that? You certainly cannot change it. Nothing and no one can change who God is. He is Love (1 John 4:8). He is Almighty (Revelation 1:8). He is I Am that I Am (Exodus 3:14). Romans 8:31-38 says it this way,
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No, we cannot earn His love, there is nothing we can do to make Him love us, He already does. There is nothing we can do or not do to make Him stop loving us. Does that mean we should go around and look like people who do not know they are loved by God, live the way the lost do and curse Him, ignore Him, and live as if we evolved from amoebas? No, God’s graceful love is not a reason to sin, it is a reason to live in love and obedience. We respond to His love by loving Him and our love to Him is demonstrated by obedience. 1 John 5:1-5 says
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. 5 Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
God does not love Billy Graham anymore than He loves you! He does not love you more than He loves Bill Nye. He loves you, you cannot earn it and you cannot earn blessings by being good or earn curses by being bad. Accepting and acknowledging the unmerited love God gives you will help you through every circumstance, bad times and good times. Philippians 4:12-13 says it like this,
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
There is so much more to say on this subject and more we can talk about in regards to blessings and the many good gifts of our abundantly rich Father. Let’s continue this tomorrow, when we discuss living in the blessings of God and how maybe that does not look like you imagine it does. For today, I will close by reminding you of the awesome goodness and perfect love of God. 1 John 4:7-13 reads,
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.