God's Love

The theme last night with our high school ministry was God's love. Together as a group considered the following questions...

• What if you were loved unconditionally by God?
• Do you really believe you are?
• How would my life look different if I did?
• How would that affect my view of God?
• How would that affect my view of myself?
• How would that affect my view of others?
• What would I cease to do if I didn’t feel I had to earn that love?
• What would I begin to do because I understand His love for me?
• How would I treat/view other people in light of God’s unconditional love for them?
• Could it be that I am unconditionally loved by God?

So often we feel as if we need to somehow earn God's love. We think that if only we can maintain the different spiritual disciplines that we feel are important (Bible reading, prayer, fellowship, worship, etc.) we will somehow earn God's love. There is an inherent problem with that. If we are to carry out that logic, then the reverse of that would be true as well, that being when we fail to fulfill one of those disciplines, then God loves us less at that point. Clearly that is not the case.

We must remember we engage in spiritual disciplines not so God will love us, but because He does love us. There is nothing we can do to earn His love. We are loved and accepted just the way we are.

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

Psalm 36:5-9

4 comments:

Rodney Olsen said...

It's very easy to just go through a list like that and say, "Yes, yes, yes, I believe all that" but there are times when we need to seriously examine whether what we say we believe is what we're living.

That's why I've bookmarked this post so that I can come back to it when I have more time to truly consider all the implications.

Thanks.

SteveJ said...

If God's love and acceptance are unconditional, how on earth do we explain the following?:

"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell." (Matt. 5:29)
"For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins." (Matt. 6:14-15)

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23)

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." (Matt. 10:32-33)

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matt. 10:37-39)

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 18:3)

"In anger his master turned him [the unmerciful servant] over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart." (Matt. 18:34-35)

Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish." (Luke 13:1-3)

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters -- yes, even his own life -- he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. ... any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26-27, 33)

"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out -- those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned." (John 5:28-29)

"If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. ... If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love." (John 15:6, 10)

SteveJ said...

By the way, I'm not suggesting by the last post that God's love is conditional. I'm simply a little perplexed that there's so much in the New Testament that makes a belief in unconditional love difficult.

Brian Eberly said...

How about...

This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 )

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting ANYONE to perish, but EVERYONE to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God desires that we enter into a relationship with Him, a love relationship. He doesn't demand it, He simply offers it to us. Sadly many refuse the gift.

God desires two things: Love Him and love others. Loving others is a natural outflow of loving Him, it is a demonstration of loving Him.

He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' (Luke 10:27)

Good questions and good thoughts. Continue to seek Him and His truth.

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