Does God Love Me?
Big Idea |
The cross serves as the clearest display of Christ’s love for me.
For full sermon audio, listen here...
There is no more destructive doubt we can have than to wonder whether or not God really loves us. Confident faith in God’s love is the very basis of our relationship with Him. When we doubt His love, instead of having the relationship God wants to have with us, we have one marked by shame, avoidance, and defensiveness.
There are two primary reasons we struggle to believe God could love us:
- The things you've done. Conceiving of God’s love may be difficult because of sexual sin, substance abuse, or just selfish pursuits that mark your life, past or present.
- The things done to you. You may feel unworthy of God’s love because of past abuse, abandonment, or betrayal. You may feel dirty, used, or unlovable.
The truth is, we imagine that if we were God, we wouldn’t be able to love us. But here’s an obvious yet crucial truth: We are not God.
The way we feel about ourselves doesn’t dictate how God feels about us, nor does the way others feel about us determine how God feels. If we want to know what God thinks, we have to turn to His word.
The mistake we often make is equating God’s divine love with our human experience of love, but human love is only a faint shadow of the love God has for us.
If we define God’s love incorrectly, we will doubt His love continually.
A Description of God’s Indefinable Love – Romans 5:5-8
In Romans 5:5, we are assured that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Yet, this is a claim we struggle to believe.
In the three verses that follow, Paul - the ever-effective attorney - builds a case for Christ’s love for us. He contrasts the ultimate display of our human love with God’s divine love, and reaches a life-changing conclusion.
1. The ultimate display of human love: You and I might die for someone we deem good and worthy.
We demonstrate love for the people in our lives in a number of ways. We give them time, show affection, communicate with, and serve them. But as genuine and important as this is, the single greatest display of our love would be to die for them. Jesus Himself said this in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this; that someone lay down his life for his friends”.
Our willingness to die is rooted in the fact that we love them, they love us, and they are good and worthy of our sacrifice.
Paul accurately points out that this kind of love is scarce: “For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—” (v.7).
2. The ultimate display of God’s love: Jesus gave His life for godless, helpless people who hated Him.
If the ultimate display of our love is that we might die for someone we deem good and worthy, consider this: “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. “ (v.6)
Most of us mistakenly think God only saves those who are good, worthy, and strong. Since we don’t believe we measure up, we think He couldn’t possibly love us. Doubt then grows in us and inspires insecurity.
But when we compare ourselves to others and come to that conclusion, we are making two mistakes: We’re failing to accurately assess the people around us, and we’re misunderstanding the state of people Christ came to love and save.
Nobody ever cleans themselves up and becomes worthy of God’s love prior to God loving them. Christ died for us “while we were still weak”, meaning incapable of good and completely godless. The reason we feel unworthy and unloved is because we believe we have to deserve His love. We forget that God’s love for us is based on Christ. It is His sacrifice that makes us worthy.
3. The life-changing conclusion: There is no stronger, more steadfast love than God’s love for us.
As Christians, we must never let our hearts grow cold and calloused to this fact: “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (v.8)
The cross was God’s embrace of the rebellious, not the righteous. God loves us and never asks us to merely take His word for it. He demonstrated His love by sending Jesus to die for our sins while we were still in our sin. We need only to take a lingering look at the cross to understand that God’s love is stronger and more steadfast than any human love.
We must make a deliberate decision to stop formulating our own opinions about who God is and allow God’s word to dictate His heart for and towards us. God has both declared and displayed His love. Our response should be to embrace and receive this love, allowing the grace that has washed away our sin to flood our lives.
Questions for further reflection:
- How have you viewed God’s love for you? Have you doubted it? Why?
- How do you feel about the idea that doubting God’s love is a sin of unbelief?
- When you consider the case Paul makes here for God’s love, are you convinced?
- How will you respond?
(Adapted by Diane Rivers from a sermon entitled, "Does God Love Me?")