Question of the Week
Question: "Does God love me?"
Answer: The question of whether God loves us – personally and individually – is common. Surrounded by the conditional love of finite humanity, we cannot easily comprehend that God would love us. We know our faults. We know that God is perfect and sinless. We know that we are not. Why would God, who is infinite and holy, love us, who are finite and sinful? And yet the great truth of the gospel is that He does! Time and again, Scripture reminds us of God’s love for us.
To begin with, God created mankind in His own image. And He did so with great care and concern. He “formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being … the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man” (Genesis 2:7, 21-22). There’s an intimacy here between God and mankind. With the rest of creation, God merely spoke and it was. Yet God took time in forming man and woman. He gave them dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28). God related directly to Adam and Eve. After the Fall, the couple hid from God when He came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). It was not abnormal for them to speak with God; it was abnormal for them to hide.
Relationship with God was broken after the Fall, but His love remained. Immediately following God’s pronouncement of curses on the sinful couple, Scripture paints another loving image of God. “The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. And the Lord God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and also take from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’ So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of the Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken” (Genesis 3:21-23). God’s action here is not vindictive or punitive; it is protective. God clothed Adam and Eve to hide their shame. He drove them out of Eden to protect them from further harm. God acted out of love. Then, God’s plan of redemption and restoration begins to unfold—a plan not designed after the Fall, but before creation (1 Peter 1:20). God loves humankind so much that He chose to create us even knowing the heartache it would cause Him to redeem us.
There are many verses that demonstrate God’s love. We can see His tenderness in Old and New Testament alike. David and other psalmists were particularly articulate regarding God’s love. Just look at Psalm 139. Song of Solomon is another great picture of love. God’s love is even evident in the history of the Israelites, as He continually preserved a remnant and pled with His people to obey and live. God is seen as just, but also merciful. He is tender. He is jealous for His people, desirous that relationship be restored.
Sometimes we look at the Old Testament and think that God only loves people as a nation, not as individuals. But it is important to remember that Ruth, Hagar, David, Abraham, Moses and Jeremiah were all individuals. God stepped into each of their lives and loved them individually. This love becomes obvious in the person of Jesus.
God confined Himself to human skin in order to redeem us (see Philippians 2:5-11). He entered our world as a baby born to an unassuming family in a very humble way (He spent His first night in an animals’ feeding trough). Jesus grew up like any child would. During His public ministry, He often associated with society’s outcasts. He stopped for the sick. He healed. He listened to people. He blessed the children. He also taught us about God’s love. Luke 13:34 records Jesus crying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” This speaks God’s heart desire that people would return to Him. He longs for us. Not to punish us, but to love us.
Perhaps the greatest picture of God’s love is Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. Paul reminds us, “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8). Jesus’ work on the cross was a clear, unmistakable declaration of love. And this love is unconditional. We were in our worst state when Christ died for us. “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins … But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace that you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:1, 4-5).
This salvation has made true life possible. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” Jesus said. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). God is not stingy. He wants to lavish His love on us. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death,” Paul proclaims in Romans 8:1-2.
Remember, Paul was formerly an enemy of Christ. He vehemently persecuted Christians. He lived by the letter of the law rather than through an understanding of God’s love. Paul, if he even thought of God’s love, probably felt that God could not love him apart from rule-following. Yet, in Christ, he found God’s grace and accepted God’s love. One of his greatest articulations of God’s love is this: “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:31-32, 35-39).
So the simple answer is, “yes.” Yes, God loves you! As hard as it may be to believe, it is the truth.
Other Scriptures about God’s love for you:
1 John 4:8 – “ … God is love”
Ephesians 5:1-2 – “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Ephesians 5:25-27 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
John 15:9-11 – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 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. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”
1 John 3:16a – “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”