Thursday, October 27, 2011

How do you know God loves you?

As Christians we know God loves us. It is pretty basic theology. Chances are you learned it pretty early in your time at Sunday school or introductory bible study group. However, I think it is not just important that you know God loves you, but also how you know that is true.

What is it that you can point to and say “This is what shows that God loves me.”?

It is tempting to point at some kind of blessing you have received. Because he loves us God may sometimes bless us in various ways. This might take the form of material provision, thriving relationships, pleasant experiences or many other good gifts. We should be thankful for these things.

However, these things are not the best indicators that God loves us for us to cling to. They are way too subjective and temporary for that. Possessions break, relationships sometimes fail and bad things happen. We will always be able to point to someone who seems more blessed than us. It can get very tempting to think that God therefore loves them more than he loves us. Likewise, going through painful experiences or having something you deeply desire withheld from you will make you question God’s love if you are looking to blessings as a sign of his love for you. I have found myself guilty of both recently.

So what should we look to to know that God loves us?

“...God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16)

In Jesus’ death on the cross, God’s love for us was conclusively proved. We don’t need to grasp at other, lesser evidences. We don’t need to worry about not being loved by him or loosing his love. The proof of the cross stands regardless of whatever may happen to us or whatever we may lack. It is fact regardless of how we feel. God showed us his love through the cross while we were still sinners and if we sin again that demonstration of love is still extended to us. Nothing can separate us from his love. (Romans 8:38-9).

You don’t need to doubt God’s love for you. Look to the cross and know that you are loved.