In love he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the beloved. Ephesians 1:5-6.
This is a topic of great practical importance for the average believer. It is no crime to want to understand if, how, and why god loves you. If we go to great lengths to pursue the love of human beings, then we surely ought to be putting in an even greater effort to earn the love of god almighty. But is there any amount of effort that can earn god’s love?
Some debate whether god’s love is conditional or unconditional, or if in fact it is a partial one or not. These terms can have different meanings for various people, but the real issues at hand are whether god loves all human beings, if he loves them all in the same way, on what basis he loves, and if there is anything we can possibly do to increase his love.
God does not simply feel love. He is love. This is difficult for us to understand, because we are not like god. Our love can come and go. It is only one part of who we are, and it is imperfect. Our emotions, thoughts, and actions are often contradictory, but in god there is no contradiction. That is why, as the apostle john tells us in the passage above, his love provides the definition of the term and not ours. Any pure love that exists among human beings is due to the working of the spirit in our lives.
It is very important to understand that god’s electing love belongs to his eternal nature, because this is what gives us the confidence that it will continue forever. It also helps us to understand that we did not earn that love. We did not receive it because of anything worthy in ourselves, but because of his gracious choice. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of god flows forth and bestows good. It is wrong to assume that god gives his love to us because of anything pleasing in our thoughts, actions, or nature. Rather, his love is given to us freely and graciously, that we might be conformed to the image of his son. It is god’s love that allows us to perform good works; our good works cannot make him love us more. The love of god is essential to his eternal nature, which does not change.
This love of god which is unchanging, by which he draws us to himself (john 6:44), makes us alive by the power of the spirit (ephesians 2:1-7), leads us from justification into sanctification (romans 8:28-30), and empowers us to persevere to the end (romans 8:37-39). God did not give us his love on the basis of anything good in ourselves. God’s unconditional love is demonstrated in that he acted to reconcile us to himself before we showed any signs of repentance. Although god loves all mankind; god also equally hates sin. God has an unconditional hatred for sin. It matters not how kind, generous and loving you may be—you will be cast into hellfire on judgment day if you refuse to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ as the bible commands (revelation 20:11-15).
Knowing full well that god’s love for us is unchanging; he will not stop loving us. His expression of love has no boundary, though not a license to commit sin. It behooves on us to reciprocate that good gesture by loving him in every way, love our fellow human being, follow his precepts and obey all of god’s commandments.
God bless you.
Your Brother, Friend, Pastor & Archdeacon