There’s a popular Christian song out there by the name of How He Loves. Not every Christian likes it. I’ve heard some say that it’s too people-centric and that it simply doesn’t exalt Christ as much as worship songs should. I can see their point, but nonetheless, I enjoy listening to the song from time to time.
The first time I heard it, I expected to hear about the ways in which God loves His people (not an outrageous expectation, given the title of the song), but the song didn’t actually address that. It did a great job of getting the point that God loves us across but really didn’t touch on how He loves us. That’s what I’m going to do today. Read below for my three Biblically-based clauses describing how God loves us.
A love that is built on pretense is not love. Plain and simple.
Because of the Trinitarian nature of our God, He has all the capacity for love and fellowship within Himself. The Father loves the Son (John 3:35), the Son submits to the Father in love (John 6:38), and the Holy Spirit proceeds in love from the Father and the Son (John 16:12-16). God does not need us to love Him. That’s not to say He doesn’t want us to. But He does not need our love. It adds nothing to His character, is no part of what sustains Him, and in no way makes Him more complete.
Because of this – because He needs nothing from us – God is able to love us with the purest love this universe has to offer. Too often, we, as sinful humans, end up loving other people for what we can get from them. Approval, physical pleasure, financial security, attention, even reciprocal affection. And while none of those things are inherently bad, a love that is based on those things only is mere pretense. It’s nothing more than a show…an act someone puts on to get what they want. And all too often, it works.
God’s love is not like that though. He needs nothing, so when He loves His creatures, we can know that it is genuine. Ephesians 2 teaches that we, as sinners, were dead in our trespasses until God, because of His great love, made us alive with Christ.
The dead can’t do anything. They have nothing to offer. So the fact that God loved us when we were spiritually dead proves that His love is not built on pretense. It is genuine…from His heart and in His grace. I am grateful that God loves me without pretense.
The apostle Paul wrote that “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s sending His Son to die for us remains the greatest act of love this world has ever seen. And it had nothing to do with us or our obedience. God’s love is not conditional, and praise be, because if God’s love for me depended on my perfect obedience to Him, He would’ve stopped loving me long ago. I am grateful that God loves me without condition.
Before reading The Prodigal God by Tim Keller and only being familiar with the well-known parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), I assumed that “prodigal” meant rebellious or recalcitrant. It doesn’t. Rather, it means “spending money or resources freely; extravagant.” In the book, Tim Keller makes the point that God is prodigal in the way He loves us. I love that…to think of God as a Prodigal…to think of Jesus, hanging on the cross, spending His very life for you and me. Extravagant. Unbounded. Wholly willing to give it all. I am grateful that God loves me without reserve.
A CLOSING NOTE
It is not uncommon for us to look around and see one person’s interest in another and call it love even though that interest is muddled by all kinds of pretense, condition, and reserve. The world will tell you that that’s just the way things are and that that’s good enough. Beloved child of the King, it doesn’t have to be. That’s not how Christ, the perfect Bridegroom, loves His bride. Seek Him first, and let Him quiet you by His love (Zephaniah 3:16-17).