The love of Jesus for His Bride, the Church universal, is an indescribably beautiful truth that merits and requires much meditation. Many Christians easily understand the truth that God loves the Church. That is a biblical fact. They also understand that because they are believers, they are included in Church and therefore loved by God. But countless believers through the years have struggled with the question, Does Jesus really love me?
We can easily believe the lie that God’s love for us is dependent on our obedience or faith or that our affection toward Him affects His love toward us. How encouraging it is to realize that is never the case! The love of God is neither responsive or dependent on us. Jesus’ love toward you is not reliant on you. Believer, it is unshakable Scriptural truth that Jesus does really love you!
That objective reality is the focus on this week’s Behold Your God Podcast. Matthew is joined by Albert Bisson, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Sturgis, Mississippi, and professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Mississippi State University. Albert visited Christ Church New Albany to preach the sermon The Assurance of God’s Love.
“For all of us, the assurance that I am truly and fully embraced by God and that I don’t need to perform in order to be more acceptable to Him is important to grasp,” Albert said.
Many Christians think if they have enough faith, if they read the Scriptures enough, if they meditate upon the truths of God’s love long enough, they will finally have a miraculous interchange with God through which they will feel the acceptance from God they have longed for. When it doesn’t come, they feel deflated or even helpless.
So how can we truly, know God loves me? Matthew said, “We need to trust Him and trust His Word. We need to stop trying to be the one who determines whether we are doing what we are supposed to do, and instead, let God tell us in His Word what we should be doing.”
John 14:21-23 is a promise that directly addresses these struggles and doubts. Jesus is speaking and says, “He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will disclose Myself to him…If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
God’s love for us is independent of us, but He has made it clear that walking in obedience to Him is how we will experientially know that love. Imagine a well-trodden path through a kingdom. The king of this land has said he will walk that path through the kingdom, and no other, every day. If someone wants to be near him, they must walk in his path. The king will not detour to theirs. It is similar for the Christian.
God has made His path clear. Albert developed this idea more, explaining that God’s commandments are not instructions we follow so that everything in our lives falls into place. Obedience is much more than that. "God is showing us how to walk in unity with Him, and in walking in unity with Him, we have fellowship with Him.”
Christian, do you struggle with the reality that God loves you? Do you wrestle with the truth that He loves you right now? He is not waiting for you to master obedience, memorize more Scripture, or accomplish some great feat. He loves you because He has chosen to.
Listen to this week’s podcast and read the Scriptures mentioned. Meditate on the reality that God’s love is independent of you. You cannot grow or dimish God’s love for you any more than you can dim or brighten the sun’s light. Let that truth warm your heart toward Him and result in giving Him praise and worship this week.
Albert had to leave after recording the podcast to make it home in time to preach the PM service at his church. In lieu a Supporter Appreciation Episode (which will be back next week with John Snyder), we recommend listening to Albert’s sermon, The Assurance of God’s Love.