How Do I Know God Loves Me?

I. love: That disposition or state of feeling with regard to a person which (arising from recognition of attractive qualities, from instincts of natural relationship, or from sympathy) manifests itself in solicitude for the welfare of the object, and usually also in delight in his or her presence and desire for his or her approval; warm affection, attachment.

II. Preliminary thoughts. A. Why should you care if God loves you or not, as long as He lands you in heaven for eternity? 1. You would be alive, secure, among others and all needs met, per PHIL 4:19. 2. In other words, heaven would be like a massive poultry barn with automated feeders. 3. Such a vision is distasteful to us and would render God’s salvation only a cold, sterile, legal transaction to justify us. 4. Many in history have shown mercy to those whom they do not love, as is oft the case in governmental acts of clemency. MAR 15:15. a. The released individual may or may not have any love for his releaser. b. But God’s mercy towards sinners is directly owing to His love for them (EPH 2:4-5) and this is the compelling incentive for our reciprocal love and duty. 1JO 4:19; 2CO 5:14-15; EPH 5:2. c. Consider Paul’s words in GAL 2:20. Our salvation is more than a legal clemency. 5. Similar observations could be made of God’s resurrection call. a. The call is general. JOH 5:28-29. b. But without His love, it is merely a call to the second death. MAT 25:34, 41. c. It is because saints are loved that they have a lively hope of resurrection. 1PE 1:3-4 c/w 2TH 2:16. 6. God’s salvation is more than judicial. a. He lovingly emotes joyfully over us with singing. ZEP 3:17. b. Jesus lovingly emoted with tears. JOH 11:5, 34-36. B. Phrases like “love of God” or “love of the Lord” may refer to one’s love towards God (the objective-genitive case) or God’s love towards one (subjective-genitive case). LUK 11:42; 2TI 3:4; HOS 3:1; TIT 3:3-4. C. God’s love for His people is everlasting. JER 31:3; ROM 8:35-39. 1. Since God’s love is everlasting, it must be a particular love, not a universal love. 2. If God’s everlasting love is universal, then it must be concluded that those who end up in eternal torment of hell and the lake of fire are experiencing God’s love: that is how He shows them His solicitude for their welfare and His warm attachment (per the definition of love). If such be God’s love, they would be better off with God’s indifference. 3. God’s love is particular, according to His election of some. ROM 9:11-13. D. God’s love is commended to us in that we were in a state of belligerent sin, not in a state of obedience or goodness when He saved us. ROM 5:6-10. E. Therefore, to be loved of God is the supreme blessing which, if we know we are such, we have hope, peace, consolation, incentive to love Him and one another. 1JO 4:10-12. F. There are two aspects of God’s/Christ’s love for us. 1. There is the unconditional love expressed in the chastisement of Christ to effect our salvation. ISA 53:5; EPH 5:25. 2. There is the interactive love in which He chastises us for disobedience. REV 3:19. 3. The lack of the latter calls into question the existence of the former. HEB 12:6-8.

III. Avoid false evidences of God’s love for you. A. God’s love is not perceived by circumstances but by Calvary. 1JO 3:16. B. God’s love is not perceived by having every request granted. 2CO 12:8-9. C. God’s love is not infallibly perceived by material blessing. MAT 5:45; JAM 2:5. D. God’s love is not perceived by an easy, popular Christianity. JOH 15:19; 16:33. E. A love for the world is no evidence of God’s love of you. 1JO 2:15.

IV. One can know that God loves him if he truly, sincerely loves the Lord. EPH 6:23-24; 1CO 8:3. A. This love comes from the heart, not the lips. MAT 15:8. B. One’s love for God is because of God’s love for him. 1JO 4:19. C. The love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of believers. ROM 5:5. D. There are those who have not the love of God in them. JOH 5:42; 8:42. E. A curse is upon those who love not the Lord Jesus Christ. 1CO 16:22. F. This love of God is manifest in submissive faith and obedience. JOH 14:21; 16:27. G. This love of God is manifest in biblical love of the brethren. 1JO 5:1-3. H. One does not sincerely love Jesus Christ if he will not do what He says. LUK 6:46. V. Do you: A. hunger and thirst after righteousness? MAT 5:6. 1. (PSA 146:8) The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind: the LORD raiseth them that are bowed down: the LORD loveth the righteous: 2. (PRO 15:9) The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. B. experience shame and contrition over sin? PSA 34:18. C. fear and love God? DEU 10:12. D. realize that apart from Christ you are nothing but cursed? ISA 64:6; GAL 3:10. E. desire God’s presence (as love is defined)? PSA 23:6; 16:11. F. long for a heavenly country? HEB 11:16; 2PE 3:13-14. G. give cheerfully of your wealth? 2CO 9:7. H. realize that heaven will be made up of broken people who brokenly love God? ROM 7:24-25. I. realize that such are they who love God because God first loved them? 1JO 4:19.

VI. The Wisdom of God says, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me” (PRO 8:17).

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