I AM LOVED
Who Am I? Seeing Your True Identity Through God’s Eyes ❧ Part 9
Selected Passages ❧ October 24, 2021
I recently read about a man who became seriously ill. He claimed to be a follower of Christ. He was deeply troubled that he felt little love in his heart toward God and shared about it with a close friend. His friend answered him this way. “When I go home from here, I expect to take my baby on my knee, look into her sweet eyes, listen to her charming babble, and tired as I am, her presence will rest me; for I love that child with inexpressible tenderness. But she loves me little. If my heart were breaking it would not disturb her sleep. If my body were racked with pain, it would not interrupt her play. If I were dead, she would forget me in a few days. Besides this, she has never brought me a penny, but has been a constant expense to me. I am not rich, but there is not enough money in the world to buy my little girl. How is it? Does she love me, or do I love her? Do I withhold my love until I know she loves me? Am I waiting for her to do something worthy of my love before extending it?”
Hearing his friend’s answer about the love of God for His children caused tears to roll down the man’s face. “Oh, I see,” he exclaimed, “it is not my love to God, but God’s love for me, that I should be thinking of. And now I do love Him as I never loved Him before.”
This morning we’re going to look at how God’s love reveals who we are. I want us to see four assurances that tell us who we are because of God’s love for us. 1) God’s love is unearned, 2) unreserved (Nothing you can do will make God love you less or love you more), 3) unchanging, and 4) unending. What does God’s love say about who we are?
I. God’s love is Unearned. God tells us over and over in His Word there is nothing we can do to be eligible for His love. There is nothing we can do to qualify to become His children. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13). Notice, John is very clear how we become one of God’s children. He says it is a right given by God. We don’t become God’s child by birth, that is natural decent. We don’t become God’s child by the will of the flesh, that is human decision. Nor do we become God’s child by the will of man, that is someone else cannot decide for us. You mom or your dad can’t. Your grandmother or your grandfather can’t. Your wife can’t. Your husband can’t. God alone gives us the right to become His child when we receive Him as our Savior.
Paul expands on this thought driving home that God’s choice for us to become His children reaches back before time itself began. He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4). An old woman, hearing of some preachers who dwelt on the doctrine of predestination, said: “Ah, I have long settled that point, for if God had not chosen me before I was born, I am sure He would have seen nothing in me to have chosen me afterward.” Long before space, time, matter existed, God chose you to be His own child! No matter how you slice it, God’s love is unearned. You can’t be any clearer than that! This means God’s love for you is not based on your character, but His. 1 John 4:8 tell us God is love. In another words, it is God’s nature to love. God’s love for you does not depend on your character or your performance, but God’s. Our acceptance as God’s children is based entirely on God’s character and performance through His Son on the cross. When Christ went the cross, He willingly accepted the consequences of all our sin, past, present, and future. You see, God’s love for us is not natural, of this world, but supernatural.
This is a good place to pause and clear up what can be confusing to some. The Bible says, Jesus Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2). John is saying Jesus’ death on the cross satisfied all of the consequences of God’s righteous wrath toward our sin, as well as, the sins of the whole world. We need to be careful to not make this verse say something more than it does. John is not saying because Jesus is our sin substitute on the cross that the whole world will be saved (i.e. Universalism – all people will be saved). What this verse is saying is though Jesus’ death is enough to satisfy God’s wrath toward all sin, the free gift of His forgiveness must still be personally received.
A gift that is free must still be received by the one to whom it is offered. Let me explain. I once had a conversation with a waitress about the free gift of salvation we have in Christ. She was under the false impression that since Christ’s forgiveness was for the sins of the whole world, everyone would be saved. I explained to her that just because a free gift is offered does not mean the one receiving it automatically has it. It must first be accepted by the one receiving it. The gift may be freely offered, but until it is accepted it cannot be experienced and appropriated.
God’s love and forgiveness is an unearned gift. But the gift will not do you any good unless you personally accept it. What does God’s love say about who we are? It says God’s love for us is
undeserved. God’s love for us as His children is not based on our character, but God’s. It is supernatural. There is a flip side to this coin. This also means we are to love others with this same supernatural love. A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another (John 13:34). The reason Jesus’ commandment is new is because the kind of love we’re to love others with is possible through Christ. His love changes us and enables us to love others with a supernatural love. So, being God’s child is not a right you earned, but one God gave to you because of His love.
II. God’s love is Unreserved. God’s love for you is complete, absolute. He has not held back any of His love toward you. Romans 8, He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32). Since God demonstrated the supreme act of His love for us by delivering up His Son for us all, He will not hold anything back in His love for us. To put this another way, there is nothing you can do that will make God love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less.
You may feel that God loves others more than you based on your perception of their life. They have this gift or that talent and you don’t leaving you feel as though God loves them more than you. But that is not true. Dr. Neil Anderson clarifies God has not equally gifted or talented all of us, but He has equally given Himself to us (Victory Over the Darkness DVD, session three). God’s love for us is not determined by the gifts or talents we have but by how much He has given of Himself to us.
When we compare ourselves to others, we’re wrongly using others as a measurement of God’s love. God, in His love, has given Himself fully and unreservedly to His own. Peter reminds us in 2 Peter, His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). Everything you need for a spiritually fulfilling, satisfying, and effective life has been given to you through your faith in Christ. I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8).
In the 1960’s a very prominent German theologian who was famous for standing up to Adolf Hitler, visited the United States to lecture in some ivory tower schools such as Yale, Princeton, and the University of Chicago. Crowds came in the droves to hear him speak. During his tour, a reporter asked Barth what was the single most important theological discovery he’d made. After stopping to consider his answer, Barth said, “Jesus loves me. This I know for the Bible tells me so.” (M. Driscoll, Who Do You Think You Are?, p. 187). The single most majestic satisfying, comforting, assuring and transforming truth we can know is that Jesus loves us. What does God’s love say about who we are? There is nothing you can do that will make God love you more and nothing you can do to make Him love you less. He proved it through the supreme act of delivering up His Son for us all. He loves you unreservedly.
God’s love for you is undeserved and unreserved. It is undeserved in that His love is not conditioned by your behavior, but His character. God’s love is unreserved in that He gave the greatest gift He could possibly give to prove it, Himself. Third, God’s love is unchanging.
III. God’s love is Unchanging. God does not, will not, and cannot change in His love toward His own. Theologians call this the immutability of God; God does not change. Paul explains it this way, If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). If you are a child of God, you can never become someone other than His child, even when you fail. God’s faithfulness is not based on your faithfulness to Him. This means we no longer need to fear God’s rejection. He will never abandon you. for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, “The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
The other day I drove by the home a couple that are now with the Lord. For many years they had a sign in their front yard they put different Bible verses on to point people driving by to the Lord. Even though both of them have passed, there is still a message on the sign. When I saw it, I thought how fitting. It said: Life is the journey, Heaven is the reward. If you knew this couple, you knew both had a long and sincere faith in Christ. Their names were Ray and Vi Mueller. In their final years together Ray slowly began to lose his memory and ability to communicate. In his mind he was trying to say one thing but his words made little if any sense. I watched them both struggle through the pain and difficulty of his mind-eroding illness. Vi had a spunky faith. On more than one occasion she shared with me her deeply painful childhood filled with rejection, loneliness, and shattered dreams. But then she found Christ, His healing forgiveness and comfort. While she watched Ray slip further and further away, I never heard her ask once, Why? Rather, I saw a woman of undaunted and feisty faith. Now, the journey of life is over and Heaven is truly her reward. Vi understood something about God’s love for her that served as an anchor for her in life’s uncertain storms. God’s love is
unchanging. Someone once said this about God’s character: God is too kind to do anything cruel, Too wise to make a mistake, Too deep to explain Himself.
What does God’s love say about who we are? There are many things in life we simply don’t understand. God has not given us all the answers. Instead, He has given us something better – a greater assurance. He says to you and me, My love toward you as My child is unchanging. Though the tides of time and seasons of change may come into our lives, God’s love will never falter, never fail. God’s love is unchanging.
God’s love is Unending. for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). ἀμεταμέλητος – ametamelatos, a derivative from a word that means to regret. God says His gifts and calling in your life are something He will never regret. He’ll never rescind or cancel them. His love toward you carries a full guaranteed eternal warranty. James says, Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow (James 1:17). James is saying the shadows from the sun may shift, but not the One who made the sun. God does not and will not change in His love for us. God revealed His same unchanging love for Israel saying, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness (Jeremiah 31:3). When the prophet Jeremiah’s world was turned upside down, he sat down and penned these words, This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness (Lamentations 3:21-23). It is God’s faithfulness will never change toward His own. God tells us and demonstrates for us over and over in Scripture His faithfulness toward us is everlasting. Nothing, not even eternity itself can separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:39). Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Anabel Gillham tells the story of how her son taught her about God’s love. Her son, Mason, was born profoundly retarded, and came to the point where he needed to be institutionalized because he could no longer communicate or even feed himself. Of course, Anabel and her husband deeply loved their son and missed him so they would often bring him on weekends.
One Sunday, a little while before it was time to take Mason back, Anabel was at the kitchen sink washing dishes. Mason was sitting at the table with his bib on. There was food scattered everywhere as Mason stared into space, totally detached from his surroundings. Anabel put her dishcloth down and knelt in front of her son and said, “Oh, Mason, I love you so much. If only you knew how much I loved you.” But he didn’t respond. He couldn’t. When she went back to the sink with tears flowing down her cheeks, God spoke to her heart, “Anabel, that is the way I love you. Even if you couldn’t perform one deed or perfectly respond to Me, I would still love you.” You may doubt God’s love for you, but that doesn’t make it any less real or true.
Four assurances that tell us who we are because of God’s love for us. 1) God’s love is unearned, 2) unreserved (Nothing you can do will make God love you less or love you more), 3) unchanging, and 4) unending.