How do you know if God loves you? Most of us have the Sunday school answer down: “I know God loves me because Jesus died for my sins.” But I think if we were honest, most of us would agree that although we might know about God’s love intellectually, we don’t necessarily have an emotional reaction to what God actually did to demonstrate His love.
So how does Jesus’s death reveal God’s love?
At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
While you were at the end of your rope, with nothing to bring, Christ died for you. He died not just for your neighbor or your friend – but for you! God wasn’t waiting until you cleaned up your morality or changed your behavior. He wasn’t waiting for you to try harder either.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if while we were God’s enemies we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled shall we be saved through His life? (v. 9-10)
While you were still an “enemy of God,” Christ chose to die in your place.
Sin, at its core, is rebellion. Deep down, we all struggle with this. We start off thinking and believing: “I want to be king. I want to call the shots. I will live independently of God. I know better. I’m going to do my own thing.”
We think we can live better lives apart from God and God’s ways because deep down, we don’t believe that God has our best in mind.
Yet, in the midst of our rebellion against God, when Jesus died He paid the insurmountable debt that you and I owe and can never pay. He freed us from the slavery of sin and absorbed the just anger of God.
Later in Romans, the Apostle Paul uses the analogy of the slave (Romans 6:20) because buying and selling slaves was a common practice during his time. And similar to the slaves, we also have a “purchase price.” The purchase price for our life was the death or the blood of Jesus.
If you ever doubt how much God loves you, consider that He bought you out of slavery with His own life.
As a result of His mercy and grace, the God that you worship looks upon you through the lens of the blood of Christ as a righteous son or a daughter. You’re the object of His affection. He wants to direct you, bless you, help you, and meet the deepest needs and the greatest delights of your heart.
Finally, you can know that God loves you because He calls you His friend. That’s what the word reconciliation means.
“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends…” (John 15:15)
As your friend, God promises never to let you down, never to leave you, and never to forsake you. The Scripture says “there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” – and that’s Jesus.
And that’s how you can know, with certainty, that He loves you with a real and everlasting love.
To learn more about this topic, check out the series Real Love in Real Life.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip