What does it mean for God to love you?

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”  Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered 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 home with him.  Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. – John 14:18-24

This teaches something distinct about God’s love.  What this shows is God doesn’t love everyone the same way.  God loves His redeemed people in a special way.  Those of the world will never know and experience this love from God.  “For God so loved the world” of John 3:16 is not what we see here in John 14.  Jesus will eventually say to many, “Depart from me for I never knew you.”  That doesn’t mean that God didn’t love them by sending His only begotten Son to them.  But it does mean that God will not forever commit Himself to them because it’s ultimately not Him that they want.

A.W. Pink said something extremely revealing of the human heart.  He said, “Multitudes desire to be saved from hell who are quite unwilling to be saved from sin.”[1]  Pink explains that the desire to be saved from hell is “the natural instinct of self-preservation.”  I would add based on John 3:19 that the natural instinct of the human heart is to love the darkness.  To love sin.  That’s why Pink says you are naturally unwilling to be saved from your sin.  So it makes sense then:  If you go on loving what God hates, why would God commit Himself to you?  He won’t.  He’ll give you exactly the desires of your heart (Romans 1:24, 26, 28).  And that is tragic.  Gut-wrenching.  Terrible.  And guess what?  That’s not on Him.  That’s on you.  God will not forever commit Himself to people who will never commit themselves to Him.[2]  He’ll let them have what they want.  But the good news of the gospel is this:  If you will commit yourself to Him, He forever commits Himself to you.

[1] “Studies on Saving Faith.” Studies on Saving Faith by Pink, A.W. Kulakowski, Editor Rev. Terry, Reformed Church Publication, 2015, p. 42.

[2] To clarify, the Bible teaches that no one will ever freely commit themselves to God initially.  IOW, God is the ultimate, decisive factor in conversion, not man.  1 John 4:19 “We love because He first loved us.”  Yet, the Bible keeps the doctrinal tension of calling on unrepentant sinners to choose Christ.

Leave a Reply