The love of God is perfect, unchangeable, unconditional and is not based upon our performances or qualities. God loves us to the fullest measure. Jesus Christ died in our place, and He Himself tells us that “there is no greater love than giving one's life for his friends” (John 15:13). He calls us His friends, if we keep His commands. The Lord wants to communicate with us as friends and He teaches us all that He has heard from His Father. We are so privileged! The character and attributes of God are reflected in His love for us and the following sections of verses show this truth most clearly.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
For God, our value is maximal, because He has paid the most extreme price for our redemption; He paid with the life of His Son. Even if we do not value ourselves much in our own eyes or feel valued from those around us, the value we have in God's eyes is so high, that He considered us worth it to endure all the pain and torment that mankind has caused Him throughout all history. Once we understand how much God loves us and accept His love, we can then handle the adversities of life much more easily. If we are know and trust that the Lord always wants and does what is best for us, we will not fall into the trap of frustration or despair so easily when we face troubles or hard times. On His first coming, Jesus did not come to judge humanity, but to save it. The purpose of God is for us to be saved and spend eternity with Him in heaven. But the choice is up to us for we each must choose whether we want to follow God or not.
In the New Testament, there are four Greek words translated as love: "eros,""storge,""philia" and "agape."
"Eros" is the sensual, romantic love expressing physical attraction, passion, sensual or romantic love. This term is the only one that we do not actually find in the Bible. Instead, we find the similar Hebrew term in the “Song of Solomon”, which describes the passionate attraction that should be reserved for a husband and wife. This is the Greek word for sensual or romantic love and it originated from the mythological Greek goddess of love.
"Storge” describes the love between family members as the affectionate bond that develops naturally between parents and children, brothers and sisters.
"Philia" expresses the love that develops between Christians, as a result of a deep bond of friendship and trust. This term is commonly used in the Bible for the love of people, care, respect, and compassion for those who experience difficulties. This concept of brotherly love that bonds believers, is only truly met in Christianity.
"Agape" is God's supreme, immeasurable, incomparable love for mankind. "Agape" is the perfect, unconditional, sacrificial and pure love that Jesus demonstrated through His life and death.
God does not force us to receive His love. If we recognize that we need His unconditional love, surrendering it all to Him, sincerely repenting of sin and renouncing all evil, hatred, unforgiveness and any other form of sin, then we can receive the Lord's love abundantly into our hearts and have our lives transformed.
Deuteronomy 7:7-9 “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations.”
What an amazing promise, which is also for future generations. In fact, the Lord says that all who love Him and do His will, benefit from His promises. But because God is just and holy, those who do not love Him and are not willing to obey Him, are not be forced to do so and miss out on the heavenly blessings and rewards. God would no longer be just if He would force them to spend their eternity in heaven, in His presence, if they rebelled against Him while they had the right to choose who they wanted to follow, while living on earth.
Perspective is a key in understanding the love of God. We all tend to compare the love of God with our love for our dear ones. Human love is like the waves of an ocean, with ups and downs, depending on the "beloved" person's behavior. When they please us, thinking as we do, saying what we consider to be right, agreeing with us and the relationship is beneficial to us, we love them to the fullest. But it is enough for that person to do something we do not like, for our love to drop quickly. In other words, the love we can offer through ourselves is subjective and conditioned by multiple factors. Which is precisely why, when we sin or feel like we have failed God, we come to believe that He does not love us anymore. “God is not a man, that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19a), God is perfect, just and His Word is the truth. He has promised us in His Word that He always loves us and unconditionally, which is the unchangeable truth.
God chose to give us His Written Word, limiting Himself by it's boundaries. Because in the Scriptures, God says that He loves us with the perfect "agape" love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13, we can be sure that He does so, regardless of our successes and failures. The desire of God's heart is that we all make it to heaven, by choosing to live for Him. The Lord does not look for our mistakes so He can punish us, He prefers to see what we do good, so that we are blessed and that He may even reward us. God's love is for us, not against us.
There are no verses in the Bible that say that every time we sin after we have been born-again, we lose our salvation and need to be reborn again through the Holy Spirit. It is true that when we sin, that we need to sincerely repent, asking God to forgive us, not wanting to repeat it again. The Bible says that we are not only in the hand of Jesus but are also in the hand of our heavenly Father (John 8:28,29). No one can pull us out of their hands, but the Lord does not "force us" to stay there against our will.
Salvation can only be lost by Christians who deliberately choose to renounce the Lord because they want to live a sinful life. Whoever loves sin cannot love God (1 John 2:15). But those who start to love Jesus and want to be right standing with God, no matter how great their addictions are, the Holy Spirit will set them free and give them the power to change and live pure lives for God. The choice belongs to us as long as we live in this body.
The "agape" love of God is the reason why He created man, time, earth and the whole universe. The Lord knew from the beginning how bad the human race could decay because, being outside of time, He saw everything that men would do all throughout history. But precisely because He is love and desires to have “His own special people” in heaven for eternity, He did not change His mind, but made a way for us with His plan of salvation, no matter how personally expensive. How great is the love of God, that He gave His own Son into the hands of His creation to torment, dishonor and even kill Him? Such amazing love has no limits. And this is the kind of love that He has for each one of us and wants each of us to be with Him in heaven, where Jesus went to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).
Hebrews 12:2 ... looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
How could Jesus suffer so much from those He came to save? Jesus looked ahead at the joy of seeing us transformed, happy and fulfilled through the new birth so that we love to praise and worship Him, here and in heaven forever. All this give Him the power to deal with suffering, shame, dishonor and even the most painful way of dying, through crucifixion.
Perhaps it is still hard for you to believe how much God loves you. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts can we receive the revelation of the love of God. And it does not happen at once. For years, our minds have been programmed to perceive human love, which is not a constant feeling. For some people, it's easy to love and believe the best about others. Other people are more reluctant and it is hard for them to open their hearts to someone else, or they "self-educated" themselves, hardening their hearts, having been too wounded by their loved ones in the past and not wanting to hurt and suffer again. For the latter, the process of “deleting the old way of thinking” and “reprogramming the mind and heart” to understand, accept and receive the love of God will take even longer than for others. We need to replace our “wrong way of thinking” and ''value system” with the truth of the Word of God. The article "God's Love - Bible Verses" is a collection of verses that can help you in this process. When we look into the mirror and tell ourselves firmly and repeatedly that "God loves me," and we declare out loud the verses about God's love for us that touch us the most, we start tearing down the lies of the past and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth to us.
If we believe that God only loves us conditionally, depending on how well we behave, then we will treat those around us the same way. If we have not accepted the love of the Lord, then we cannot pass it on. For we cannot give to anyone else what we do not have, our love will be conditional also. However we view God's love for us, will affect how we love and treat others.
The Apostle Paul prayed the following prayer, led by the Holy Spirit for the believers of Ephesus, and that is why this prayer is effective for all people of all the ages.
Ephesians 3:14-16 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man...
Because God is love, we can ask Him to strengthen our inner man by His Holy Spirit. We have access to the power of the Holy Spirit, because He lives in our spirit. The more we have fellowship with Him, the stronger our “heart” or “inner man” will become. The more we surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to occupy more and more of our "heart," the greater our faith will be. The greater the faith, the more Jesus will reign in our lives. Only by doing so can we be rooted in God's love and we will be able to understand it. We cannot receive the love of the Lord unless we understand it. We cannot understand it unless the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. The apostle Paul understood who was (and still is) the source, as we read in Romans 5:5 “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." The Holy Spirit was given to us, and when He came to dwell in us, He came with all the components of His fruit, for the simple reason that His presence produces permanent fruit. Wherever the Holy Spirit is present, there is love, because “… the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ...” (Galatians 5:23).
Ephesians 3:17-19 ... that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Only when we get our strength from God's love for us, are we able to understand its dimensions. Both, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 and Ephesians 3:17-19, tell us about the "agape" love. This kind of love is the most altruistic, pure, dedicated and unconditional form of love which cannot be the product of human emotions, but only the fruit of the Holy Spirit produced in the born-again spirit of the believer. With this kind of love we are called to love God and one another.
It is only after the Holy Spirit begins to reveal God's love, "that surpasses all human understanding," that we can accept it as being for us, and the more it fills us, the more it transforms us.
Only after we receive the love of the Lord can we love others unselfishly and unconditionally. There is no direction where the love of the Lord is limited. We cannot find ourselves in any place or situation where God does not love us. It is wonderful that this is true for all the saints, which are all born-again Christians, "set apart" for the Lord, who love holiness and hate sin. Because God loves us all equally, we can understand the dimensions of His "agape " love, as we love each other in such a way.
The love of God is an unlimited, sacrificial, pure, unrestricted and unconditional love for everyone. This kind of love cannot be understood by the limited human mind and cannot be produced in the "human heart" that can only love subjectively, conditionally and with limitations.
Only after we understand, accept and are filled with the "agape" love, can we be “filled with all the fullness of God." This love gives us the power to get through hard times, continue to obey the Lord, even when we do not like it, love those who are hard to love and live to please God. The joy that has its source in this lifestyle cannot be compared with anything else. The very fact that the Lord has created a way for us to be filled with all His fullness is a great proof of His love and altruism. It demonstrates once again that He always wants what is best for us and His will is the best, no matter what the situation is. How wonderful it is to be sure that we are so loved by the Creator of the whole Universe! The One who can do everything, knows everything and has everything!
We may personalize the prayer of the apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 3:14-21 and pray it for ourselves or loved ones, precisely because, no matter how much we already understand the love of God, there is still something else to discover about it. This is a prayer that can continue to receive response at different times during our lives as we continue to grow in our walk with God.
One of the best examples of the love of God, we find in "the parable of the prodigal son" (Luke 15: 11-32). The younger son showed a lack of love and respect when he asked for the inheritance that he should receive only after his father's death. He further demonstrated how irresponsible he was,"leading a distraught life," and squandering the fortune for which his father had probably worked hard. He did not come to “his senses” until he was forced to work with pigs to survive. Pigs were part of the unclean animals, and they were an abomination to the Hebrews. Humility and lack were hard to endure, but only when he got to his lowest, did he realize how he had ruined his life and that he would be much better off returning to his father as one of his servants. The once arrogant young man, finally realized how much he had wronged his father and did not deserve to be his son anymore.
Luke 15:20-24 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”
The father not only welcomed him, but ran to meet him, hugged and kissed him dearly. Instead of receiving the treatment he deserved, the prodigal son was treated by his father as if he was the best, most loving and obedient son. The father honored him with the best clothes and a royal reception, serving the most delicious foods, as he wanted everybody to rejoice with him because his son who "was dead and now was risen; was lost and now was found."
This is how the Heavenly Father is about all who return to Him. We all have treated God with disrespect, irreverence and wasted the inheritance of eternal life for all the years we lived apart from Jesus. There are not many who repented when everything was going good in their lives. Most people come to the Lord only after they have reached their braking point and were out of solutions. No matter how small or great the sins are of each one of us, we have all sinned, and the most serious sin was that we did not accept the sacrifice of Jesus for us. But when the Holy Spirit convicted us of sin and we understood that we needed a Savior, it was enough to call on Jesus, repent and ask Him to be our Lord, to become born-again. The Lord runs to meet every “prodigal” son who returns "home" and “... there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10).
In His love, the Lord does not look at the disobedience, the rebellion or the gravity of the sins we repent of. God treats everyone of us as a beloved one. This is what He has always done and will continue to do until Jesus returns on the clouds to take us to heaven.
When Jesus became the Lord of our lives, we stopped wandering and found the “way” to true life. Jesus is "the way, the truth, and the life." He is the only way to God the Father (John 14: 6), and when we leave this world behind, we will enter into real life, the eternal life in His presence.
1 John 4:18a There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment...
If we live in obedience to the Lord and wish to please Him, we have nothing to fear about. Jesus says “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). We have no reason to fear men, because if our bodies would be killed, our souls and spirits would simply and instantly be in heaven. The only fear we need is "the fear of the Lord" to keep us on the right path.
God's love for us is unlimited. He loved us so much before we came to Him, that He gave His Son to die in our place. He protected us all our lives, but since we became born-again we can fully benefit of all the blessings and rewards of loving Him. After receiving His love in our hearts, life is way more beautiful. There are so many verses showing the love of the Father for the righteous believer, who seeks to please Him and loves righteousness and truth. Here are just three of them:
Psalms 146:8b ... The Lord loves the righteous...
Psalms 147:11 The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy.
Proverbs 15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves him who follows righteousness.
The Lord is immutable, He never changes. God is love, so His love for us cannot change either. James, led by the Holy Spirit, writes: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17b). God does not love us more when we do everything right and not less when we sin or fail to fulfill His commandments. God knows the end from the beginning and He is not surprised by anything we do, say or think. For us, sometimes serious problems seem to have no solutions, but the Lord sees beyond them and has all the solutions we could ever need. While He is beyond time, the Lord created time for us, as a framework in which we are to prepare where we will spend our eternity. The Lord desires that we will all be with Him forever, but it is up to us to choose to live for Him. Our sins and wrong decisions have consequences and if we do not sincerely repent and ask forgiveness, we can harden our hearts and if we persist in sin, we will stop hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit who is trying to help us repent.
John 15:10-14 “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."
Jesus calls us friends if we do His will. Sincere love urges us to please the person we love. God loves us independently of our momentary desires and wants what is best for us. If the Lord does not fulfill some of our desires, it is precisely because it would hurt us in the long run. We are tempted to measure the love of God based upon His response to our prayers or upon how big or small the problems are that we are going through.
Malachi 3:6a “For I am the Lord, I do not change...”
Romans 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Jude 1:21 ... keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
No one forces us to remain in God's love, but it is for our sake to do all it takes to remain in it. That is the only way we will have the strength and might to live right until the end.
The Bible shows us in several places, how false the concept is that God unconditionally loves sinners, but once we become Christians, if we fail to meet some sort of conditions, He would not love us anymore. Many believe that once we become His children, the Lord starts to treat as harshly, punishing us immediately when we do something wrong, so for sure He does not love us any more and as a result He will stop answering our prayers and blessing us. On the contrary, His love and grace continually meet us wherever we are at and help us as grow and mature in Him.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Apostle John addresses the believers in His epistle, so this verse says that the Lord forgives and cleanses us, His children from all the effects of the committed and confessed sins. When we sin and do not ask for forgiveness, the devil has the right to attack us, but he loses this right for any sin that we have repented of and we strive not to repeat again. In the name of Jesus, we have the authority over all the power of the devil, and we can use it to stop his attacks, if we have not given him the right to hurt us (“Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you." - Luke 10:19).
We are tempted to believe that if God loves us, He should protect us from all suffering, sickness, lack, pain or any kind of attack of the evil one or our fellow men. If this is what we believe about the effects of God's love in our lives, when things are different than what we expected, we may end up believing the devil's lies as being the truth. It is up to us to remain in the love of the Lord, knowing that He promised to save us if we live for Him, but He never said that we will have a life without problems.
The lie that “God does not love us anymore” is another common lie that the enemy uses to trick us. The devil wants us to believe that we suffer and go through troubles because God has rejected us and does not care for us anymore. And if others have done us wrong, the lie is that God loves them more than He loves us and that is why He lets them hurt us. Aren't the lies of the devil absurd? Look how false they are. The truth is that people have free will, and as a result they can make wrong choices and hurt each other, being led by the devil or their own fallen nature. Paul explains why people end up hurting others: "… as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28).
Romans 8:36-37 As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
The Lord does not promise us a life free of worry, trouble or suffering, but that by faith we have His peace and protection to see us through. The devil cannot overcome the Lord and do us more harm than he is allowed to. God uses the hardships we go through to strengthen us in order to fulfill the plan and calling He has for each of us. If we live for Jesus, we will not only survive, but we can enjoy our lives, every day. While we live for Jesus, God works everything for good including every tribulation or pain we go through. If Jesus had to endure rejection, mockery, torment and suffering, why would we think that it would be different for us?
Every person will face the moment of physical death, but not all of us have to fear death. Those who live for Jesus rejoice that the moment they leave these bodies, they will be in the presence of the Lord, in heaven. Even if God is love and loves all men, He is just and cannot tolerate sin forever without punishing it. We are terrified by the calamities and evils that are happening in this world, but if we analyze the sin of most of those disaster areas, we begin to understand why God allows these things to happen. We cannot understand everything, but we know that God has the best plans no matter what we see from our perspective and has good reasons to allow certain things to happen. Sometimes we must suffer for our choices or the choices of others, and sometimes the devil is even allowed to do harm, just like with Job, Paul and many others. The Lord does not change, He has no bad moods and no bad days. He is the same "yesterday, today and forever."
Nothing can compare to the love of God. We were created to love and be loved. Only after we understand who we are in Jesus, can we begin to understand who God is. We need to be restored to become who we were created to be. Everything that needs to be changed in us belongs to the "old man," the fallen nature, because in our spirits "all things have become new." The born-again spirit united with the Holy Spirit is perfect and sinless. When the Lord permits us to go through the hardships caused by the evil one or those around us, He does not love us less, but because He loves us, He uses the situation that the devil planned for our destruction, to strengthen and help us change so we may become more and more like Him.
We will not love what the world has to offer, if we know the love of the Lord and we hunger for more of God. Our God "... has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3). If we lack the passion and hunger for God's Word and have no desire enter in the presence of the Lord, things need to change. It is our duty to seek the Lord after He has revealed Himself to us. We know that "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" and "we will find God if we seek Him with all our heart and with all our soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29). When we pray sincerely and we pour out our hearts to the Lord, He hears us and through the Holy Spirit He revives the passion in our hearts. The Lord is faithful and it is His will for us to be passionate about all that belongs to His Kingdom.
Deuteronomy 8:5 “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the Lord your God chastens you.”
Hebrews 12:4-11 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
The parents who truly love their children are ready to discipline them as often as necessary so that they love and fear the Lord, have integrity, are just and responsible. The human nature is tempted to do exactly the opposite of what is right and good, which is why correction is needed in order to form a beautiful character in every child. That is why God corrects us in love when needed, so we may become more and more like Him.
The love of the Lord comforts and strengthens us. No matter how hard the season is we are in, when we believe without a doubt that God loves us, we know for sure that He will help us no matter what we need and that we will be okay. We are loved by the Almighty God, who created us and the whole Universe!
Psalms 56:8 You number my wanderings; put my tears into Your bottle; are they not in Your book?
John 11:33-36 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, "Where have you laid him?" They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
Matthew 26:37-38 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."
Hebrews 2:17-18 Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.
Jesus suffered as a man while He lived in a human body. He wept, grieved, was afraid, was tempted by the sufferings He had to face, but He never sinned! He is the perfect example for each of us. He understands what we are going through and has mercy on us, not only because He knows all things but also because He knows from His own experience, how hard it is to live in a human body. Jesus was sad and grieved very much for Mary's pain caused by the death of her brother, Lazarus. Our Lord knew He was going to raise him from the dead, and yet He hurt for Mary's suffering. Jesus is always concerned about our pains and tears. He cares for us as we go through hard times and as long as we want to be His, the Lord never leaves nor forsakes us. Jesus suffers with us, when we hurt and He rejoices with us when we are happy. Our Lord is “merciful and faithful" as we read in Hebrews 2:17.
Hebrews 5:7-8 ... who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
No matter how great our pain is, it still cannot compare to what the Son of God suffered to pay for our sins, out of His love for us. Jesus knew that His Father heard His prayers, even though He had not spared Him from the suffering and pain He was subjected from the time He was arrested until He arose. Jesus knew that this was precisely the purpose of His incarnation, as He Himself said: “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour” (John 12:27). For this sacrifice, Jesus lived in a human body for 33 1/2 years, on this earth. Although He daily saw how evil people were and how unfairly and cruelly they treated him, He never changed His mind, but He fulfilled the salvation plan for mankind until the very end.
Luke 22:44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
We know for sure that even for Jesus it was hard to know that He would have to endure so much pain. The Lord was in agony while He prayed to His Father with “vehement cries and tears” in the garden of Gethsemane before being arrested. He wanted to be spared, but He also knew His Father's will, so He ended each of the three prayers correctly, asking that God's will be done. Which is why we know that the Lord understands us when we come before Him with our deepest concerns and even sometimes, unrealistic demands, caused by pain or hurt and not led by the Holy Spirit. It is for our sake to understand that God's will is always the best for us. Prayer strengthens our spirits and helps us face trials more easily, because prayer can change God's permissive will. God is sovereign and omnipotent. He can do whatever He chooses. In His love and mercy, God has given us a powerful tool, which is prayer. When we pray, God will intervene on our behalf, He will change the circumstances, keep us safe and what seemed impossible will become possible, solving our problems.
God is a God of mercy. In His compassion, grace and love, He has chosen to give mercy and spare many people the punishment that should have come upon them as a result of their sins, when they repented sincerely and prayed for forgiveness and mercy. God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and does the same for all of us who live to please Him. The Lord keeps all His promises and is always with us through the Holy Spirit, whose temples we are.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:9-10 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
The unconditional love of God was most clearly revealed to us by all that Jesus did in our behalf. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life. He accepted to die on the cross paying for all the sins of mankind, including ours, as that was the only way for us to be redeemed and live forever with Him in heaven. How great must be such love?
The love of God is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, which comforts and restores us. God anointed Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit and power for His ministry while He walked on the earth (Acts 10:38). Jesus chose to give up His attributes as God, while He lived in the flesh, just to be like us, but He never sinned so He could die in our place. If Jesus needed the anointing of the Holy Spirit, how much more do we need to be baptized, filled and led by the Spirit of the Lord? Only when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, is His fruit manifested in our lives. We can have perfect love only if the Holy Spirit pours it into our hearts.
Romans 5:5b ...because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Maybe you wonder why God allows us to go through hardships and suffering if He loves us so much? Let us remember that man was created with free will, having the freedom to choose. Adam and Eve chose not to obey God's only commandment. There was no evil on the earth before they sinned by eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve did not know what evil was, but after being disobedient, it did not take long until they found out. Since then, mankind lost the dominion over the earth. As a result we also came under the curse of disobedience and its devastating effects have continued to this day.
The devil is the source and author of evil. If we live for the Lord and do what is right, we will reap good and blessed fruits, but if we do evil, we can only expect to reap the fruit of evil, as the next verse says. "... whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." (Galatians 6:7b). It is true that we go through tribulations, even if we seek to do just what pleases God. It is important to know that the devil is the source or all evil, not God. Satan tries to make us doubt God's love and our salvation, so that He can destroy us completely. But the Lord Jesus who is in us is greater than Satan and helps us no matter how serious the problem is. Through Jesus Christ we have authority, and it is up to us to use it. You can read more about what it is and what we have to do in the article: " The Christians's Authority."
God conceived the most perfect plan of salvation, even if it cost Him the life of His own Son. We cannot have greater proof of supreme love than the sacrifice of Jesus. The ultimate goal of all that He did and does for us is that we come to spend eternity with Him in heaven where there is fullness of joy and eternal life. Jesus suffered mockery, false criticism, erroneous comments, terrible physical torment and even the death of crucifixion, fulfilling the prophecies concerning Him, all because of His love for us. Because the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), Jesus chose to die in our place for us to live. If we carefully analyze what is written in the four Gospels, especially in the one by John, about the life that Jesus lived among men, we see that He was constantly rejected and dishonored by His people, and at the end they gave Him to be killed and chose to free a criminal instead. However, Jesus never ceased to love them, not even for a minute.
Did Jesus suffer so much because His Father stopped loving Him? No way!! Did Jesus ever doubt how much His Father loved Him? On the contrary, whenever He had the opportunity He told others that the Father loved Him, was always with Him and that all His ministry was under the leadership of His Father. We live in a world where people, even Christians are tempted by the devil to hurt others. The wrong decisions and the wrong doings of others have negative effects in our lives as well. God does not force anyone to do what is right and neither to live purely. God helps and blesses all of us who want to follow Him and He changes everything that the devil intends for our destruction into something good for us, in the long term.
Mark 10:29-30 So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life.”
Jesus did not promise us a happy, worry-free life here on Earth, but only in heaven. Every true Christian has his share of persecution, as the evil ones around us cannot stand the light in us. For whatever we renounce, in order to follow Jesus, God will reward us one hundred times fold. Then, after we leave this world behind, we will receive eternal life in heaven, of which our limited minds cannot comprehend the magnitude of the rewards and blessings that are waiting for us! Jesus has been there for almost 2000 years and when He left, He said that He will prepare a place for us, so we can be where He is!
Exodus 34:7a “(God is) keeping mercy and loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...”
God loves us and in His grace He forgives our "iniquity and transgression and sin," when we sincerely ask forgiveness for our wrong doings and desire to live for Him. Why would we want to live any other way? What would we gain? We know for sure that if we do otherwise, we lose the protection, help and grace of the Lord; and because by sin we give the devil the right to hurt us, he never misses any chance to do so.
Deuteronomy 6:18 “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land of which the Lord swore to your fathers...”
If If we seek to do what is pleasing before the Lord, we may be happy and we will take possession of all that He has promised us! Hallelujah!
Deuteronomy 7:12-13 “Then it shall come to pass, because you listen to these judgments, and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you the covenant and the mercy which He swore to your fathers. And He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your land, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flock, in the land of which He swore to your fathers to give you.”
1 Samuel 2:9 "He will guard the feet of His saints, but the wicked shall be silent in darkness. For by strength no man shall prevail.”
God teaches us how to live, and if we obey His leading, we may be happy and He will take care of us. We still face trials and the wrong choices of the wicked ones around us will still affect us, but the Holy Spirit, our Comforter, is always with us; we are never alone in the good or bad of life. If we remain in Jesus and He remains in us (John 15:4), through the same Holy Spirit who has raised Him from the dead and who gives us the strength and the might to win every battle.
Psalms 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
The Lord is worthy of all praise, worship and love! We can never praise God too much or more than He deserves! Whatever we go through, let us not forget how much He loves us and praise Him. The peace, joy, blessing, security and hope that come from a thankful and loving heart that glorifies Father God and Jesus Christ, His Son, we cannot get from any other source!
Psalms 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep."
When “we know that we know” that the Lord loves us, nothing seems too difficult for us. If the love of the Lord fills our hearts, we are grateful and rejoice for what we have, instead of being unhappy for what we do not have. It is very important to try to have the right attitude all the time.
Psalms 146:8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
Isaiah 45:4 “For Jacob My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.”
Isaiah 54:8 “With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.”
How much love, mercy, grace and patience does the Heavenly Father has for us! His wrath lasts just for a moment, and His kindness is forever. If He would not treat us this way, whenever we sin before Him, no one would make it to heaven.
Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, nor will My covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord who has compassion on you.”
No matter how difficult the trials we are going through are, we know that nothing can cause God not to love us or break the covenant of peace with us, because the Lord is faithful and has mercy on us when we sin and ask Him to forgive us.
Isaiah 63:7 I will mention the loving kindnesses of the Lord and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His loving kindnesses.
When we go through difficulties, proclaiming the mercies and wonderful works the Lord has done for us, we remember how He has already worked in our lives and we have the strength to go forward! Let us also tell others of how great the Lord's grace and mercy are, not only for Israel but also for us, who have been adopted into the Lord's family by faith in Jesus Christ!
Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction He was afflicted and the angel of His presence saved them; in His love and in His mercy He redeemed them and He lifted them and carried them all the days of old.
Jeremiah 31:3 The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.”
God's love for us is endless and so is His loving kindness. Day after day we see in all of His creation around us, how kind and loving our Lord is.
Zephaniah 3:17 The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
To know that the Lord rejoices over us with great joy, is more than we can dream. But there is more! He is always there for us, to help us in times of need or trouble, and because He loves us so much, His joy is the greatest when we spend time with Him, loving Him, praising Him and glorifying His Holy Name! How much more do we desire to come into the presence of the Lord, if we know that He enjoys to be with us so much!
John 14:21 "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
John 14:23 Jesus answered and said 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 home with him."
It is not enough to just say that we love God. Our love for God is shown by our lifestyle, it is heard in the tone of our voices and revealed by our words and actions. Our hearts long to please the person we love. Our love for God is sincere, when we live to please Him. Then, He comes to dwell in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. God does not leave us alone not even for a moment, not even in the toughest tribulations and trials! Thank you, Lord Jesus!
John 15:9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love."
To be able to love like Jesus, we must remain in Him, have fellowship with Him and follow His directions. Only by the power and fruit of the Holy Spirit can we love with the "agape" love and obey the will of the Lord.
John 16:27 "... for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God."
John 17:23, 26 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me ... And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Do we really understand what Jesus says in the above verses? If we love Jesus, the Father loves us the way He loved Jesus, so the same love the Father has for Jesus may be within us! What a powerful prayer! How could we ever doubt the love of God?
1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
When the love of the Father is in us, we can only love Him too. And if we love the everlasting and holy God, we can no longer love this wicked and fallen world. What we love attracts us and occupies our minds and hearts, it dictates what we are interested in and if that is not God, it leaves no room for the devoted love that the Lord desires from us.
1 John 3:1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
God gives us the greatest honor by calling us His children. What could be more wonderful than being the child of the Creator and Master of the whole Universe? We should not expect that the people in the world would appreciate or understand our relationship with the Lord and the identity we have in Jesus. And because He calls us His children, we know that we are His own, and He loves us without limits.
1 John 4:16-19 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this:that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.
To be able to remain in the love of the Lord, we must understand it and believe it is for us. Once we have received His love, we have received God in our hearts and He will not depart from us. Only we may leave Him. When God dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, in our spirit, we are like Him, and His love is perfect in us. This is the assurance we have that we will not be condemned in the day of judgment, so we have nothing to fear. We become more and more like Jesus as we grow in obedience to the guidance of the Holy Spirit (You can read more in the article: "Hearing God's Voice"). Only by doing so may we become “perfect in love” and be able to fulfill the plan of God for our lives. God is the One who initiated the relationship of love with us, and we can do nothing else but give Him back from the love He poured into our hearts.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
If we love and obey God, He makes all things to work together for our sake. Whatever the devil intends to use for our destruction, the Lord is changing for our good. God sees the overall picture and all the implications of the situations we are going through. He knows what good may come out of any attack, no matter what the situation is. Our faith, strength and patience are increased, through every trial that we face by remaining in God's love. We also end up by having more mercy and grace for those who go through difficulties; we learn to be more responsible and become more aware of the power of prayer and the benefits of living to please God, in daily fellowship with Him.
Romans 8:31b-34 ... If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
Because we have God on our side, no one can stand against us. Because God has redeemed us with the highest price possible, the life of His Son, we can be sure that He will give us everything He knows we need, He never leaves us or forsakes us. The blood of Jesus Christ that He shed for us on the cross, cancels any accusations that might be brought against us for the sins we have been forgiven of. Jesus not only died, paying for our sins, but He has also risen and continues to intercede for us, defending our cause before the throne of God. The devil is our "accuser" before God and forgets no sin we commit (Revelation 12:10). When we sincerely ask forgiveness, any accusation becomes null and Satan loses the right to hurt us, as punishment for the sin we committed. The devil attacks us even when he has no right to do it, so we can be sure he would not miss any chance we give him. It is for our sake to pay attention to the voice of the Holy Spirit that warns us when we are about to sin, and convicts us when we do, helping us to repent quickly.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:“For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
No external factor, no human or spiritual being, have the power to pull us out of the hand of Jesus or the heavenly Father's. Nothing and nobody can separate us from the love of God. We belong to the Lord, He loves us and through Him we are more than conquerors, no matter what comes against us or whatever obstacles would be ahead of us. We know that in war, victories come with costs and casualties, but with Jesus, the victory is total, with no additional costs. When we go to our real home, in heaven, we will leave behind this body in which we carry the "scars" of the wars we have fought in this world, and everything will be new and perfect for us forever! Only we ourselves can decide to leave the Lord and separate us from His love. If we believe the lying thoughts that the devil places in our minds, as being the truth or fall in the trap of the accusations for the sins from our past that he comes up with, we may start to doubt the love of God and end up forsaking the Lord. That is why it is so important to know the Word of God and to fight against the lies with the truth. If we love God and sincerely seek to please Him, the Lord will give us all the strength we need to remain in His hand (You can read more in the article "Authority and Spiritual Warfare").
Each of us are a unique creation of God. We react differently to what is happening to us, live different experiences, and even with the same ones we perceive them differently. God knows us very well, He knows everything about us, and in His love He helps us to grow in His knowledge and in keeping His commandments. It is precisely because we are each so different, that we cannot all think and believe alike and inevitably, contradictory discussions take place.
The beauty of love is the tolerance and indulgence that lead to the unity of the body of Christ. God knows our hearts, our pasts as well as the other factors that have led to what we believe or the way we behave. He knows that in each of us, under the "rough, unpolished edges” is a diamond of great value. Jesus lives in us and as the trials and sufferings "polish us”, we grow spiritually and become more beautiful. God is not pleased to see us suffer, but He loves us too much to leave us "unpolished". We cannot get to heaven in the "rough" state we are at when we are born-again. We have to change from focusing on ourselves, our own lusts and plans into becoming unselfish, seeking God's will and wanting what He wants for us. The process by which we are transformed through the “renewing our minds" is long lasting and indispensable to the victory in our Christian walk.
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
The apostle Paul expresses very well the transformation of a true Christian. Once we are born-again, we must crucify our old nature daily die to self, so that Jesus can occupy us more and more as we decrease, He increases. Jesus cannot be seen in us, by others, when we are driven by our own minds, lusts and emotions and not by the Holy Spirit. We need to live through faith in Jesus who truly and deeply loves us.
Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
There is enormous evidence of God's love and faithfulness for us in the Bible and as we see in everyday life. The character of God urges us to repentance and obedience. After learning how wonderful the Lord is, how could we despise all that He has done and continues to do for us, or wish to live otherwise, than for Jesus?
Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...
The Lord teaches us not to worry, but to be confident that He will do all that is best for us because He loves us. The sooner we learn to let the "old man" die, the sooner we will begin to live in the peace of Jesus and in the safety that the Lord has for us. If we pay close attention to the thoughts that cross through our minds and we stop any thought that brings us sadness or that causes us to feel defeated or overwhelmed, we spare ourselves of many sufferings and we will change our old ways of thinking faster. We can "reprogram" our brains to think according to the standard of the Bible and not according to the culture of the day we live in, by studying the Scriptures seriously and meditating on them asking the Holy Spirit to help us understand and apply them in our everyday lives.
When we know that Jesus is in us and we are in Him (John 15:4), we have the certainty that nothing can happen to us against His will, and whatever the enemy is trying to do against us, the Lord will change for our good, if we love and live for Him (Romans 8:28).
Our strength does not come from the circumstances or from what others do; the Holy Spirit who lives in us is our power. This power increases as we spend more time in the presence of the Lord. The more we love the Lord, the more we want of Him and seek to please Him, so we get more of His holiness. which will make us more and more like Jesus. We are not sanctified by the deeds we do, but by spending time in the presence of the Lord, which transforms us as we grow in the holiness of the Lord. As spending time with certain people causes us to imitate their behavior, vocabulary and gestures unintentionally, it happens the same way in our fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Once we become born-again, we then have in our spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, but for it to manifest in our behavior, thoughts and emotions, we need to spend time with the Holy Spirit, asking Him to come and teach us all the truth, helping us change and to advise us in the decisions we have to make.
To be able to stop whatever bad comes our way that would steal our peace, we must look to Jesus and all that the Bible says about His love for us, and truly believe that the promises of Scripture are true for us. If we live anchored in the truth of God's Word, the Lord will carry us over the problems we are going through so that we can have the right perspective with each situation. Because we are limited as long as we live in this human body, we cannot understand the overall picture with all the implications of the unpleasant situation we are going through. Because we live in interdependence with our other fellow men, and each person has the freedom of choice and decision, we do harm to one another, voluntarily or involuntarily. Unfortunately, many people live without worrying how much hurt they cause others. For Christians, the good news is that the Lord is preparing for us the right measure of grace and anointing of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us with in order to be able to deal with every trial. For any situation and temptation, God has prepared a way of escape for us.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
When we were seeking to understand the love of God more deeply, the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ encouraged us, through the Holy Spirit with the following message, which is true for all devout Christians.
"My beloved children, I can lift you up to where you will have the right perspective of everything that's going on; when you see the problems from above, you will be able to have the mind and the heart united with My Spirit, and you will be able to think in such a manner that the enemy will not be able to steal your peace anymore and you will no longer be afraid, worried or desperate because in My Son you are more than conquerors. I have already done everything that was needed to be done for you."
"My desire is to bring you into My presence because it is not my purpose for you to suffer. I want you to remember that you are seated in Me in the heavenly places. Through Me, you can see all things from above, as being under you. When you see them from above, they seem much smaller, less important and devoid of the power to hurt you. From above, the perspective is much broader, and from that position you will be able to understand what good things will come out of the experience you are going through, in what direction you are going and how I transform everything that the devil tries to use to destroy you, into something good for your future."
"My purpose is for you to be with Me forever, in complete happiness and peace. All of this I have already prepared for you here in heaven and in Me, you are already seated here, on the position of victory, leadership, supremacy and dominion, because through Me I have given you authority over all the power of the devil, over all his evil spirits and nothing can hurt you. Whatever methods or tactics the devil uses, he cannot defeat you, because I am in you and I am much greater, and my power is far superior to any power not only on earth but in the whole universe. There is nothing above My power. There is nothing greater than Me, for I and the Father are one and we have chosen to dwell in you through the Holy Spirit."
"I have chosen you to be with Me for eternity, to be My children, full of power. In Me you are wonderful, perfect and victorious. I am your heavenly Father and I am looking at you through My Son, Jesus Christ, who is in you and died in your place, because of how much we love you. Do you understand how great our love for you is? No pain and no cost seemed too great to have you with us, in heaven, for eternity! Come to Me, I do not want you to feel alone or abandoned, not even for a moment. I am with you, I am in you, you are never alone, not even for a second and I care for you. I am the source of everything you need. Because you love Me, because You have chosen Me, because you want to be My children and you know the power of My Name, I protect you, I take care of you and honor you because you abide in Me and I abide in you. Be My light in this world, and rejoice in Me, My beloved children.”