In their classic 1962 hit, “Do You Love Me?,” The Contours posed a question we’ve all asked. And while they weren’t asking this of God, and while their contingency was, “Do you love me now that I can dance?” we do sometimes ask it of God, don’t we? When we do, the answer we arrive at, and the reasons behind that answer, take on a significance that is of the utmost importance for our lives in Christ.
There are numerous places in the Bible where God explains to us why He loves us. Two of the most famous (in my mind) are in Deuteronomy 4:37 and Ephesians 1:5-6. Deuteronomy 4:37 says, “Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them.” Ephesians 1:5-6 says, “He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” As I heard one theologian explain it, the reason God loves us is because He loves us. He made a free will choice to love us before we could have done anything to make ourselves worthy OR unworthy of it. (Side note: as the father of adopted children, I get it. My wife and I made a decision that we loved our kids before we even saw them and before they did anything. Nobody forced us to love them, no one coerced us. As it was with us, so it is with God.)
When we ask God the question, “Do you love me?”, his answer back is always an enthusiastic “Yes!!!” And if you were to press him and ask, “Well, why?” his response would be, “Because I decided to, that’s why!” What a reality! God loves you because he decided to. It was his choice. No manipulating, no arm twisting. Just him freely doing what was in his heart to do! And get this, he promises to always love you! Jeremiah 31:3 says, “The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’ ”
In John 15:9 it’s this kind of love that Jesus calls us to abide in, to live in, to dwell in, to make our home in. I don’t want to repeat myself too much, but it’s a love that we can’t earn, don’t have to earn, can’t lose, and won’t lose. It’s the safest love, from the safest Person, that we will ever experience. For a love-starved world, this verse and the reality it describes is a breath of fresh air! For Christians struggling with doubts of their own lovability, it’s like a cold drink of water on a hot summer day. And for people prone to legalism and earning love, it’s an important word of correction and hope.
The Father loves the Son, the Son loves you. Freely. He always has and he always will. Make your home in that love today! You’ll be glad you did.
I’ll see you along the way,
Connection and Growth Pastor