It’s probably a bit presumptuous for any of us to say, “I know God loves me.” That’s because we typically tend to consider love as something earned or given only to those worthy of it. Thankfully, God doesn’t love this way. He has shown His love to us in many ways because He wants us to know His love and not to doubt. There are many reasons we can trust that God’s love for us is true, even if sometimes we don’t feel like it. Here are the top 10 reasons you can know that God loves you.
#10: God doesn’t hate you.
It’s often difficult for us to think God completely loves us without hesitation because we know we’ve done some awful things and that we’ll probably do some more bad things before long. We know we have wicked thoughts at times and we realize even our apparent good deeds are often linked to selfish motivations. How do we believe God loves us when we know what we are often like?
Well, the trick doesn’t lie with our behavior. The answer is found in understanding the character of God. Fortunately for us, He is either for us or against us. Either He shows favor or He doesn’t. He hates or He loves. There is no grey, convoluted mass of uncertainty with God. As Paul explains, His intentions are perfect, “Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy,” (Romans 9:13-16).
If we have trouble wrapping our brain around God’s overwhelming love, at least we should believe that God doesn’t hate us, if only at a cognitive level. We don’t always feel His love, but we see His loving acts in our lives often enough to know he doesn’t despise us.
Humility is a good thing especially before God but we should be careful not to take it too far. As the Psalmist says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise,” (Psalm 51:17), and again, “He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea” (Psalm 102:17). You know in your heart He doesn’t despise you either.
#9: God loves Jesus.
There’s a strong bond between us and God because of the union between Jesus and the Father. It’s not like the way we often feel forced to love someone due to their relationship with a friend or family member. God loves Jesus a great deal, “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands,” (John 3:35). It’s an extremely powerful statement when Jesus later tells us, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9). In fact, there could not be any stronger expression of love by Jesus, “that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). We are God’s close friends because we are intimate friends with Jesus due to His voluntary death which made us so.
#8: You can’t earn it.
We are saved by grace alone. Paul says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). How this demonstrates that God loves us may not be entirely obvious, but it’s really quite simple.
There are many ways to express our insufficiency. We could say that there’s no way we could ever bridge the enormous chasm which exists between us and God, or that His holiness is a brilliant diamond against the dark, velvet backdrop of our sin, or that He is a bright light and we are darkness, or that He is life and we are spiritually dead in our sin. The comparisons go on and on, but no matter how our lack of ability or unworthiness is described, one fact remains: we have God’s favor. What we could have never obtained on our own has been lovingly given to us, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). We could have never become good enough to have a place at His table, but because it is His desire, we are loved as much as His own Son, Jesus. That’s much better than earning our own keep!
#7: God’s no phony!
Notice the sincerity as God talks about His people: “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master,’…I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the LORD… I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God’” (Hosea 2:16, 19, 20, 23).
The extent God goes to in order to express His love for His church is remarkable. We’d probably never cognitively think that God would lie or fake such strong emotion, but we are so used to deceit in each other that we sometimes attribute these flawed, sinful behaviors to our loving Father. Throughout the Bible, God often uses the strongest image we can grasp—the intimate bond of marriage—in order to communicate His great love for us. Ask any wife if a husband can fake that? God is nothing but sincere when He talks to us this way. Go ahead, let your guard down. You can believe Him!
#6: God said so.
Many of the most brilliant minds in history, along with the most meticulous of biblical scholars, after having devoted much of their lives wrestling with God’s revealed Word attempting to mine out His truths, come to the same conclusion Karl Barth did in 1962 when asked how he would summarize all that he had previously written on theology. His answer was, “Jesus love me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Yes, it seems childish and just too simple for us. But we know the kingdom of God belongs to those with a such a childlike faith, (Mark 10:14, 15), and if we can read the Bible and not come away with the understanding that all those pages were written out of an unimaginable love directed toward them, we just weren’t paying attention.
John tells us why he wrote a good portion of the New Testament, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). After John had been personally shown so much love by Jesus, he wasn’t writing only to give others peace of mind. What is eternal life if it isn’t eternal love from the only One Who really knows how to love? Clearly the Bible is God’s message of love to us all. His love powerfully changes hearts and lives. It’s so pure and forceful that it demands a humble response. Those who experience His love are never the same again.
#5: It has always been God’s plan to love you.
Much has happened since the first humans disobeyed God and tainted our universe with sin. Consequently many of the big events in our history have been horrible, at least those are the ones we remember. When we think about all the bad things, like a world-wide flood, countless bloody battles, civil wars, world wars, and repeated attempts at genocide—obviously I’m only scratching the surface, but you get the picture.
In the midst of these evil events, it’s easy to think things have spun out of the control of God. But then we remember that immediately after sin entered the world, God clearly communicated that He would weave mankind’s sin into His grand plan.
Speaking to the snake, who was the devil and the catalyst for the most insane rebellion of all time, God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This statement prophesied when Christ, Eve’s ultimate offspring, would unleash the final blow on the devil and his plans to destroy God’s pinnacle of creation. Satan would only be allowed to inflict the damage God permits. God has always, and will continue to frustrate His enemies by turning their evil into good while saving His own eternally out of the jaws of imminent physical destruction.
Nothing takes God by surprise. Our selfishness and sin become part of a spiritual, romantic comedy happily ending with the reunion of two lovers. Nothing can separate us from the love He has determined to show us. Paul puts it beautifully, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).
#4: God has a short memory for some things.
We are good at remembering our past failures. Fortunately for us, God doesn’t continue to punish us, because He did that once and for all when Jesus was nailed to a cross. God says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more,” (Isaiah 43:25). Of course, God’s primary concern is His glory, but He doesn’t remove our sin only for His own sake. He does it out of an intense love for us, as well. The Psalmist explains, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him,” (Psalm 103:11-13).
Even though we remember the pain of our sin, and we cringe at the damage we’ve done to others in the past, unlike us, God doesn’t keep record against us. No, instead He remembers nothing bad about us. He counts no strike against us…ever. He sees no blemish on us of any kind. He sees only the righteousness of Jesus when He looks at us and so, He loves us without reservation. He sets no condition to His offer of love because we believe in His Son. Forget about your past sin—God has!
#3: God continues to say so, repeatedly!
(Okay, so we already used this as a reason previously, but just like the Bible handles important matters, this is worth repeating.)
I’m sure someone somewhere has counted the times God conveys His love for His children in Scripture. All I know is that it happens too many times to measure. From the first page to the last, it’s clear that God wants the world to know His intent: to glorify Himself and to love His people.
When we stop to think about everything that’s happened in the history of mankind’s redemption, it’s even more amazing when we realize it was done in an effort to reach us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16, 17).
When God says something over and over to us, not only in His Word, but every day through His Spirit, in His creation, and by divinely interrupting our lives, He wants to make sure we believe it. We can trust God because He is Love and, “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).
How would your life be different if you believed without a doubt that God’s love and favor rests on you never to be taken away? It’s true. Keep reading His Word until all doubt is melted away. Then, go live as one deeply and forever loved by God.
#2: He adopted you.
A father once asked his little girl, “If I was somehow able to go through all the little girls in the entire world and pick out just one to be my very own, do you know who I would pick?”
“No, Daddy, who?” was the girls honest reply.
“I would pick you!”
What a summary of adoption: a parent chooses to love a child because they want to do so. There’s no previous obligation to that child, but only a voluntary entrance into a loving relationship. In a similar way, we have been brought into God’s family—not by birth for we had no rights—but because He wanted to show love to us, “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” (Ephesians 1:5).
Of course, a good father naturally loves those who are born to him, but to decide to love someone without a prior obligation of any kind is very powerful form of love. God is not obligated to love us or to make us part of His family, “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4). We were not only undeserving of His love and namesake, but we were as good as dead. Yet, He did as He decided to do before the foundations of the earth were laid. He adopted us and made us heirs with His own Son, Jesus Christ. Now that’s love!
…and the number one reason you know that God loves you is: He chose to love you.
This is a kindred idea to the concept of adoption. In fact, it’s covered together with adoption in the passage above, “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Ephesians 1:4). There’s a reason for God to make us holy and blameless. It wasn’t only because we were made helpless by sin—if you call being dead helpless. His purpose was also to make us objects of His love, not wrath. Just as the disciples of Jesus were unable to choose the right path, God doesn’t leave us to inevitably choose destruction, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16).
Speaking of knowing that God loves you, Paul said of the believers at Thessalonica, “For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1:4). And Peter says even more about the elect who were scattered across many regions, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Peter 2: 9, 10).
We know that God loves us for many reasons, but primarily because it was His desire. There was nothing within us which forced Him to love us. He was not remotely attracted us. He loves us because He wants to love us. Who knows why? Don’t try to figure it out. Just trust His word and His powerful love for you which will not be denied.