Tough Questions with RC Sproul - Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Why does God love us so much?
That's one of the most difficult questions to answer if we think of it from God's perspective.
Here we are, his creatures who have been made in his image with the responsibility of mirroring and reflecting his glory and his righteousness to the whole world. We have disobeyed him countless times in every place and in every way. In so doing we have misrepresented his character to the whole universe. The Bible tells us that nature itself groans in travail, waiting for the day of the redemption of mankind, because nature suffers under our unrighteousness (Rom. 8:22).
When we think of how disobedient and hostile we've been toward God, we wonder what it is that would provoke him to love us so much. In Romans 5:7, when Paul is astonished by the love of Christ that was manifested in his death, he says, "Scarcely for a righteous man will one lay down his life, but imagine one who is perfect laying down his life for those who are not perfect and praying for those who are in the very act of killing him." That's the kind of love that transcends anything we have been able to experience in this world. I guess the only thing I can conclude is that it is the nature of God to be loving. This is part of his internal and eternal character.
The New Testament says that God is love. That can be one of the most misunderstood verses in the Scripture. We remember a few years ago when it was fashionable to say that "happiness is a warm puppy." We had these brief definitions of what happiness was, and the same thing was applied to love—"Love means never having to say you're sorry," etc.—and we're all very interested in what is involved in the whole act of loving.
But when the Bible says God is love, that statement is not what we would call an analytical statement whereby we can reverse the subject and predicate, and say that therefore love is God. That's not what the Bible means. Rather, what the Jewish form of expression says here is that God is so loving and his love is so consistent, so profound, so deep, so transcendent, and such an integral part of his character that to express it in the maximum way possible, we say that he is love. That is simply saying that God is the ultimate standard of love.