People often approach me before or after a service at Cross Community Church and ask, “What do I need to do to experience more of God’s love in my life?” To which I respond, “Nothing! It’s not what you must do; it’s a matter of what you must believe.” What you believe in your heart about God’s love for you and the unchanging status He has granted you as a member of His royal family will determine, to an altogether unimaginable extent, the amount of love and grace you experience in your daily life!
Bryan Chapell puts it this way:
Many people feel that the means of grace (prayer, Bible study, church attendance, etc.) are the instruments by which we secure God’s love on a daily basis. In our humanity it is natural to think in terms of such a barter system of love, but such thinking creates the impression that these Christian disciplines are not means of grace but means to grace. We reason, as a consequence, that practicing more of the means of grace will cause God to love us more and, thus, the more we do them the more of his love we will get. Conversely we reason that we will have less love by not adequately pursuing these practices. We damage ourselves and our spiritual walk with God by reasoning that practices even as noble as the means of grace will gain us more of God’s affection. We will inevitably be forced to ask, “How much more must I do to earn his love?” And of course, the answer will not be pleasant.
You and I must constantly remind ourselves that God has given us His means of grace, not as a way of gaining His love and approval, but simply as a way of experiencing the love and approval we already have in Christ. There is no need to strive for God’s affection because we already have all of God’s affection, thanks to our relationship with His beloved Son—a relationship that is established wholly by God’s grace and apprehended solely through faith.
The way we experience more of God’s love is by keeping in view the love we have already received, which was purchased for us on the cross . . . paid for in full by the blood of the Lamb of God. From the moment we put our trust in Jesus’ sacrificial death on our behalf, God loved us completely. To be completely accurate, God bestowed His love on us before the creation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). He cannot love us any more than He has from all eternity, and He will not love us any less. We are completely and unconditionally loved. The more we marinate in this truth . . . the more we meditate on this truth . . . the more we will experience the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).
God’s love for you is as unconditional as it is undeserved. In your disobedience you are loved. In your weakness you are loved. In your self-centeredness you are loved. In your unbelief you are loved. In every moment that you are unlovable you are still unconditionally loved. If you’re a regular attender at the Cross, you’ve probably heard me exclaim, “If that doesn’t light your fire, your wood’s wet!”
God’s love for us is not based on our performance, but rather on our position in His beloved Son. And that position, dear reader, never changes, for “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29). Let that truth increase your experience of God’s love today and every day—until that day when you are received into your eternal glory.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!