Loving Others as God Loves Us

“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 2:4-5)

It is because God is merciful and full of grace that we have been saved. Our pride might like to point to something within us that deserves God’s mercy. But if that were the case, it wouldn’t be mercy—it would be just the opposite; it would be an obligation we place on God. 

God is bound only by the nature of His character and by His promises, which flow out His character. Of course, one of His attributes is His perfect justice. A just God will not allow sin to go unpunished, and the punishment for sin is death. Man’s dilemma is twofold. First, everyone has sinned (Romans 3:23); and secondly, the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23). Apart from God’s gracious nature toward the people who are subjects of His mercy, there would be only eternal punishment—a just reward for our rebellion against Him. 

The redemptive work of God shows forth both in God’s righteous judgment toward sinners and His mercy and grace toward those He chooses to save through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. In other words, every person either receives God’s just judgment, which they deserve, or God’s mercy and grace, which they don’t. This is the nature of God’s love. He loves even His enemies.

“But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22)

Since God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us (Romans 5:5), God calls His people to love others, even their enemies, in the same way He loves. 

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Unregenerate sinners love in self-centered ways. Their love is conditioned on what they expect to get in return. It is by nature conditional. They will love those who love them, but they cannot truly love without any expectation of self-gratification. It’s the way of the godless world. 

When you love others in an unnatural, God-centered way, the world takes notice. They’ll know there’s something surprisingly different about you, and they’ll be more receptive to hearing the unnatural and humbling gospel message that you share with them. 

By Jim Connell

Jim and his wife, Becky, moved from Indiana to Lexington to establish the Lexington Rescue Mission. They have two married children, Laura and Brian.

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