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He Loved Me Then, He Definitely Loves Me Now!

Most Christians struggle with whether God really loves them, especially after they have sinned and failed. It’s important to understand that the Bible clearly teaches that God’s love is beyond ourselves, our performance, our righteousness — even our existence.

Have you noticed that some of the Bible’s greatest passages on the love of God express it in the past tense?

John 3:16 (NKJV)

[16] “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:6-8 (NKJV)

[6] For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.[7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.[8] But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:37 (NKJV)

[37] Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

1 John 3:1-2a (NKJV)

[3:1] Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.[2] Beloved, now we are children of God…

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NASB) speaks of our desperate, awful and dead lives before salvation:

[2:1] And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, [2] in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. [3] Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Then there’s the intervention of God’s amazing love in verse 4:

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), [6] and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

The past tense expression of these peak biblical verses of the love of God in no way casts a doubt on the present and future love of God toward us. To the contrary, it obliterates all doubt of His love. And gives us perfect assurance of His steadfast, unfailing and forever love. Why? Because if He loved us then as miserable, wretched, selfish, god-hating sinners, He certainly loves us now as His beloved saints and children!

So when did this love for us begin?

After we asked for forgiveness? No.

After we repented? No.

After we were born again? No?

After the cross? No.

After the resurrection? No.

After Jesus was born? No.

Check out 2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV):

[9] who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began

If God the Father loved us before time even began, then certainly He loves us now. Yes, even after we sinned. His love is perfect, steadfast and unfailing.

There is a powerful Hebrew word that reflects this dimension of God’s infinite, amazing love: hesed. English translators have rendered it as “steadfast love” or “unfailing love”. Vines Expository Dictionary offers this enlightening insight:

In general, one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: “strength,” “steadfastness,” and “love.” Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. “Love” by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet “strength” or “steadfastness” suggests only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation.

God’s love for you is rooted in the eternality of His being. He has always been and always will be. He loved you from eternity past. He even gave you grace before time began. He certainly loves you now and forever.

After all, how can anyone improve on perfect? Perfect love. Now and always. Not because of you. But because of God Himself.

And that is how He is glorified most!