Some people think that God only loves Christians.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
It says that God demonstrated His love towards us, in that while we were STILL SINNERS, Jesus died for us. See, He didn’t die for good people, He died for bad people. That’s how much He loves us! This is the kind of love that will endure ANYTHING for the sake of the Beloved.
Most of us do not really have a concept of that kind of love, because it goes deeper than the love most of us have ever experienced. The closest thing that can come to it is the kind of love you have for your children. If you saw one of them in trouble, or being hurt, something supernatural comes over you.
I read a story, I believe it was in Reader’s Digest, of a child that had been hit by a car while riding his bicycle, and was trapped under the wheel of the car. His mother came up and heard her child’s screams, and like something possessed, without stopping to think about it, she ran over and lifted that car right up off the ground with her bare hands, and the people pulled the child out from under it, and he was fine. Now you can’t explain that except in terms of a mother’s love for her children giving her superhuman strength.
Even in the animal kingdom you better not get between a she-bear and her baby cubs. She will rip you to pieces. Same thing with your kids. You would gladly die in their place if it would save them. You could walk through fire if that’s what it took. And even those examples are poor compared to the love that God has for His creation. He has done all of that and more for everybody.
See, Jesus doesn’t just love good people. In fact, He tells us not just to love our neighbors, but He says love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good for those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you. Now that’s not easy!
But you see, Jesus never told us to do anything that He wasn’t already doing Himself. He is no hypocrite. And when He tells us to love our enemies, and bless the ones who curse you, and do good for those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you, He’s telling us that this is the way God is. If you behave like this you’ll be just like God, because that’s how deep His love is. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it?
But He illustrates it for us (and I’m referring to Matthew 6). He says that when God causes the sun to shine, He makes it shine on the good and the bad alike. The sun doesn’t just shine on good people. And when God sends the rain to refresh and replenish the earth, He doesn’t just give the good people rain, He lets it rain on the just and on the unjust.
In Luke 18 Jesus is speaking to a rich young ruler. And this ruler is trying to decide if He wants to be a disciple of Jesus or not. Jesus tells this young man to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. Well, sad to say, this young man declined. He had great possessions, and he wasn’t ready to take up the Cross and follow Jesus.
Well, that is sad, and Jesus watched him go. But do you know what else it says? It says that Jesus loved him. Jesus loved him! Even though he didn’t do what Jesus said! Even though he walked away from the Lord and went in the opposite direction! Jesus loved him. If you’re like the rich young ruler, Jesus loves you too, even if you aren’t following Him
Or, look at the story of the prodigal son. The son asks for his inheritance early, and leaves his father to go to another country, where he wastes the inheritance. Then a famine comes, and the son is bankrupt, and takes a job feeding pigs, but is so poor he has nothing to eat. Finally he wakes up and realizes what he has done. He thinks to himself, I’ll go back home and tell my father, “I’ve sinned against heaven and against you, and I’m not worthy to be called your son. Please take me in as one of the servants.” He’s been broken, and his expectations are really, really low
What happens? He goes back, and his father sees him from a long way off, and has compassion on him, and runs out to meet him, and hugs and cries over him, and tells the servants, bring the best robe, and shoes for his feet, and a ring for his finger! Kill the fatted calf and let’s have a party! THIS IS MY SON! He was lost, but now he is found! He was dead, but now he’s alive!
Well, that’s something of the Father’s love for you. I don’t care what you’ve done, or what you’ve failed to do, you cannot sin your way out of the love of God. LOVE is one of the founding principles of the Kingdom of God. God IS love, and Jesus said His disciples will be known for the LOVE that they demonstrate to one another. That’s a huge principle in the Kingdom of God.