Let’s face it, even the strongest legalists believe in God’s love. They just don’t think He loves you or me. 🙂 And they aren’t too sure of His love for them. In their minds, we would have to keep the Law perfectly so that we could deserve God’s love. If we were able to do that, then God would notice us and appreciate us.
There are many problems with that idea. Here are a couple. What about the sins I did before I even knew Jesus? How can I undo those? Well, the legalist suggests that those are the sins Jesus died for. Now, after salvation, we are responsible to live perfectly.
Okay, what if I haven’t done that? What if I have sinned (just like everyone else) even after salvation? This is much harder for the legalist to answer. Some suggest that those are covered when you confess and repent. Some say that those sins have to be worked off with good works. Some even say that those sins might just disqualify me from Heaven and, since I don’t know for sure, I had better be real careful from now on.
In other words, they believe that God is still angry about my sins and will punish me if I don’t perform according to the formula. (Of course, the formula is a little different depending on which group you are in.) And then they add the bit about God loving me.
When someone tells you what you have to do to earn the love of someone else, don’t you wonder whether it will really be love?
Yes, God hates sin. He hates sin because He loves us and sin hurts us. But he doesn’t hate us. He loves us.
God’s love for you is a gift. It comes from His heart. It is all about you, but you didn’t earn it or deserve it. He just loves you.