I heard a pastor of a large church tell his congregation, “God hates you, God is sick of you, God is frustrated with you, God is weary of you.” And why is God in such a dark mood? Because of our sin and apathy. Jesus went through hell for us, but we can’t even show up to church on time.
I wish sermons like this were rare, but they are not. Religious manipulators love to frighten those Christ died for because those who are afraid are easier to control.
The truth is God loves you like crazy.
He loves you when you’re up and he loves you when you’re down. He loves you when you get it right and he loves you when you get it wrong. Whether you’re preaching condemnation from the pulpit or receiving it in the pew, he loves you.
“But Paul, does he love me when I sin?”
Aren’t you listening? Haven’t you seen the cross?
The proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8, Phillips)
You need to settle this in your heart. God loves you. Period. Whether you’re in the zone or the gutter, the one constant you can count on is your Father’s unwavering love for you.
1 Corinthians 13 gives one of the best descriptions of God’s love.
Love endures long and is patient and kind … it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. (1 Corinthians 13:4,7–8, AMP)
The love of men is frail and weak but your Father’s love endures forever (Psalm 136). The real question is not whether God will always love you but whether you know and enjoy his love.
Every one of us needs our Father’s hugs. Every one of us needs a home where we are loved for who we are. If you have not found a home in your Father’s embrace, your legitimate desire for love and acceptance will lead you to inferior sources, like dead religion.
The strange thing about that “God hates you” sermon was that it came packaged as a message of love. “God loves you, but he hates you.” Why do people listen to such nonsense? Because they hunger for love. If bearing God’s anger and hatred is the price of his love, they’ll pay it. It’s a tragedy. We need love, God has love, but between us is the pimp of religion, prostituting the love of God and charging us for what is already ours in Christ.
Don’t listen to his diabolical sales talk. Don’t let him tell you that your sins are causing God to withhold his love from you. Listen instead to the gospel of God’s grace and acceptance:
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in scripture. (Romans 8:35, MSG)
Extracted from The Gospel in Twenty Questions, pp.127-129.
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