God doesn’t love you for who you are.

loveHave you ever asked someone why they love you? Have you ever heard someone in a relationship say “He loves me for who I am”? Or even wondered why some people continue to love other people the way they do. The nice young lady, who loves the boyfriend that treats her badly. The wife, who continues to love her husband even after he forgets their anniversary. The dad, who loves his son even after he puts a ding in his Ford Mustang. The parent, who loves their daughter even after she gets pregnant before marriage. The couple, that loves a baby that is not their own. The Father, that loves the world so much He gave up his Son. The Savior, that loved us to death. Sometimes love is hard to explain and understand. What do people mean when they say they love someone or something? How does the world define love? What is God saying when He says He loves something?

I love a lot of things. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my extended family. I love my church and my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I love football. I love coffee. I love scotch. Scotchy, scotch, scotch. It is certainly true that there are many things in this world to love. Like everyone else, I consider most of the things I love to be important. I also consider my loves to be selfish loves. I love them because they please me. While I serve people through different vocations I am still unable to rid myself of my selfish tendencies. I love my wife and children, but fail them daily. I love my neighbor, but rarely serve them as I should. I daily fight my sinful flesh as my worldly loves risk becoming my God. Therein lays the difference between my love and God’s love. I am sinful and God is not.

Love is a big word in today’s Christian landscape. It’s also an often misused word by pastors and layman who throw it around with little regard for what they are truly confessing to the world. “God is love”. Love your neighbor as yourself. While these are both true statements they are often misused throughout Christianity to justify all sorts of sins and lies. Even pastors and district presidents in the LCMS use “Love” improperly instead of proclaiming Jesus Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins. As a layman, I always try to consider God’s love in view of the cross. “God is love” because of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Love your neighbor as yourself because of the great love Jesus Christ has shown you. “God is love” outside of Jesus Christ isn’t the love Christians should be proclaiming to the world. God doesn’t love you for who you are, you’re a sinner. God hates sin and we’re experts in that department. The wages of sin is death and we deserve that punishment. We’re like that kid that keeps getting in trouble and never seems to learn. We take his love and don’t give any back. We turn our works of loving our neighbor into something to show God. While our neighbor needs our love and works, God doesn’t. We’re destined for eternal death and hell because of our sin. Our love will not save us from damnation. Loving each other and hugging it out whenever anything goes wrong isn’t Christianity. While it may be great help during times of suffering and sorrow to love each other, it can’t give them that perfect love, support and hope that our Father has shown us in Jesus Christ.

Often while I am writing I feel like a complete jerk. I probably come off as a jerk too. Sometimes things get under my skin and I need to vent. I consider it a great privilege to write for Brothers of John the Steadfast. As a layman, I try to write for other laymen in hopes they will consider their lives in view of the things God has told us in this Word. We should always consider our lives in view of the law and the gospel. We should love our neighbors and show love and compassion for everyone but not at the risk of the Gospel. Christians need to speak the truth about what love is and what the Gospel is. Jesus Christ died for you and for me. He died for the sins of the entire world. Confess those truths to the world and then you are truly showing your neighbor love. God doesn’t love us for who we are, he loves us because of Jesus Christ.

About Nathan Redman

Nathan Redman was baptized into Christ at Bethel Lutheran Church (ELCA) Wahpeton, North Dakota on June 17th 1979. He and his wife, Bernice and their two children, Elsie and Porter are members of Redeemer Lutheran Church (LCMS) in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Nathan works for a family owned Pepsi distributor in St. Cloud. In his spare time he enjoys watching Doctor Who, listening to Frank Sinatra and drinking single malt Scotch. Nathan considers it a privilege to write for Steadfast Lutherans.

Comments

God doesn’t love you for who you are. — 8 Comments

  1. In your comments I do not believe you come off as a “complete jerk.” Like the rest of us, you are trying to make sense of the inscrutable and inexplicable feelings which have plagued man since the beginning. I for one have plumbed the depths of my mind, and in defining the word “love” have surmised it is an emotion God Himself experiences and has given us who are “made in His image.” Love at its highest is agape love, but in some ways love can be misapplied when “like” is a better and more accurate term. I like spaghetti and meatballs, which my Italian American wife has prepared for me over numerous Sundays in the past 44 years. I do not love spaghetti, but I like it, while I love the good hearted woman who prepared it. Love has also been defined as “friendship on fire” and I have experienced these feelings like many people. As Christians, love can be expressed for others in the sense of wanting the best for them, namely peace of mind through a relationship with God. We can love the nasty people as well, love in the sense of praying for them, helping and encouraging, and seeing the lost with compassion and the love of Jesus.

  2. Hmmm, I toss this thought out, I think God did still love us for what we became; albeit a tarnished and imperfect sinful being. But at one time, we were created perfect, and remember, we are still created in His image.

    Remember, God “could” have erased a tarnished creation at the fall, He did not. He chose to begin a promise of redemption that would culminate at the cross through Christ. it cost Jesus His life, “gotta be some love there.”

    It started (to many, Luther I believe would agree) in Genesis 3:15, when God spoke a promise to “the Satan” that nothing would get in the way of Salvation. Some may say this is actually one of the first covenants between God and man (if you hold that a covenant is a promise as one aspect).

    Especially true if you look at OT history, man and the deceiver tried their best to stop God’s Promise, but nothing could do that, nothing. NOTHING…..

    Yes, now we may enter back into heaven, clean again by Christ of course.

    Just a thought.

  3. last sentence suggestion:

    “God doesn’t love us for who we are … He loves us for Who He is: 1st John 4:8-9”

  4. Hmmm, good article, but it makes me think about Old Testament love of Yhwh for His creation. Yes, Jesus is the culmination of what we all are thankful about, but it starts right from the beginning.

    Preachers need to speak more about this is their sermons, plenty of Gospel in the OT; yes, a bit harder to “put into words” for the flock.

    God made all, and us. God redeemed us, and in he end, we will be with Him.

  5. God doesn’t love us for who we are, he loves us because of Jesus Christ.

    @Rev. Glenn Niemann #3
    “God doesn’t love us for who we are … He loves us for Who He is: 1st John 4:8-9″

    That’s good, but it’s good as it stands, too. 🙂

  6. @helen #5
    Helen, think about it…we do have a Triune God, nuff said. Without getting into OT too deep, God loved us to complete redemption in the Messiah, which is Christ.

    Why are we afraid to say “God, or Yahweh is love?” He is, and does from the beginning. Will not stop, and Jesus loves too, toss in the Holy Spirit.

    Yes, by Christ are we saved and brought back to complete the redemptive act started.

  7. @Pastor David L. Prentice Jr. #6
    Why are we afraid to say “God, or Yahweh is love?” He is, and does from the beginning. Will not stop, and Jesus loves too, toss in the Holy Spirit.

    I didn’t know anyone (here anyway) was afraid to say “God is love”.
    Christ said, “He who has seen me, has seen the Father.” [And Christ was there, in all that OT stuff: John 1:1-8 (or as far as you want to go).] 🙂

    Maybe I don’t get your point….

  8. LSB 392: God Loves me Dearly. …Therefore I’ll say again God LOVES me dearly, God LOVES me dearly, LOVES even me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.