[Article by Lantz Manomano]—
In life we all experience different problems and tragedies that may lead us to question both the love of God and sometimes even the existence of God.
Perhaps tragic situations, the worsening state of the world and even or our daily personal challenges can bring us to a place where we have a variety of questions about God’s love.
Due to the different experiences that we face, we may have thoughts and questions about God’s love such as these:
“If God is so loving, why does He allow me to have so many problems in my life?”
“Why does it feel as if God loves other people more than me?”
“Why does it seem as if God blesses other people and I always feel cursed?”
“If God is so loving, why does He allow bad things to happen to good / innocent people?”
“If God exists, why did He not stop the evil and tragedies in my life?”
“If God exists, why do I not feel the love of God in my life?”
So does God love only a specific kind of people? Do we have to earn God’s love? If God exists, why is His love not so evident in some people’s lives?
There are some people who say you have to do good in order to receive or earn God’s love.
Others just come to the conclusion that there is no God because of the tragic situations that they experience and witness in life.
In some scenario’s those who have come to know of God’s love and experience, make it seem as if God’s love is reserved for only them alone.
However, what does the Bible really teach about God’s love?
IS GOD’S LOVE FOR ALL PEOPLE, OR IS IT RESERVED FOR A SPECIFIC PEOPLE?
Genesis 1:26-27 states that God created man in His image and after His likeness, so whether one is a believer or non-believer everyone on earth has been created in God’s image and after His likeness.
Being made in the image of God means that we have certain qualities and virtues that are similar to God. Therefore, since we are made after His likeness, then just like God we have the capacity to express various aspects of God’s nature such as love, compassion, empathy, grief, faithfulness, patience and so many other attributes. Being made in God’s image also means that we have the capacity to hate. For example, we have the capacity to hate evil or any kind of wickedness or sin.
Before the fall of man or the entrance of sin, Adam and Eve were made perfect and having been made perfectly in God’s image, they could perfectly express the nature and character of God in their life because sin had not yet entered into humanity. Both Adam and Eve could perfectly receive and express the love of God because they had a perfect and unaltered relationship with God.
However this perfection did not last long as Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s word and that’s when man fell short of God’s glory (Genesis 3:1-24). One of the first things that Adam and Eve did after they sinned against God was to hide from Him. Their love of God turned into fear and guilt and shame.
When Adam sinned, humanity’s once perfect image became flawed and altered because sin now reigns in man. For example, we do not love perfectly; our ability to express compassion is flawed; we no longer live truthfully or faithfully and we cannot please God perfectly by our own strength or personal effort. Furthermore our perception of the true character and nature of God is imperfect – all because of sin that reigns in the world.
Romans 3:23 says: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
From Romans 3:23 we discover that it’s not a specific people that fell short of God’s glory but it says that ALL have sinned and therefore EVERYONE is guilty of disobeying God’s commandments.
The fact that we have sinned against God means that we all deserve God’s wrath and judgment.
However God is love and one of His attributes is that He is gracious and slow to anger.
Therefore instead of having His wrath on us, Jesus Christ took the penalty on our behalf in order to save us from eternal damnation and to reconcile us to God (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:18).
John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 2:2 states that He did not only die for the believer but also for the world (everyone). Just by looking into these few verses one can see that God’s love is not reserved for a specific people but it is for all. Why then believe that God’s love is for a specific people?
Hosea 4:6 states my people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge. If one has no idea that God loves them and has forgiven them they’ll die believing that their wrongs/sins are greater than Christ’s sacrifice for us, which is the devil’s lie.
Psalm 145:8-9 says: The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made.
DOES ONE HAVE TO WORK FOR GOD’S LOVE?
God’s love is a free gift to all mankind through Christ’s death and resurrection. Through His grace God gives us the free gift of eternal life because of the payment Jesus made on our behalf on the cross.
Unfortunately, many believe that we have to earn God’s love or to work for it. However Ephesians 2:8-10 speaks of God’s love and grace and it shows that it’s God who has done all the work of salvation and it is not of our effort lest we should boast before God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says: For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
According to 1 John 4:7-8, love is of God and one is able to receive this love once they know and have a personal relationship with God.
1 John 4:7-8 says: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
People spend all their lives trying to gain God’s love through works and deeds whilst the Lord is saying just believe in what I have done for you through Christ and to allow God to love them and lead them into a place of true love.
SHOULD SUFFERING PREVENT US FROM BELIEVING IN GOD’S EXISTENCE?
Psalms 14:1 states that a fool says in his heart there is no God. We live in a fallen world. We live in very evil times. People are increasingly corrupt and there are many trials and tribulations that we face in the world. However the challenges and trials in our life must not prevent us from believing in God’s existence.
A human father does not hide his children from life’s experiences but helps and guides his children through the course & challenges of life. He also picks them up and teaches them not to lose hope and to make wise choices. Same with God. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) it says: The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
The Lord sees us in this fallen world and He teaches us how to stay strong and guides us on the right path to take. Even though we struggle with different kinds of trials, His love for us remains and He will not leave us nor forsake us and He will one day deliver us. That’s God’s love for us until He restores everything to the perfection He created it to be.
God has given every man freewill or the ability to make their own choices. During these times people make freewill choices. Some choices lead to life and others lead to tragedies and suffering.
In moments of confusion and tragedy people question God’s love and God’s existence because of the pain they will be going through. They say if God loves them, why does He allow them to go through such bad experiences.
One thing we forget is that God allows us to exercise our freewill and because of this the Lord does not control us just as one would control a machine or a robot. However in every situation in our life, both good and bad, we must yield to Christ’s Lordship because He is more than willing to lead and direct our footsteps.
Unfortunately man loves leading his own life until something goes wrong and then he blames God for the consequences of his own choices.
Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
God never promised that life will always be a smooth sail. However God promises that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Our job is to believe in Him; to trust Him and to remember He is always ready to guide us. In every situation in our life we must totally depend on God for purpose and direction even when we don’t understand the reasons for our pain and suffering.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Sometimes we tend to place our trust in people or in the things that we can touch or see. However believers are called to trust in God whom we cannot physically see or touch.
Jeremiah 17:5 states that cursed is the man that trusts man and depart from the fear of the Lord,
The irony of atheism is that an atheist tends to blame God for all the problems in the world, whilst believing that this same God does not exist. The truth is God is not at fault for all the problems in the world. Instead sin exists because of the fall of man and his own sinful nature. Man has been given freewill and instead of choosing to do good, he chooses to do evil which eventually leads to kinds of problems and trials not only for himself, but also for others.
Jeremiah 17:9 states how the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked.
However God loves all atheists despite their reasons for not believing in Him. Jesus Christ died for all people – including atheists. God loves everyone and wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:3-6).
God is not far if an atheist repents and has a change of heart. God will not force Himself on them but will allow them to choose to love Him on their own.
It is God’s goodness that leads one to repentance. Repentance involves turning from unbelief, self-reliance to turning to belief in God and relying on Him.
Romans 5:8 says: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The difference between one who experiences God’s love and one who doesn’t is in receiving the gift of God, which came through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for us (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18).
In conclusion, God’s greatest expression of His love for all mankind was through His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent to pay for the sins of mankind. Sin separates us from God, however God reconciled us to Himself when Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross. In John 15:13 Jesus said this “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Jesus Christ laid down His life for the entire world. He paid the debt of sin for every human being because He loves every person no matter how wicked that person has been in the past and no matter what bad situation you might be going through right now.
Our job is simply to freely receive the love of God and to believe in what Christ did for us on the cross and by faith we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour so that He may reign in our daily life.
Food for thought
Does God really love me?
How can I experience God’s Love?
Do I lead myself or Is God leading me?
DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???
1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
This means that we have all broken God’s laws and God’s 10 Commandments like those mentioned in Exodus 20:1-17. For example, if you have told a lie; if you have stolen something; if you have lusted after somebody or if you have coveted. This means you are guilty of breaking at least one or more of God’s 10 Commandments. Breaking God’s commandments makes us sinners. The fact that we are sinners who have broken God’s law means that we are accountable to God who is the Lawgiver. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death BUT the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner who has broken God’s commandments and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.
2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.
3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.
4. BELIEVE: “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” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God
Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?
We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.
PLEASE NOTE: You can choose to pray in your own words. This prayer is a sample prayer and it is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
Today I repent and have decided to follow you. Thank you for forgiving all my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
Have you accepted & believed in Jesus Christ as a result of reading this article and would like to know more about what to do next? If so please acknowledge by clicking the “I Have Accepted Jesus Christ” button below