Many times, we think of God’s love for us as dependent on our behavior. We make a mistake, or we sin, and the thought comes to us: God probably does not want to love us right now. He might, but maybe not that much.
This is deadly thinking.
The Bible says that God’s love for us is STEADFAST. Its degree and strength are not dependent on our behavior—bad behavior or good behavior. God’s love for us is dependent on His nature and character as God. If He loved us while we were still sinners by sending Jesus to die for us (Rom. 5:8), then His love for us will NOT fluctuate when we slip up, or make a mistake, or sin.
God’s love for us is not moody or schizophrenic. It is constant because HE is constant. Hebrews 13:8 says: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” And in James 1:17, it says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
If bad behavior does not change God’s love for us, we must remember that doing good will not buy His love, either. Certainly, our good works reflect His love, but they do not increase God’s love in any manner. God’s love for us is already magnanimously great and is at its highest measure. Again, it is constant. The Bible says: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)
God loving us greatly does not mean that we abuse God’s kindness or that we sin continually because “we will be forgiven anyway.” That’s not how love works. God’s character is perfect love, but His character is also perfect in justice, righteousness, and holiness. When it comes to holiness, He says to us, “Be holy for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
We must have a balanced view of God’s love and holiness: God’s loving kindness draws us to repentance when we sin (Romans 2:4). His is the kind of love that flings our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). His is the kind of love that desires for people’s hearts like that of Zacchaeus (Luke 19) and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) to be drawn to Him. His is the kind of love that changes a heavily demonized man to the most sane and delivered (Mark 5). Yet, He is a God who is holy. In Him there is no darkness (1 John 1:5). He wants us to be like Him—having no kind of darkness in our lives.
Whenever we sin, we have a tendency to hide and turn inward. We cringe and say: Will God still love ME? Can’t I change? Shouldn’t I have seen this coming? We take all our woe upon ourselves, reaching for comfort by indulging in pity, shame, and fleshly mechanisms like food, shopping, TV (not that food, shopping, and TV are wrong in themselves!). The list goes on. Suffice it to say, the flesh can only give temporary comfort.
Why not go to our eternal source of comfort when we sin? Why not confess our sins and go to the God who loves us so much? Why not go to the One whose power can change us? Whose character of holiness and steady, relentless love drives Him to transform us into people who are just like Him? He can turn our ashes into beauty and our weaknesses into strengths.
There is no fear in love. God’s love and holiness should be a comfort to us. He does not change and will never change. Like the Psalmist, we can declare this with every breath of our being to God: “Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.” (Psalm 36:5)
Janina Marie Rivera is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine, a teacher of world literature, and a student of the Bible. She enjoys reflecting on life’s curve balls and plateaus. She resides in the Philippines, the country known for people who smile a lot.