People today use God's love as an excuse for not repenting from sin and turning to God. But is that what God's love is all about? The Bible says that 'God is love' but it also talks about turning from our sins. Is there a contradiction?
People love ice cream. Some love Chinese food. There are people who love big, beautiful houses. But is that kind of love the same as loving a person? When we are infatuated with someone, we say that we love them. But if we truly love them, then we would be willing to make sacrifices for their good. Can we make sacrifices for the well being of ice cream, Chinese food, or big beautiful houses? The sacrifices we would make would be for our enjoyment and benefit, not for the sake of ice cream, Chinese food, and big houses.
Here is a description of love that comes right out of the Bible:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV
Love involves sacrifice. It involves sacrifice for the sake of the object of love. Love is not allowing people to do whatever they want in order to be happy.
I once remember my mom explaining discipline to me. I was probably between the ages of 5 and 7, and I hated being disciplined. I thought my mom was too strict. I wanted to explore, so I would do things with the door locked or somehow I would be out of her sight so I could 'explore' and learn. It 'seemed' like to everything I wanted, she would say 'no' to. My mom tried to explain boundaries to me. It made sense but I did not agree with it. She said that children feel safe with boundaries around them. When children break those boundaries, they need to be disciplined. It was an act of love on the part of the parent.
There was a true incident that happened in a school yard. There was no fence around the school yard and when children went out for recess, they always stayed close to the building. A fence was put up around the school yard and after that, children played in the school yard. The only explanation was that children felt safe because there was now a fence around the school yard.
I did not want to stay inside the boundaries my mom set for me and I certainly did not see how it could be loving of parents to discipline their children. Of course, I was immature and thought that I could do things to make myself happy, and that Mom was getting in the way of that!
In my opinion, it seems like many people see God this way. God has boundaries. Inside His boundaries, there is no sin. We think that by being allowed to sin, we will be happy, and we think that if we are inside God's boundaries, we will not be happy because we can't do what we want to. So, alternatively, people come up with the idea that God loves us and that means we can do whatever we want. That makes sense to people, but it is just the opposite of what Scripture teaches.
Psalm 16:6 NIV
We will never experience God's peace until we know Him. We will not know Him until we repent of our sins, and trust in what Jesus did on the Cross to pay for the penalty of our sins. When we do come to Him in repentance and faith, then we will have the insight to see that God does know what is best. God is not out there to make us unhappy. But the devil lies to us in order to get us to not trust in God. We all have a distrust in God because we do not know what the Scriptures say about who He is. Because we are ignorant of what Scripture teaches us about God, we will fall into the trap of the Enemy of our souls, and listen to his lies instead of listening to the truth about God. And we will not trust in God because we have fallen prey to the lies of the devil.
Yes, God does love us. He loves those who do not know Him yet. He loves those who have trusted in Him and turned from their sins. But God's love will not keep people from going to hell if they do not repent of their sins and turn to Him. God's love provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him. He provided a way for us to be free from having to be captivated by sin. We all have struggles with sinful issues, and now, because of the Cross, we can be set free from sin.
Sin is our enemy. Satan uses sinful temptations to cause us to fall and to be under God's wrath. The devil cannot make anyone sin, but he can reason with people about sin and make it look plausible.
For more information on how to be made right before God, please go to http://thegospelconversation.blogspot.com