Yet the proof of God’s amazing love is this: that it was while we were sinners that Christ died for us. (JBP)
The writer Brennan Manning tells of how his friend, Ray, saved his life in the war by smothering a live grenade. Ray died in order to save Brennan. Later, Brennan met Ray’s mother and wondered aloud if Ray really loved him. The mother simply replied that he gave his life for him: what more could he have done.
Which might be the best response we might give to ourselves or anyone else when we wonder if God truly loves us. He invited Jesus his Son to die in our place, to absorb all that the evil powers could throw at him, so that we might be spared such a fate. And he did all that not as a response to our good conduct but out of sheer love.
God did not wait till we became worthy of such a sacrifice. Jesus did not die to reward us for being jolly decent people. He offered us mercy and grace even as we had our backs turned to him. He loved us even when we didn’t love him.
It has been said that our greatest problem is not that we don’t love God enough, but that we don’t recognise just how much God loves us. If we doubt that, we need look no further than Jesus. If life turns against us, look to Jesus who reminds us God is for us. Perhaps the most basic summary of my own faith is this: God loves me, Jesus proves it.