Summary: God is not impersonal. He loves you. (God showed us his love by making the supreme sacrifice.) He also is holy and judges sin.

Summary: God is not impersonal. He loves you.He also is holy and judges sin.

Doug Britton Books

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Who is God — Part Three:

Understanding God’s Love and Holiness

Doug Britton, MFT

Man with raised hands thanking God for his love and holiness

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

Note: This is Part Three of a four-part series on “Who is God?”

 

God loves you

Throughout the Bible, we read about God’s love for us. For example, in one well-known passage we read, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). I especially love this verse because it says why we can cast our anxiety on God—because he cares for us.

Imagine that! Whether or not your parents, spouse, or anyone else loves you, God, the creator of everything that exists, loves you deeply. Let’s look at some more verses that talk about his love:

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26)

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Related: Online Bible study on how God’s love for you

Discussion questions

  1. Do you sometimes have trouble believing that God loves you? Why (or why not)?
  2. As you go through the day, do you think about God’s love? If not, how can you remind yourself to do so more often?
  3. Why can we cast our anxiety on God?
  4. Which one of the previous Scriptures speaks to you the most? Why?
  5. Psalm 136:26 says to give thanks for God’s love. Take a minute to thank God for his love.

 

God showed us his love by making the supreme sacrifice

When Christ—motivated by love—died to take our sins upon himself, he made the supreme sacrifice. There’s no way we can fully understand what he suffered when he took our sins upon himself and was separated from God at the moment of his death, but we can be sure it was much more than the physical pain of being tortured and crucified.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. (John 15:9)

 

God is not impersonal

God does not stand back and impersonally watch us go through life. He loves us and wants to have a close relationship with us. Here are more verses that show his passionate love for us:

How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 36:7)

Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. (Psalm 48:9)

But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. (Psalm 86:15)

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Discussion questions

  1. What do these Scriptures tell us about God?
  2. According to Psalm 48:9, we should meditate on God’s unfailing love. What does it mean to meditate on his love?
  3. What types of plans does God have for us according to Jeremiah 29:11? How can this encourage us?

 

God is holy

It’s hard for us to comprehend what “holiness” is—absolute love and sinless perfection—for we fall short in many ways. Yet God himself is perfectly holy and desires that we grow in holiness. As his word says, “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).

Although God wants us to pursue holiness, he knows we can’t completely achieve it. However, he wants us to “aim” for perfection.

Finally, brothers, good-by. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11)

Discussion questions

  1. Have you sometimes felt like a failure because of your inability to be perfect?
  2. Does it help you to “aim” for perfection instead of thinking you must be perfect? Why or why not?

 

God is jealous

Since God is holy, he is also jealous. His jealousy isn’t the irrational jealousy and anger so many people experience. It’s another type of jealousy, one that is understandable when you think about it.

Imagine that you married someone who was unfaithful. You would be upset, rightfully so. God is jealous that way. He created us for an intense, loving relationship. In fact, in both the Old Testament and New Testament we are told the most important thing we can do is to love God with all our heart, soul, and strength.

Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:5)

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)

When people turn from God and chase after other “gods,” God is upset—just as you would be upset if your spouse chased after other people.

What is another “god”? It might be an actual false religion or god, but it also could be anything that becomes more important to you than God, something that takes your time, attention, and finances.

You shall have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3)

Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14)

Discussion questions

  1. What does God get jealous about?
  2. What have been other “gods” in your life?

 

God judges sin

As you read the Bible, it becomes very clear that God judges—and punishes—sin. Throughout both the Old and New Testaments we are warned not to sin (and not to tempt others to sin). Read, for example, Peter’s warning in this passage:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The hard truth is that everyone has sinned many times in thought, word, and deed. But this doesn’t mean we all are doomed. God sacrificed his son, Jesus Christ, to take the punishment we deserve upon himself. Forgiveness is available when we are reconciled with God.

 

Memory verse

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever. (Psalm 136:26)

 

Understanding God’s Love and Holiness — Homework

  1. According to 1 Peter 5:7, what is the reason we can cast our anxiety on God?
  1. What are two verses about God’s love that encourage you the most?How do they  encourage you?
  1. What does it mean to meditate on God’s love?
  1. Do you meditate on God’s love?

a. Why or why not?
b. If you answered “yes,” when do you do it?

  1. Why does God get jealous?
  2. Is it important to God that we try to live holy lives? Explain your reasons for answering the way you did.

 

Click here to read Part One of “Who is God?”

Click here to read Part Two of “Who is God?”

Click here to read Part Four of “Who is God?”

Getting Started, Getting Connected

Practical steps to take as you begin your journey with Christ

First Things First

Learning about God's nature, becoming a disciple

Living by Grace

Resting secure in God's grace, love, and mercy

Who Do You Think You Are?

Enjoying God's love and discovering your purpose in life

In the Bookstore

Getting Started, Getting Connected

6.99

Your first steps with Jesus

First Things First

12.99

Understanding God’s nature

Living by Grace

12.99

Understanding God’s grace

Who Do You Think You Are?

12.99

See yourself as God sees you

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Copyright © 2016 Doug Britton. (Permission granted to print for personal use.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible verses are from the 1984 New International Version.

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