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God's Unconditional Love

By Dr. Charles Stanley

Everyone wants to be cherished. But human devotion isn’t always dependable. Even the most stable relationships change over time, according to how the lovers feel, the way they treat each other, and whether life is stressful or not.

We can be thankful that God’s love is quite different. Let’s look at a few principles that describe His amazing affection for people.

1. God’s love is intrinsic to His nature. First John tells us that God is the source of love (4:7). It also reveals that love is not only one of the Creator’s fundamental character traits; He is love in His very being (v. 4:8).

  • When you think of the Lord, do you picture Him as loving? Explain.

Contrary to the world’s mindset, the fact that “God is love” does not mean He “winks at” or excuses sin (Rom. 6:23). However, He forgives us if we are humble enough to ask.

2. God’s love is universal. He has compassion on both believers and unbelievers.

While on earth, Jesus perfectly illustrated the Father’s nature and character. One surprising fact is that He befriended “tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). These two groups of people were despised and avoided by godly Jews of Jesus’ day. Why? Tax collectors often exploited their fellow countrymen by requiring more payment than was actually due to Rome. “Sinners” were those who scoffed at God’s law, failed to participate in temple rituals, and/or made money by sinful means. Jesus didn’t just preach to these people—He actually enjoyed their company, and they enjoyed His.

  • According to John 3:16, what motivated God to send Jesus to earth?
  • Has God given you a love for those who don’t yet know Him? If not, ask Him to fill you with a genuine love for them and to show you how to share His love.

3. God’s love is unconditional. Unlike earthly affection, His love doesn’t fluctuate. The Father doesn’t care for us more when we have pleased Him or less when we have failed or sinned.

  • After a period of spiritual dryness, do you have less confidence that God will answer your prayers because you don’t “deserve” His blessing?

  • Do you believe that your performance makes the Father love you more? Explain.
  • What encouragement does Romans 5:8 offer to those who feel God loves them less when they fail?

4. God’s love is sacrificial. Jesus Christ surrendered His life on the cross so that we might have eternal life and enjoy fellowship with God while we are still living on earth. Jesus’ motivation was love for mankind.

  • John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” What was Jesus trying to tell His disciples?
  • How does our Savior’s description of love contrast with the world’s?
  • How does the concept of sacrificial love encourage you to relate differently to those you love the most?

5. God’s love is contagious. When we walk in close fellowship with Christ, God’s love flows through us to those around us. The Holy Spirit fills us so that we can extend unconditional love to others (Rom. 5:5).

  • “The one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16). What do you think it means to “abide in love”?
  • Does this phrase describe you? Why or why not?

First Peter 4:8 says, “Keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

  • What do you think it means to “cover” someone’s sin with love?

Far from excusing a person’s sin or pretending it doesn’t exist, covering another’s wrongdoing with love means that we show mercy, speak the truth, and forgive so that the sinner will be healed, much like a nurse tenderly bandages a wound.

  • What are some of the benefits of love “covering the sins” of your family, co-workers, or fellow church members?

  • What wrongdoing of another could you cover in love this week?

6. God’s love is motivating. When we learn to set our minds on God’s affection, we have a greater ability to overcome sin. Instead of indulging fleshly desires, we allow His Spirit to guide us (Rom. 8:5).

Sin is often an attempt to meet legitimate needs apart from God. This means at the root of almost every transgression is a genuine need for comfort, peace, acceptance, approval, love, etc.

  • Think about one of your habitual sins. What needs do you attempt to fulfill through that sin?

Ask God to show you how to let His love satisfy those needs in a healthy way. (If the desire cannot be met legitimately, ask Him to remove the ungodly urge completely. He may not remove it immediately, however, if He wants to help you learn humility and dependence upon Him to resist temptation.)

  • Sometimes we make excuses for our sin, saying things such as “I’m under a lot of pressure right now, and I just couldn’t help it.” What does Romans 8:35-37 say about the power of Christ’s love?

Prayer: Father, thank You for the amazing love You extend toward me. Forgive me for not believing the truth about who You are. I pray for a life-transforming revelation of Your affection for me, that I might relate to You and others in a fresh way. Amen.

Copyright 2014 In Touch Ministries, Inc. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org. In Touch grants permission to print for personal use only.


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  • March 06, 2012 09:49 PM

    by

    I want to know that unconditional love Dr. Stanley talked about in his prayer. I am growing but I want to relax in that unconditional love of God. Thanks, Pam
  • February 28, 2011 02:16 AM

    by

    may god give u everlasting love
  • December 30, 2010 09:11 AM

    by

    Thanks for this morning Bible study, I read what you have wrote and things just seem to jump out to me for I understand. I trully hope this year will start off to be a great one, just knowing how much God does love me makes things better! Now if I can keep on trac, because of things happening in my life, it's just a distraction from the devil, he doesn't want us to get ahead in any way, closer to God. I pray that I can keep my eyes on Him!!!!!
  • December 16, 2010 04:38 PM

    by SuperUser Account

    someone asked, "When does God give up on a person?" The answer is never, up until the point of death. Until someone passes away, God still has the opportunity to heal and forgive them of their sins.

    If you would like to share more details about your question, please contact us through the contact form (under the contact us navigation button at the top of the page). On of our email or letter writers will be in touch with you if you do that.

    God bless you,

    The In Touch Team
  • December 16, 2010 04:35 PM

    by SuperUser Account

    To those who have left us encouraging comments on the study--God bless you too. You bring tears to our eyes when you tell us how faithful you have been to study and grow over the years with our ministry and others sources of discipleship. Merry Chrismas to each one of you, too!

    The In Touch Team
  • December 14, 2010 03:07 AM

    by

    God's love nevr lets us down, it is truly the one thing we can count on always, man is just man, we try our best but often we still make mistakes, sin - is a mistake it hurts us, praise God He forgives our sin and we can and do get stronger each day as we grow in him.
  • December 09, 2010 09:26 PM

    by

    I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life and that when he thinks of me He thinks about the love that He has for me and that I fall short of his Love for me but that does not lessen His love for me because He forgives me for all of my short commings and frailties. I can never repay Christ for what He did for me on jCalveries Tree but i can obey His word and pray and commit my life to Him each day so that He may guide me through His word in this earthly life that i may be ready to walk with him in eternity. Sandy Massie
  • December 09, 2010 07:21 PM

    by

    Lord thank you for your son the blood shed for me your never changing promise
    your faithfulness towards me. help me Lord to serve you in any way, help me to be courageous enough to hear your will and be obedient to your will for you are
    ALMIGHTY GOD i love you
  • December 07, 2010 09:35 PM

    by

    when does God give up on a person
  • December 05, 2010 06:32 AM

    by

    thanks In Touch and thanks of of you,God bless you !
  • December 04, 2010 05:35 PM

    by

    I always look forward to these Outlines, articles, and Bible studies. I have listen to and watched In Touch for over 20 years. I am now hearing impaired and can no longer listen. But I get these helps each week read each and do the Bible study. Also I often save them and send to Nepal, when my husband goes there on a mission trip. He goes two times each year.


    Love and prayers,

    lp
  • December 04, 2010 02:40 PM

    by

    I'm just a regular believer[meaning not a preacher] and i've been taking a sermon writing class and it was very similar to your study. i've only been a believer for two years but through alot of bible study i've been blessed with a greater understanding then the avarage 2 year old. Praise God !!!! In fact the name of my sermon which was an expository was [the unconditional love of God]
  • December 04, 2010 12:29 PM

    by

    AWESOME MAY GOD GIVE U LONG LIVE AND MORE HIS WISDOM AND POWER AND MORE BLESSING.....THANKS TO DR STANLEY AND HIS TEAM AND OTHERS....
    WISH U A MERRY X'MAS AND COMG NEW YEAR TOO...GOD MAY POUR HIS BLESSG AND HONOUR UPON U R MINISTRY...(BY ARTHUR WAUGH) FOUNDER PRESIDENT OF "RUACH MINISTRY OF CHRIST" INDIA (MAHARASHTRA) ...

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