God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).
When you ask, “How can I know that God loves me?”, Romans 5:8 is where you can go for the answer. God demonstrates His love. We might even say, “God proves His love.” How? In this: Christ died for us.
We are looking at objective historical data—something happened. How can I know that God loves me? Christ died. He died for me. This is the proof of God’s love: Christ did this! And he did it for me!
It’s really important that you are able to answer the question: “How can I know that God loves me?”, especially when you are facing traumatic events in your life. You may find yourself saying: “I can’t feel a thing. I come to church and I feel numb. But I know that God loves me, because He sent His Son to die for me. Christ gave Himself for me. And this is love, even when I cannot feel a thing.”
Knowing God loves you is of huge importance. But there’s more.
The love of God is more than a truth to know; it is a gift to be enjoyed.
God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Rom. 5:5).
Notice how Romans 5:5 and Romans 5:8 complement each other so beautifully in giving us a full picture of the love of God, which is universal in its scope and personal in its application. The love of God was proved back at the cross, and it is experienced now in our hearts. The love of God was poured out at the cross by the Son of God, and it is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.
I want to experience as much of God’s love as possible, this side of heaven. But how?
Believing the Promise
The love of God is not dribbled, dripped, or sprinkled into our hearts. It is poured! That speaks of an abundance.
Six days before the Passover, when He was about to suffer on the cross for us, Jesus came to the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus, their brother, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. This was a home where Jesus was loved. And when He arrived, the three siblings gave a dinner in His honor. How do you say “thank you” to someone who has given you life from the dead? Of course, that is the position of every Christian, isn’t it?
Mary had an idea. She took a pound of expensive ointment, and poured it out on the feet of Jesus, and “the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (Jn. 12:3). When the perfume is poured out, it gets everywhere! Every corner of the room is affected, not just the room they were in. The whole house was filled with the fragrance!
That’s a beautiful picture of what happens when the Holy Spirit pours the love of God into the heart of a Christian believer. It gets everywhere. This love can’t be contained in a small corner of your life. When the love of God is poured out by the Spirit, everything is affected. This is something very wonderful. The love of God, in all of its healing power, permeates every part of your interior life—your thought patterns, your speech, your memories.
Your pastor can tell you about the love of God, but he does not have the ability to pour this love into your heart. A counsellor can point you to this love, but she cannot pour it into your heart.
Only God can pour His love into your heart.
It’s not just that the Holy Spirit can pour the love of God into our hearts; He has done this! God pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
In Romans 5, Paul is writing to Christian believers in Rome. He is saying to them, “Here are two things that are true of you in Christ”:
- The Holy Spirit lives in you.
- God’s love has been poured out into your hearts.
These things are true of every Christian. Every believer has tasted something of the love of God. If these things are not true of you, then don’t go around telling yourself that you’re a Christian. There is something wonderful still ahead for you.
But there’s so much more than any of us have tasted. The love of God is greater by far than tongue or pen can ever tell. Think about the vastness of that love being poured into the restricted capacity of our human hearts! This is like trying to pour the ocean into a thimble!
There is a second way that we can receive more of God’s love.
Enjoying the Gift
Who are the people who enjoy this outpouring of God’s love in their hearts? The more we reflect the marks of these people, the more we will experience what is promised to them. You can see the answer for yourself just by looking at the verses that come before and after this great promise in Romans 5:5.
Who are the people being described in verse 5? When Paul writes that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts” and “the Holy Spirit who has been given to us”, who does “our” refer to? Into whose hearts is the love of God poured? Who are the “us” to whom the Holy Spirit is given?
- People who exercise faith (Rom. 5:1)
- People who persevere through suffering (Rom. 5:3-4)
- People who own their need for Jesus (Rom. 5:6-8)
- People who embrace Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:10).
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life (Rom. 5:10).
What a marvelous statement about the Lord Jesus Christ! Here we read about the death of God’s Son (on the cross) for our reconciliation, and the life of God’s Son (through the resurrection) for our salvation.
Notice what Paul is saying. We were reconciled to God by the death of His Son! In Christ we are forgiven, the past is wiped clean, and we are brought into a new relationship with God. All of this flows from the cross of Jesus.
We are reconciled by the death of Christ. But it doesn’t end there. Now that we are reconciled, how much more shall we be saved?
Reconciled by Jesus’ death and saved by His life, we are loved by God!
This article is an adaptation of Pastor Colin’s sermon, “The Love of God”, from his series, Soul Care: Part 2—Four Friends for Your Soul.