How do we know what God really thinks of us? Yes, we know that scripture says that he is a good Father, but how can we really know that is true? For some of us, the very picture of a father is problematic because our own fathers fell far short of a loving standard. For others, we feel so shameful and broken that we just can’t believe that God could love us. What do we do when our heads tell us one thing (God loves us deeply) but our hearts just can’t believe it?
Scripture offers two answers to this question. First, we can ask God to help us experience his love through the Holy Spirit. In a couple of weeks we’ll find these words in Romans 8:15-16:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
Notice here that the Spirit helps us call God Abba Father and testifies to us that we are God’s children. There is an experiential work that God does in his children to help them know his love.
The second answer to the question is that we can look at what God does. That’s what today’s passage in Romans 5 is about. Note verse 8:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love. We might say that the cross is where God signed his name on human history. What does God think of us? His actions tell us that he loves us beyond measure – so much so that Christ died for us. No matter what else is happening in the world, the cross is always true, and it is the measure of God’s attitude toward us. When our hearts can’t just can’t believe God’s love, we can look to what he has done for us in the cross.