2022-10-9 “Does God Really Love Me?”

Cornerstone EPC Sunday morning

Franklin, NC 28734 October 9, 2022

Does God Really Love Me?”

Romans 8:31-39

This has been quite a week at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. God called our beloved sister in Christ, Nan Preston, to Heaven last Sunday afternoon. We therefore must admit that we grieve in this season, and that we are heart-sore. We almost must admit that we labor, or have labored, in this season to help Nan, to prepare for her memorial service tomorrow afternoon, and to accomplish our usual tasks—and, as a result, we are weary. Add to this the fact that we suffer in other ways also, such as physical ailment, material lack, and relationship trouble, to name but three, and we find ourselves, at least possibly, more open to the Satanic temptation, “Does God really love me?”

I have heard the following assertion more than once over my three-plus decades in pastoral service from a professing Christian: “God hates me.” This grieves me, but I understand that it generally rises from a place of tremendous spiritual pain. For treatment of this pain, for refutation of the assertion that God hates us, and for a comprehensive answer to the question, “Does God really love me?” let’s look up and away from our circumstance to the Lord. Let’s hear what He says in His Word, and let’s yield ourselves to Him as He applies that Word to our souls and to our situations. Once again, let us hear the Word of God read and proclaimed in this place.


Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, asks us a series of questions. Our sermon today proceeds along the line of answers to those questions. We’ll consider four answers today—and those answers, taken together, address every question posed in this morning’s text. First, God, in Christ, is for us who are in Christ. For proof of this, look at all that came before today’s text in Romans, which we may sum with the following phrase: the justifying, sanctifying, powerful Gospel—the benefits of which the Holy Spirit, God Himself, applies to those who by faith receive Jesus as Savior and Lord. Clearly God is for us. Therefore, none can be against us—though, as we see frequently, if not daily, some certainly will try. God is for us. Let that sink deeply into your soul. Now let’s hear more good news for our souls.

Second, God gives us everything we need for life and godliness (cf. 2 Peter 1:3). Jesus Himself tells Nicodemus, and us, in that verse which Martin Luther called the Gospel in miniature, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This gift of Jesus, this gift of efficacious penal, substitutionary atonement for sin, is a generous, gracious, gift to us. There is no merit in us that compels our Lord to give such an indescribable gift. Yet the Lord, out of His free grace, gives such a gift to every elect soul. Moreover, He will also give us graciously, along with Jesus, every good thing that is ours by virtue of our union with Jesus—both in life and in eternity. What good news this is—this Gospel news. If you yet struggle to believe that God loves you, and if you want further wells of His love from which to draw, then read and listen some more.

Third, the Lord neither accuses us nor condemns us. The power to accuse and to condemn lies within our triune God—and it lies alone with Him with an ultimate sense, though the evil one, according to his degenerate nature, accuses the brethren night and day. Yet note that God, in place of accusation, justifies the elect sinner. That is, God brings the elects sinner into righteous standing before Him by placing Christ’s righteousness on the sinner and the sinner’s sin upon Christ—Who atoned for it at the Cross. More than this, Jesus Christ, God incarnate, in place of condemnation, intercedes for us at God’s right hand. He prays for us, and He does this at all times in every situation. He also pleads His infinite merit to be applied to each elect soul—a plea which the Father grants without fail. See how great the Lord’s love is for us who are His. Now let’s add to this with the coup de grace, the finishing stroke in the argument.

Fourth, the Lord permits nothing in all creation to separate us from Himself and His love. Note the list of potential separators offered in today’s text: dangers and hardships, on the one hand, such as tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, and sword (35); and various contrasting items on the other hand, such as death and life, angels, rulers, and powers, things present and things to come, and height and depth (38-39). Even amid difficulties which threaten, and which threaten to destroy us, we are more than conquerors through Him (Greek hypernikao [upernikaw]). In other words, we win decisively in Christ Jesus—because He has won decisively at the Cross and at Joseph of Arimathea’s borrowed tomb. Again, here Paul’s Spirit-led final statement: Nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

All the foregoing belongs, by new-birthright, to those who are in Christ Jesus—but only to those who are in Christ Jesus. Therefore, if you be not in Christ, then, first, admit that you have sinned in His sight and that you deserve that accusation and condemnation from which the redeemed in Christ are spared. Second, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved—thou, and thine house (Acts 16:31). Third, commit your way, by the help of the Holy Spirit, to live as a follower of Christ. Do this in devotion to Him, both by public worship and by private worship. Do this in obedience to Him via obedience to His moral law. Do this in service to Him as He gifts, empowers, and opens providential opportunity. If you did all of this, then welcome to the forever family of God in Christ Jesus.

Now, with the rest of us, enjoy these precious, fail-proof promises of God. Now, with the rest of us, whenever you may be tempted to wonder, “Does God really love me?” return a resounding, “Yes,” to the question. Furthermore, banish the temptation, in Jesus’ Name, to think the answer ever could be otherwise.