8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

How hard is it for you to love, or even like, people who are different from you? Probably a lot harder than you would like to admit? As difficult as it is to do well to those who are your enemies, that is exactly what God has done for us in Jesus.

While Jesus is human with a human soul and feelings, He is also fully God and, as such, has the same sinless nature and hatred toward sin that God has. Being human is being sinful, and even though God hates sin, He does not hate you. This is a gracious miracle and a reason for full joy. Sadly, it may be more likely to feel that God is angry with us than that He loves us. Yet we must not forget the cross, our hope for restoration. The cross is God’s final statement on sin, and His most complete statement of His affection for a wayward people.

The work of Christ on the cross—and the Spirit’s work in our hearts—transcends our experience and tells us that God loves us. We interpret our circumstances according to the gospel, not vice versa. We know God loves us because of what He did for us through Christ. When you were the most unlovable, God loved you and sent His Son to be like you and suffer in your place. We have a reason to be joyful because God loves us.

• Do you live with the feeling that God loves you? Or do you more often feel that He is angry with you? What adjustments should you make based on the truth of these verses? How can you let the reality of Christ’s finished forgiveness on the cross inform your feelings, rather than the other way around?

• Why does God’s love compel us to love others?

• Thank God for loving you when you were against Him.