After reading part of Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, I was bothered by this phrase which I hear so often in the world around me, “God loves you for who you are.” While I understand why people say this, I disagree with the wording of this phrase. If God truly loved us for who we are, He wouldn’t love us at all, since we betrayed and rebelled against Him. Furthermore, if God loved us for who we are, then sin would be no big deal. By saying that God loves someone for who that person is, one is saying that God’s love is conditional. All three of these things are false, therefore, God does not love us for who we are.
God created man in His image, and He created man perfectly. God loves His creation, and man is included in that love. God loves man because He created man. At that point in time, man, Adam and Eve, had a perfect, whole relationship with God. Nothing came between the first two people and God, they completely loved, trusted, and shared with one another.
Sadly, this perfect world ended with the entrance of sin. When God created man, He gave man the ability to choose to love Him. Adam and Eve chose to sin. Sin is rebellion against God. God hates sin because it is everything that He is not, evil, twisted, and deadly. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were no longer able to experience God’s perfect love. God had to force Adam and Eve out of the garden, because a holy and perfect God cannot be near sin.
Every human being since Adam and Eve has sinned, we are all sinners. People are defined by their actions. All one has to do to look into another man’s heart is to observe his actions. Thus, anyone who sins can be defined as a sinner. Because God is holy and we are sinners, He could have and should have destroyed us. However, God is a loving, and merciful God.
God did not want the story of the world to end with the destruction of man, so He provided a way of restoration in the sacrifice of Christ. Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves us, not for who we are, but because of who He is. He is love, as 1 John 4:8 points out, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” God loves man unconditionally because it is a part of His very nature.
Finally, if God loved us for who we are, i.e. what we do, then there would be no reason for anyone to repent of his sin. God, because he is holy, hates sin. God judges sin, because sin is fundamentally evil. Over and over in history, individuals and nations have fallen because of their sin. Sin is a problem. Thankfully, God has provided us a way to turn from our sin and back to Him.
In conclusion, we should praise God that He does not love us for who we are, that He does not treat us as we deserve. Thus, I think that we should amend, “God loves you for who you are,” to a much more beautiful statement, “God loves you because of who He is.”