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God's Love for Mankind

"Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? And yet not one of them is forgotten before God. "Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are of more value than many sparrows. (NAS, Luke 12:6-7)

Jesus often referred to God as "the Father" or "the heavenly Father." Our relationship to God is like the loving relationship between parent and child. Like a loving parent, God knows and cares deeply for each of us.

God is pure Spirit. We cannot see or touch Him. We can only dimly understand Him, but we can know Him through prayer, through the teachings of the Bible, and through our faith. In His teachings, Jesus presents a picture of a very loving God who wants everyone to be in harmony with Him. He is seeking to awaken a loving response in each of us. God knows and loves each of us personally, as parents know and love their children. God will give good things to those who ask:

"For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. "Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? "Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (NAS, Matthew 7:8-11)

Like children, some of us return God's love, and some do not. Nevertheless, He loves all of us. God's gifts of love and salvation are freely offered to all, even to those who choose the path of wickedness.

... He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (NIV, Matthew 5:45)

God is also merciful. He is always willing to forgive a truly repentant sinner and give him or her another chance. Even when we sin, we can be assured that God still loves us and seeks to bring us back into harmony with Him. However, it is up to us; we can accept or reject God's love. No matter how far our lives have drifted away from God, we must never be discouraged and think we are beyond hope!

"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? "And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance. (NAS, Luke 15:4-7)

One day Jesus was speaking with the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who was intrigued by Jesus' teaching but was more than a bit skeptical. Jesus told Nicodemus that God loved the people He had created so much that He sent Jesus to save them from the forces of evil and their own sinful ways. Those who put their trust in Jesus and His teachings could be born again spiritually and be part of God's spiritual kingdom. They could even defeat the power of death and attain eternal spiritual life! It was in this conversation with Nicodemus that Jesus spoke one of the most loved and quoted verses of the Bible:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. (NAS, John 3:16-17)

Related verses: Matthew 5:43-48, Matthew 6:25-30, Matthew 10:29-31, Luke 6:35-38, John 10:11-12.

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