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SALVATION QUESTION 216
How can God really love me as a sinner?
Because of the holy nature of God, it is very hard to understand how He can love sinful man. There are two Greek words used for love in our Bible:
1) The Greek word “phileo” which means to love as a friend, ‘to be fond of’. It is an affectionate love. God does not love sinners with phileo love. In fact God hates sinners and is angry with them every day, “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity” (Psalm 5:5); “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth” (Psalm 10:3); “God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11).
2)The other Greek word is “agapao” which is a type of love that does not necessarily come from the affections. It is unlike phileo love in that it ‘loves the unlovable’. It is an attitude toward others that is unconditional. It does not have to like the person it loves. It is this word that is almost exclusively used for God’s love toward sinners, not phileo. God looks upon us with a compassionate and not an affectionate love. There is nothing likeable about unclean sinners to a Holy God, but His love is unconditional. He loves all sinners, because He is love. He looks at sinners and has a merciful heart toward them. This type of love always reaches out to others. It has a beneficial attitude and action toward others; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God did not like the world of sinners with a phileo love, but He looked upon us with a compassionate love and reached out to us with an action that would benefit all mankind - “He gave His only begotten Son.”
In God’s compassionate love He has mercy on the sinner that repents and trusts in His Son whom He gave to redeem us from our sins. Have you trusted Him? If not, why not today?