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God's Love

“Our world today does not like the idea that we are not okay as we are. They might even say “God loves you just as you are,” and by that they often mean that God loves us even in our sinful state. And that is true – He loves us no matter what. But if we say “God loves you as you are” and we mean “So you do not have to change,” then we do not understand the love of God. God does love us as we are, but He loves us so much that He will not leave us as we are. God seeks our resurrection and transfiguration. He loves us with such power that He will not leave us in our sins. And that is why the most basic preaching of the Gospel, not just from St. John the Baptist but also from Jesus Himself is, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)

“Many Churches use language like “come as you are” and “God loves and accepts you as you are” and the like to attract people. You’re likely reading this thinking what is wrong with that. The problem with… their general message is that what is being communicated is only half of the equation, so to speak. Yes, come are you are as a start and God indeed loves you. However, what these ads should also say is be then prepared to feel totally uncomfortable as you begin to transform on your path to becoming all God wants you to be.” (Sacramental Living)

“For our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). For the righteous the love of God is a purifying, illumining, and deifying fire. For the unrighteous it is a burning fire…Love is fire. All who love truly know this: God is Love, and God is Fire. God’s fire will consume those who are not fire themselves, and render bright and shining all those who are fire themselves.” (Clark Carlton, Alexander Kalomiros)

“God can only give His love. But those who, closed in on themselves, cannot freely accept this divine love on the day of judgment, will experience God’s love as unbearable fire. The uncreated light is total awareness…Hell is not eternity: it is nonexistence that refuses eternity. ‘It is not correct to say that sinners in hell are deprived of the love of God…But love acts in two different ways. To the outcasts it becomes suffering and to the blessed it becomes joy’” (St. Isaac the Syrian)

“God is clear that God does not think or reason like a human – the difference between human logic or actions and divine ones, in God’s measurement, is the distance between heaven and earth, an irrational number for sure. This happens to be the same distance which measures God’s love: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him…” (Psalm 103:11). Fascinating that the biblical imagery used to describe the greatness of God’s love is distance. What distances us from God is not so much disbelief but a lack of love. So when we feel separated from God or abandoned by God or that God is not present in our lives, what we need to realize is what we are experiencing is the difference between God’s love and our own love (or lack thereof). Too often we only think that what separates us from God is our sins and the cure is pious repentance. What we need to look for is God’s love in order to kindle that same love in our hearts and lives. The reality is even sin can’t separate us from God’s love. As St. Paul puts it: “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“One of the amazing things about our God is God’s willingness to empty Himself in love for us and for our salvation…Though He is the King of Heaven, Christ comes to earth as a servant of humanity….not only does God suffer pain for us through being flogged and then nailed to the cross, those wounds and scars have become a permanent part of His body, even His resurrected body. In fact, Christ cherishes that He was able to suffer for us in order to save us.  His wounds which heal us (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24) are also a sign of His love and what was necessary to save us from sin and death.  Such is God’s love for us humans.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“But this is the most astounding thing of all. Not only did He endure the most terrible pains and die from His wounds, but also, after He came to life and raised up His body from corruption, He still retained those wounds. He bears the scars upon His body and with them appears to the eyes of the angels; He regards them as an ornament and rejoices to show how He suffered terrible things. While He discards the other features that belong to the body and possesses a spiritual body without weight or dimensions or any other physical condition, He has by no means discarded the scars, nor has He wholly rid Himself of the wounds. He saw fit to cherish them because of His affection for man, because by means of them He found him who was last, and by being wounded He laid hold on him whom He loved.” (St. Nicholas Cabasilas) 

“To explain how the Son of God could share our frailty, St. John Chrysostom says that the Lord assumed our “sinful flesh.” He writes about the Lord’s humanness, “In nature, it was the same with us, but in sin not… the same”…In other words, Christ assumed our “fallen nature” and therefore was subject to all the trials and temptations that we face. Thus, the apostle writes that He can sympathize with all who “are ignorant and going astray” (Hebrews 5:2). Moreover, this identification not only enables Christ to be compassionate. His sharing of our fallen nature is the essence of His compassion. The Greek word for “compassion” is derived from the thought of “gentleness” and suggests the treatment of others with mildness…Therefore, The New King James Version translates the phrase as “able to deal gently”…We might say that the Lord knows us “from inside out” since he became one of us. He, therefore, understands our human condition and is kind and forgiving to us.” (Fr. Basil)

“Christ reveals to us that He not only loves those who suffer, but He becomes those who suffer (Matt. 25:40). Christ becomes what we are, uniting us to Himself, that we might become what He is. On the Cross, we see, not only the suffering of God, but the suffering of the whole world, everywhere and through all time. Like Joseph the Patriarch, we are able to say of suffering, “You meant it to me for evil, but the Lord meant it to me for good.” (Gen. 50:20) With this in mind, we are able to give thanks always and for things, not because we think suffering itself is good, but because the One who alone is good has Himself become our suffering. By the same token, when we ourselves do good to those who are in need, and unite ourselves to them, we also unite ourselves to God whose providence cares for all at all times and all places.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“The life circumstances you are living out right now, every day, are designed for your spiritual growth. All the twists and turns of your life, including those that you might not have chosen, have been especially customized to assist in your spiritual growth and ultimate well-being. Everything that happens to you is a manifestation of God’s love, even if you can’t tell how.” (Robin Phillips)

“If we begin with Christ Himself, what then do we know of God? We know that God loves us, that He is utterly committed to our true well-being, that His love is self-emptying and sacrificial. We know, in Christ, what the “image” of God looks like, and what it means to be created in that image. We know that the self-emptying love of God, shown forth on the Cross, is the “wisdom, word, and power” of God. In Christ, we know the nature of the “good.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves…The person who knows beyond any doubt that God loves him will have stability in life…True security in this world rests only in God’s love When we are confident that God loves us, fear is cast out…We are so preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it. No created being can ever know how much and how sweetly and tenderly God loves them. It is only with the help of his grace that we are able to persevere in spiritual contemplation with endless wonder at his high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in his goodness has for us.” (St. John Chrysostom, Frank Hammond, Julian of Norwich)

“We have all internalized lies from the master of deception. These lies may serve as faulty foundations upon which we build our lives…For example, a person…may have embraced the Gospel and committed his life to Jesus. He knows with his mind that God loves him, and he may even have had a profound experience of God’s love. But in the depths of his soul he cannot accept the love of God and the truth that through Jesus he is worthy of that love…despite the Bible affirmation that we are created in the image and likeness of God, we don't seem to appreciate that God loves us for who we are as real people (our “ordinary” selves). Instead we seem to reject our birthright at times. We move through the world feeling bad about ourselves (because of our mistakes and sins), and we forget about God's deep love—a love that should be the solid basis of a self-esteem which would enable us to form sound relationships with others.” (Neal Lozano, Robert J. Wicks)

“How can we strive and be carefree at the same time? Aren’t they opposites? Yes and no. It is like a child who wants to please her mother by making her bed for the first time. She tries, but she fails, she doesn’t do a very good job. But she is carefree because she knows her mother will appreciate her trying her best and will be able to fix any mistakes she makes. She knows her mother loves her. Our problem is we do not know that God loves us—more than even the most loving mother.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“One of the reasons we ourselves need to understand and grow in God’s love for us is to be able to express this love to others in both words, and more importantly, actions. We, all of us, most often experience God through other people. When people know they are loved by others, and I mean really know, then they experience and know that God loves them. This is our responsibility to each other and what God expects from us because of how He loves us. Christ said, “Love on another as I have loved you” (John 13:34, 15:2). There is so much freedom in this way of being, freedom from toxic shame, guilt, pride and all kinds of other weapons of the enemy that we wield all to often and readily.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)

“It is very hard for us to believe that God loves us as much as He does. It’s hard to believe because our hearts and minds are so caught up in this empty and ever-changing world. We think we have life in this world somewhat figured out, and just then, WHAM!, everything changes. And we wonder, if God loves us, why is life so painful and confusing? When times are good for us, we can come up with all sorts of arguments to explain away the pain of others and the existential angst we occasionally experience in our wealth and privilege. But when times are bad, all logic and arguments fail. Then what we think we believe is stripped down to what we actually believe. And sometimes we are frightened by just how paltry our faith seems to be, frightened by how quickly we lose the certainty that we had a short time ago.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“The Lord loves us more dearly than we can love ourselves…But the soul [person] in her distress supposes that the Lord has forgotten her, even has no wish to look upon her, and she suffers and pines. But [this] is not so, brethren. The Lord loves us without end, and gives us the grace of the Holy Spirit, and comforts us. It is not the Lord’s desire that the soul should be despondent and in doubt concerning her salvation. Believe and be sure that we continue in suffering only until we humble ourselves; but so soon as we humble ourselves there is an end to affliction, for the Divine Spirit discloses to the soul, because of her humility, that she is saved.” (St. Silouan of Mt. Athos)

“God is not watching our every step in order to find fault with us. Rather, God in His love is always looking to embrace us and keep us united to Him. God is love – this is an eternal truth which the Fathers saw as sacrosanct and incontrovertible. The Scriptures do speak of God’s wrath and judgment, but the Fathers maintained those ideas must be read within the truth and context that God is love, not as additional truths or contradictions to God’s own nature. God’s judgments are meant to correct, teach and heal us, rather than merely inflict punishment and retribution on us. God patiently awaits for us to turn to Him and to accept the love which He offers us…God offers love to us, but we have to decide whether to embrace God’s love and abide in it. We have to decide whether God’s love will become the basis of our own lives.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“Divine Love is comparable to the atmospheric pressure surrounding us, which sustains each being and also exerts pressure from all sides. Love lays siege to each being and seeks to discover an opening, a path leading into the heart, by means of which Love can permeate everywhere. The difference between the sinner and the saint is that the sinner closes his heart to Love while the saint opens himself to this same Love. In both cases the Love is the same and the pressure is the same.” (Fr. Lev Gillet, Fr. Michael Plekon)

“All suffering, however, regardless of its apparent immediate source, can be understood as the wrath of God. But we must never forget that we call it God’s wrath because of how we feel and how we experience it, not because God is at all angry or vengeful. Rather, God both allows and brings about suffering in our lives as a doctor treating a patient. What patient after major surgery has not experienced the wrath of the physical therapist? Healing the body is often painful…God loves us so much that He receives us, and receives us with joy, the way we are. But He loves us too much to allow us to stay the way we are.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“Some pious and confused souls torture themselves trying to establish their righteousness before God by arbitrary calculation. They turn their relationship with God into a matter of quantifiable reckoning and seek to accumulate as many good deeds, or “works,” as possible – as if these works will offset their sins and offenses and create a favorable balance sheet on the Day of Judgment (Mk 10:17-27). Saint Paul urges us to reject the idea of gaining a superior record of good works, based on the notion that God will then owe us eternal life. Our sins always outweigh our good deeds, leaving us reckoned as unrighteous before God. The apostle suggests that righteousness is possible if we believe in God and accept the truth that God alone justifies the ungodly and reckons sinners as righteous before Him (Rom 4:5). The experience of King David is offered by Saint Paul as an example of how “God imputes righteousness apart from works” (vs. 6).” (Dynamis 6/29/2021)

“SYNERGISM (from Gr. syn: same, together; ergos: energy, work) Working together, the act of cooperation. In referring to the New Testament, synergism is the idea of being "workers together with" God (2 Cor. 6:1), or of working "out your own salvation . . . for it is God who works in you" (Phil. 2:12, 13). This is not a cooperation between "equals," but finite man working together with Almighty God. Nor does synergism suggest working for, or earning, salvation. God offers salvation by His grace, and man's ability to cooperate also is a grace. Therefore, man responds to salvation through cooperation with God's grace in living faith, righteous works and rejection of evil (James 2:14-26).” (Orthodox Study Bible Glossary)

“The righteousness that God values is more than refraining from sin. It is actively turning toward others and offering them the help they need…We are not saved by good deeds, but when we commit our life fully to God, we want to please Him and do His will. As such, our good deeds are a grateful response to what God has done, not a prerequisite to earning His favor.” (Life Application Study Bible, Isaiah 11:4-5, Romans 2:7)

“Loving God and loving neighbor is not how we earn our way into God’s family and Kingdom. Rather, they are our response to God creating us as His children and for lovingly and forgivingly welcoming us back into His fold even though, like the Prodigal Son, we claimed the world as belonging to us and not to Him and turned our back on Him to follow our own whim and will. Knowing that despite all of this, God the Father still loves the world and us, we can enter into His love and be filled with it and united to God for all eternity. Christ’s parable of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25:31-46 really can be interpreted to be God asking us: I loved you and love you, what did you do with the love and life I gave you? Like the goats, we can say, I spent it all on myself. Or, like the sheep, we can say, I used it to love my neighbor, the stranger, my enemy, and the least of Your brothers and sisters.” (Fr. Ted Bobosh)

“We are so preciously loved by God that we cannot even comprehend it. No created being can ever know how much and how sweetly and tenderly God loves them. It is only with the help of his grace that we are able to persevere in spiritual contemplation with endless wonder at his high, surpassing, immeasurable love which our Lord in his goodness has for us.” (Julian of Norwich)

“God’s tender love is ineffable. He offers Himself to those who with all their faith believe that God can dwell in the human body and make it His glorious abode. God built heaven and earth to be the dwelling place of the human race. But He also built the human body and soul to make them His own abode, so that He might dwell therein and rest there as in a well-kept house.” (St. Makarios the Great)

“Though exalted far above our nature and inaccessible to all approach, like a tender mother who joins in the inarticulate utterances of her baby, [God] gives to our human nature what it is capable of receiving. Thus, in the various manifestations of God to humanity He adapts Himself to humankind and speaks in human language and assumes wrath and pity and other emotions, so that through feelings corresponding to our own, our infantile life might be led as by the hand and lay hold of the divine nature by means of the words which His foresight has given.” (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

"Hope is the intellect's surest pledge of divine help and promises the destruction of hostile powers. Love makes it difficult or, rather, makes it utterly impossible for the intellect to estrange itself from the tender care of God; and when the intellect is under attack, love impels it to concentrate its whole natural power into longing for the divine" (St. Maximos the Confessor)

“The gray matter of the brain will one day crumble and decay, but the tenderness of the heart is from everlasting to everlasting and in touching it we have touched immortality.” (Agnes Sanford)

"Our psychology is such that memory throws unexpected images before us, it can torment us with guilt over our past deeds. Often we know how terrible the things are we have done and a part of us shrinks away at the very thought of them. Faith in God’s love leads us beyond this habit; it reassures us that what has been confessed and absolved is truly wiped away. The devil would rather have us hide away from God in shame." (Father Spyridon Baily)

“Due to our lack of complete trust in God’s revelation that we are made in the divine image and likeness, most of us get caught up in trying to be extraordinary. We become insecure and are tempted to rest our sense of self on something less than God’s love for us. As a result, we waste our energy worrying about whether we are liked, respected, effective, or as good as other people.” (Robert J. Wicks)

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ. Sadly, too often we hear those words and aren’t able to apply them to how we live on a day-to-day basis...No matter what the circumstances, no matter how much we mess up, no matter how many powerful forces there are that would try to damage our relationship with Him, God will be there for us with His love.” (Foundation Study Bible, Romans 8:39) “We all feel that this Divine love is somehow very far away, that God is very far away when, in fact, it is we who are moving further away from Him.” (Elder Thaddeus Of Vitovnica)

“To ask that God’s love should be content with us as we are is to ask that God should cease to be God: because He is what He is, His love must, in the nature of things, be impeded and repelled by certain stains in our present character, and because He already loves us He must labor to make us lovable.” (C.S. Lewis)

“The believer can rejoice and rest in the knowledge that God is present in every place and every situation in life.” (Foundation Study Bible, Psalms 139:7-12)

“The Scriptures and man's experience both bear witness that all things work together for good to those who love God. Setbacks and difficulties there will be, but God turns them into “light affliction” (2Co 4:17, 18; 12:9, 10).” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:28-30)

“He never gives more than we are able to endure. For people who love God, all things work for good. Pray and beseech God to give you faith and patience—to be freed from thoughts of despair.” (Elder Ieronymos of Aegina)

“If you are having a difficult time, you are not alone. It is the very nature of human life. That same struggle, however, united with Christ in His Cross, becomes transformative – not in the manner that the world expects, but in the likeness of the Crucified and Risen Christ.” (Father Stephen Freeman)

“Nothing provides more lasting peace and joy in all circumstances than a strong faith that is a direct result of a relationship with Christ. The more anyone grows in faith due to this relationship the more they will be at peace with their lives because they will feel God’s presence and grace in all circumstances.” (Sacramental Living)

“Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ. Sadly, too often we hear those words and aren’t able to apply them to how we live on a day-to-day basis...No matter what the circumstances, no matter how much we mess up, no matter how many powerful forces there are that would try to damage our relationship with Him, God will be there for us with His love.” (Foundation Study Bible, Romans 8:39)

“Believers have always had to face hardships in many forms: persecution, illness, imprisonment, and even death. These sometimes cause them to fear that they have been abandoned by Christ. But Paul exclaims that it is impossible to be separated from Christ. His death for us is proof of his unconquerable love. Nothing can separate us from Christ’s constant presence with us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 8:35-39)

“While nothing external can separate us from the love of God, we can choose to reject Him by our own free will. Nevertheless, even those who remain in eternal rebellion against God are still loved by Him. Even our rejection of God cannot take away His love for us.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Romans 8:38-39)

"Sometimes you may feel God is hard on you and doesn't love you... Truth is He Loves you too much to leave you the way you are." (Follow Jesus)

“God’s tender love is ineffable. He offers Himself to those who with all their faith believe that God can dwell in the human body and make it His glorious abode. God built heaven and earth to be the dwelling place of the human race. But He also built the human body and soul to make them His own abode, so that He might dwell therein and rest there as in a well-kept house." (St.Macarius the Great)

“...our self-worth is based on the fact that God loves us and calls us His children...This is perhaps the hardest truth of any to grasp. Do we wake up every morning amazed that we are loved by God?...The burden of life is from ourselves, its lightness from the grace of Christ and the love of God.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 3:1, David Ford, William Bernard Ullanthorne)

“God, from the depth of His being, is love. This love is not limited to a one-time action, nor bound by a conditional time-frame. God’s love flows out of His essence…God’s love is freely given, conditioned neither by our worthiness nor by any claim we might make on the Lord… The love of God is an expression of divine faithfulness.” (Dynamis 7/1/2013, Dynamis 4/29/2014)

“When we begin to realize and truly feel the depth of the love that God has for us, and the profound love Christ displayed by taking our place on the cross, we can begin to return that love, and then turn around and extend that love to other people.” (Richard A. Grumberg)

"One could say the whole battle of Christian life, the very purpose of asceticism, is to acquire divine love." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

"…active, tangible love for others is part of righteousness. And active love for others grows out of our life in Christ. United to Christ, who is true knowledge, we come to know the love of God for ourselves, and the Lord leads us in turn to love others so that we may attain peace…"The greatest thing that happens between God and the human soul is to love and to be loved." (Dynamis 3/25/2015, Kallistos Kataphygiotis)

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