It is a question that many believers have asked. It is often on the mind of the downcast and discouraged. “Does Jesus love me?” It may be a nagging doubt or an agonizing cry of the heart—possibly quite similar to Psalm 22:1. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” sounds much like, “God, do you really love me?”
While this may be a common experience for the Christian, we must look to the not-very-common answer. In other words, we need the biblically satisfying solution to such deep longing.
To arrive there, we begin where the Scriptures begin, and not with our own subjective experience. We so easily look to ourselves for the answer: “Do I feel loved? Am I really all that lovable? Have I obeyed Jesus enough that He would love me?” But all these subjective attempts at comfort are no comfort at all. Who among us has ever-steady emotions? Who, biblically speaking, is lovable in their own right? Who could ever obey enough to be acceptable in their own righteousness before a holy God? The Scriptures are clear on these points: no one.
No, the solution to this fundamental question is not in ourselves. Rather, it is in the person and work of Jesus. When the Scriptures encourage us with the reality of Christ’s love for His people, they always look to Him and never to us.
“But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, BSB). Don’t miss how that verse begins: “God proves his love for us.” How is it that we know God loves us? He sent Christ to save us even when we were yet His enemies. Elsewhere, the Apostle John argues the exact same way: “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). When we doubt the love of God in our lives, we must look to what Christ has objectively done for us, in that He came, He pursued, He sought us, He saved. After all, this was the very reason Christ came into the world: to seek and to save His people (Luke 19:10).
This type of love, a love that originates entirely in God and not in our own loveliness, is at the heart of biblical “unconditional love,” or agape love. God’s perfect love flows from Him and is entirely of Him, as He places it upon us. While we are devoid of everything lovable, excellent, praiseworthy, or beautiful, God lavishes His love upon us. He did this “in order to make known the riches of his glory,” as Romans 9:15–23 makes clear. The love that God shows us, now His children in Christ, is entirely free and gracious, flowing from Him to us, not because of us, but entirely because of Him.
Once we can comprehend this type of love, it is a glorious and encouraging reality. Human love is so often grounded in the object of our love, which is why people speak of “falling in and out of love.” What makes our hearts sing one day leaves us disappointed and despairing the next. We can be so fickle. Then we take our ever-changing, always-conditional love, and read our humanness back into God. We think He loves like we love. May it never be. The unmerited love that God displays toward us is of an entirely different kind. Listen to how Ephesians 1 describes it: “He chose us . . . before the foundation of the world . . . in love . . . according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4–6).
He chose us in Christ. He perfectly loves Jesus, described here as “the Beloved.” That is who Christ is—the loved one of God. And out of Himself, He loves us just as He loves Christ, and this from all eternity. Could there be any greater news?
If ever there is a question about whether God loves us, the biblical solution is not to look to ourselves, our love, or our faithfulness. Instead, we are called to look at the objective reality of what God has done for us in Christ. We are to ground our certainty and assurance of His love in who He is and what He has done—not in ourselves, which is ever-shifting sand.
As biblical theologian Geerhardus Vos famously said, “The best proof that He will never cease to love us” is “that He never began.” Jesus has loved us from all eternity. He has always and will always love His people—His sheep—His precious chosen ones. As the children’s song so simply and profoundly puts it, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” May this be all the answer to the question “Does Jesus love me?” we ever need. The answer, in Christ, is “yes.”