“The LORD is on my side.” (Psa. 118:6)
How can we develop our love for God so that our obedience is prompted by love instead of some lesser motive? The Scripture gives us our first clue, or beginning point, when it says, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love to God can only be a response to His love for us. If I don’t believe God loves me, I cannot love Him. To love God, I must believe that He is for me, not against me (Romans 8:31) and that He accepts me as a son or a daughter, not a slave (Galatians 4:7). What would keep us from believing God loves us? The answer is a sense of guilt and condemnation because of our sin. The same tender conscience that enables us to become aware of sins that lie deep beneath the level of external actions can also load us down with guilt. When we’re under that burden and sense of condemnation, it is difficult to love God or believe that He loves us. We cannot love God if we think we’re under His judgment and condemnation. James Fraser said, “But whilst the conscience retains the charge of guilt, condemnation, and wrath, there cannot be purity, or sincerity of heart toward God, or sincerity of the love of God. Human nature is so formed, that it cannot love any object that is adverse and terrible to it.” This means we must continually take those sins that our consciences accuse us of to the cross and plead the cleansing blood of Jesus. Only the blood of Christ cleanses our consciences so that we may no longer feel guilty (Hebrews 9:14; 10:2).