In this message, Dr. Stanley puts us at ease with the knowledge that there is nothing we can do to change God’s love for us. Learn to exchange anxiety for a sense of real peace, depression for genuine joy, and fear for a great sense of confidence as you begin to understand how God loves you. For more messages from Charles Stanley, including this week’s broadcast, go to



timeless truths

a collection of classic sermons from dr

charles stanley

today’s selection recorded in 1997

the unconditional love of god

if you listen to this message very

carefully here’s what will happen to

your life

you’ll be able to exchange your anxiety

for a sense of real peace your


but genuine joy and your fear

for great sense of confidence now you

may ask the question well how do

you think one sermon can make all that

much difference in my life

because i want to tell you not only that

god loves you

but i want to explain to you how

god loves you and once you begin to


how god loves you things can never be

the same again in fact

it could absolutely revolutionize your


and so i want to encourage you that if

you have a bible

that you’ll find it i’ll give you a

moment to find it and if you have it

here with you today of course we want

you to turn in just a moment to a

passive scripture

i’m just going to read one verse to

begin with but then i’m going to read

several other verses but it’d be very

good if you had a bible

and maybe a pencil and a piece of paper

to jot down a few things that i am

sure will be helpful to you if you will


very carefully i simply want to answer

one question in this message and what is

that question

the question is this does god

love me unconditionally

does god love me unconditionally all of

us believe that somehow he loves us


at times in certain ways does he love me

unconditionally and i want you to turn

if you will to begin with the romans

chapter 5. romans chapter 5 which is a

great chapter

of paul’s description explanation

of how god has justified us and the

peace that we have as a result

of god declaring us not guilty through

the death of jesus christ and so

he says in verse 8 a wonderful verse of

scripture a great word of assurance to

all of us

listen to what he says he says but god

demonstrates his own love toward us

in that while we were sinners christ

died for us

not after we got better not after we


not after we were saved not after we

made him some promises

not after things got a little better not

after we laid down some sins

not after we dropped some habits god

loved us

while we were yet sinners in the most

wicked state we could be in

in our most vile position god loved us

in that while we were yet sinners christ

died for us which means that jesus

christ went to the cross

motivated by his love for you in me

sent by the father out of his love for

us in

our deepest moments of darkness and sin

disobedience and rebellion almighty

god loved you and me

well throughout all the scriptures

there’s the declaration of god’s love

it’s found everywhere

and so i want us to think about some of

those verses if we might

and if you recall and we all know what

john 3 16 says for god

so loved the world that he gave his only

begotten son that whoever believes in

him will not perish but have everlasting


then you recall in first john over

toward the back of your bible

the little epistle of first john in the

third chapter how he begins this third

chapter listen to what he says

he says see how great a love the father

has bestowed upon us

that we should be called the children of

god and such

we are listen to that see how great a

love the father has bestowed upon us

that he should call us the children of

god and such we are

and then if you’ll just turn over to the

fourth chapter of that same little book

the fourth chapter and notice what he

says in

verse 8. he says the one who does not


does not know god for god is love

and what he’s simply saying in this

passage is here is the character of god

the character of god is that he is love

that is the very character of god he’s

the god of love

now oftentimes when we think of god’s

love we think of god’s love the way

we sometimes love other people and so

what happens when we don’t understand

some things it’s because

we don’t understand the correct biblical


so love is not in in the eyes of god is

not some emotion that he has though

there is an emotion in it

but it’s more than an emotion it is a

commitment listen

when god says he loves us he’s making a

commitment it is an

expression of his commitment to our


so when you say well does god love me

you have to ask yourself this question

does god love me unconditionally i know

that he loves me but does he love me

unconditionally you say well now what do

you mean by unconditional well

if something is unconditional that is if

love is unconditional it has no

restrictions it has no limitations

that is unconditional love is


non-limited love there’s nothing that

limits it nothing that restricts it it

is absolutely

the full flow of almighty god poured out

upon you and me

limited for example if his love is


then that means there are restrictions

that means there are certain limitations

and so therefore when we say that god

loves us

and his love is unlimited at me that


it has no restrictions you cannot

measure it

it is there with all of its fullness no


no restrictions whatsoever now there are

some reasons

people do not believe that god’s love um

they just can’t believe it’s


one of the reasons i think is that

somehow in our thinking as we think


how we think about his love we think

about how we love other people

now i don’t know about you but i’ll just

be absolutely honest with you if you ask


do i love people absolutely

unconditionally here’s my answer

as much as i love the lord and as much

as i want to be obedient to him and as

much as i want to grow in him and

i’ve been a christian a long time if i

answer you honestly i’ll have to tell


i have not reached that place in my

spiritual growth where i can say yes

i love everybody unconditionally no

matter what i’m not there

and i would like for all of you who are

there to stand

right we’re just honest aren’t we

i mean i don’t know in fact i don’t know

of anybody who loves absolutely


now i think at times in life we think we

love people and we love them

unconditionally but you see the truth is

we don’t really know

whether we do or not because there may

be some people in our lives

that will test everything in us and we

think well i’m gonna i’m gonna love them


and yet we don’t know whether we really

have the capacity i mean ultimately

if under certain conditions i mean

really bad evil vile conditions

if we really have the if we really have

it within us to love them

unconditionally i’m not saying no one

does i’m just telling you

that if i’m honest with myself i can’t

say that i love

everybody unconditionally and sometimes

i think lord

sometimes it doesn’t take much condition

for me not to love some things in life

and so

because we all have that potential to be


now so one of the reasons it’s hard for

us to believe is because we don’t

a second reason is because it’s just

natural and it’s sort of a natural

response to safe

well it’s it’s natural to love some

people unconditionally and some not

in other words it’s just natural a third

reason is because i think

sometimes we experience guilt in our

life and and that guilt in our life is

such that we think well how in the world

could god love me unconditionally

uh when when this is true of my life

sometimes it’s because

we just don’t feel worthy of it uh we

think well

certainly i’m not worthy of god’s

unconditional love

sometimes it’s because of legalistic

teaching that we’ve heard

and then of course i think understanding

that oftentimes we don’t understand the

love of god

that it isn’t some mushy emotional


but it’s rather a a personal genuine

commitment to our well-being it is god

listen it is god

unselfishly giving of himself for our


goodness taught us in blessing toward us

so sometimes it’s a misunderstanding

of the whole idea of what it means and

then of course i think one of the

primary reasons

is that there seems to be a conflict

in the teaching of scripture concerning

god’s unconditional love and such things


divine discipline which causes pain and


and god’s anger and his wrath and such

things as hell and judgment how in the


can you say that god loves us


and at the same time that god would

spank us whip us discipline us chastise

us how can you say that god’s love is


when god when the bible speaks of god’s

anger and his wrath

how can you say that god’s love is

unconditional if he provides a judgment

and that there’s a hell out there for

people to die and be lost for all


how can you say that well what i want us

to look at for a few moments is to see

if we can reconcile

those things well let’s take them one at

a time and think in terms of

first of all let me say that because

they appear to be unloving

they appear to be unloving does not mean

they’re unloving acts of god

now let’s take for example god’s divine


well let’s distinguish between what

discipline is what it’s not

punishment is god executing his

judgment upon the wicked discipline

listen discipline is god’s correction

of one of his children in order to

protect us from further disobedience

and to protect us from further harmful

consequences in our life and so he

disciplines or chastens us and ought to

do what

to get us back in the center of his will

for our own good

and we said so now that’s divine

discipline is there a contradiction in


and saying that god’s love is his

unselfish giving of himself

taught us so that he can send blessing

and goodness into our life

is it a contradiction to god’s

commitment to us

for our listen for those things that are

good for us

our good will taught us no there’s no


now all right so that’s probably the

simplest one what about this whole

idea of the wrath of god look at the

gospel of john

here again jesus is talking about

believing and trusting in him

and in the third chapter of the gospel

of john look at that if you will

the last verse of this third chapter the

36th verse

listen to what he says he says

he who believes in the son has eternal


but he who does not believe that is

placing a trust in him as savior

does not believe the son shall not does

not obey the son

speaking of faith shall not see life

but the wrath of god abides on him now

listen friend

you say well now i’m not a christian you

mean to tell me that that i’m under

the threat of god’s judgment i’m under

the threat of god’s wrath well let’s

read it again

here’s what he says he who believes in

the son which means

believing in the lord jesus christ as

the son of almighty god

he says that person believe has eternal


but he who does not obey the son which


what he’s saying is is obeying him by

placing that trust in him and his death

at calvary

for the forgiveness of our sin shall not

see life that is eternal life

but the wrath of god abides on him he

didn’t say it was coming and going

if you have rejected the lord jesus

christ if you have refused him

as your savior here’s what he says he

says my friend

that you are living under you are

abiding under

you are living under the threat of the

wrath and the judgment of god

and if you die without the lord jesus

christ you will experience

listen you will experience the wrath of

god you said now wait a minute

how can how can god have this wrath over


if he loves me well there’s no

contradiction in god’s eyes now watch

this because you see

love in order to be true genuine godly


is not listen you you have to have love

and justice

mixed god isn’t just a god of love and

no justice

if there is no justice then there is no

love you see

while while god says all sin must be


that’s the will and the listen that that

is the law of almighty god

all sin will be punished on the other


you have the love of god and what has

god said

because man has sinned against me and

because he’s lost

and he’s hopeless in my love i’m going

to send my only begotten son

he’s going to die on the cross all of

man’s sin will be placed upon him

he has the awesome privilege of being

forgiven of every single solitary sin

so in god’s in god’s justice

sin has to be punished in god’s love he

himself provides

what he provides that punishment in the

death of his son

now here’s the issue watch this

because god loves us unconditionally

and because he’s a god of justice and

you cannot separate those two

they go hand in hand you see for love to

be listen for love to be genuine godly

love there’s got to be a right and wrong

just dishing out anything i want any

time i want it’s not god loving me

i may not like his restrictions i may

not like what he withholds

but if in his wisdom and love he does it

he does it for our good

we say oh yes i believe in romans 8 28

for god is working all things together

for good does that mean

my pain yes restrictions yes limitations


you see on the one hand we can take one

scripture and we love that one

but then when we say he says asking it

shall be given you seek and you shall

find well god here’s what i asked for

you didn’t give it if you love me you

can give it no

if he withheld it it’s because he’s

loving us

because he’s loving us that’s the reason

he withholds

some things for us that we think well

god if you loved me then

here’s what you would do well when i

think about that and think about

the fact that uh he’s going to withhold

some things you think about this

if god overlooked sin in your life and

mine let’s be honest if he just

overlooked it

that wouldn’t be loving us okay let’s go

one step further

what about this whole idea of hell how

in the world could god love anybody


and allow them to die and go to hell

because the bible says it is an eternal

separation from god

it is the eternal separation from

everything that is good

and so when a person dies without christ

somebody says well i don’t believe in

hell you know what

that has nothing to do with it whether

you believe in it or not my friend i

warn you with all of my heart

in love whether you believe in it or not

is not

going to change the truth the awful

horrible truth that god created hell

for that listen for the devil and his

angels he did not create hell to send

people that he created for the devil and

his angels the fallen angels

those who reject the lord jesus christ

those who rebel against god

those who play god those who act like


he says they’ll be eternally separated

from god well how could

god love people and allow that to happen


you cannot listen you cannot separate

his justice from

his listen from his love now watch this

we have the idea that because somebody

is separated from god for eternity or

stands at that judgment all of a sudden

they want to repent they want to get

right with god there’s not a verse in

the scripture that proves it

not a one turn if you will to revelation

chapter six here’s a good example

revelation chapter 6 is an example of

what is going to happen

in in the tribulation period those seven

years after god has taken away his


in those seven years there will be the

latter part of those seven years

an awful horrible judgment of god when

the wrath of god comes upon man

not just one time but in different ways

and you can read the revelation

from that fourth chapter on and see it

but listen to what he says now

beginning in verse 12. this is john’s

he sees what god’s doing and i looked

when he broke the sixth seal and there

was a great earthquake

and the sun became black as sackcloth

made of hair

and the whole moon became like blood and

the stars of the sky

fell to the earth as the fig tree cast

its unripe figs when

shaken by a great wind and the sky was

split apart

like a scroll when it’s rolled up and

every mountain and island were moved out

of their places and the kings of the


and the great men and the commanders and

the rich and the strong and every slave

and every free man hid themselves in the

caves and among the rocks of the


and they said to the mountains and the

rocks fall on us hide us from the

presence of him who sits on the throne

from the wrath of the lamb for the great

day of that wrath has come and who is

able to stand not

one verse not one plea god forgive us

we repent of our sin we confess our sin

rescue us god forgive us have

mercy upon us none of that why because

my friend when a person dies

their character is fixed

listen god in his love has offered


to mankind god will never say to someone

i want to be saved he’s going to say no

there’s no evidence that anybody’s

crying out for salvation

what are they doing their heart they

want to hide from their judgment

because you see when a person dies

without christ they stand the presence

of almighty god

they see what god sees now let’s think

about this

is it not true that even those of us who

believe us do we not say sometimes and

don’t we feel like

what do we think we think god i feel so

unworthy of being saved

i feel so unworthy of your forgiveness

and listen

we haven’t even come to the judgment

even we know even we understand we don’t

deserve his grace and deserve his


think about how many times god has

forgiven you of your sin

think about how many times he has wiped

away the penalty how many times in his

grace and mercy and goodness how many

times he’s come to you

and poured out goodness to you to get

you to understand god’s love for you to

bring you to repentance so you’ll get

back in the will of god

is it not true that even we feel


of the grace and the goodness and the

love and the mercy of god in the in

heaven surely we do

and we’re still here living in it the

unbeliever will know

he and she deserve eternal separation

from god

does god cease to love them the moment

of judgment or the moment of hell

no he does not you know what

when a person dies and is eternally

separated from god there’s not a verse

in the bible that says that god stops

loving them

let me tell you why listen when i think

about this it’s more almost more than i

can understand

when i think about the fact that one sin

on my part

grieves the spirit of god

doesn’t make him stop loving me

it grieves his heart that i would choose

to sin against him

when i think about the fact that god

loves us to that degree

here’s what happens when a person dies

without christ and they return to lost

you know what happens you know why god

still loves them you know why

you know why god doesn’t cease loving

them because

they were they listen they are eternally

lost to the purpose of god

every single one of us we stand in the

presence of god for all eternity in


you know what we’re going to be he says

in ephesians chapter 2 he says

we’re going to be like living eternal

living trophies of what

god’s grace god’s goodness god’s love

god’s mercy toward us

so that every single person who dies

without christ god

loses a trophy that glorifies him and

honors him

and lifts him and exalts him all the

angels in heaven

they will magnify and glorify and praise

the father

as they look upon a whole listen

world of saints every single one of us

got there by the same way

by the goodness and love and mercy and

grace and the kindness and the


of almighty god does it say

that he’s going to stop loving them no

it does not

listen neither chastisement because of

our sin

neither the wrath of god neither the

judgment of god nor even hell

causes god’s love to be

limited or restricted friend

think about this god loves you

and me so much absolutely

totally unconditional it does not give

me license to sin

it motivates me to want to walk holy

obediently before my god that he would

love me enough

to love me no matter what