How could a loving God . . . ? The question is asked repeatedly, often in the face of trial and tragedy. The question comes from skeptics looking for a reason to reject God. The question comes from the curious. The question can even come from Christians who struggle in the face of the great evil in the world. But God has told us what the source of evil is, and He has told us what the consequences of it are. Genesis 3:17-19 says, “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” In pronouncing punishment for Adam and Eve’s sin, God said that the ground was cursed, and mankind would suffer punishment and problems, including death. Even before Adam and Eve sinned, the loving God warned them what the consequences would be. But when they rejected what He said, then they were forced to face the repercussions of sin. The Bible makes clear that the suffering and problems in the world are the direct result of sin. The Bible teaches that we have all sinned and face the just punishment for that sin. In other words, we aren’t as good of people as we usually think that we are. The question we should be asking is, “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?”
God allows good things to happen to bad people because He is a loving God. John 13:1 says, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” At the Last Supper, soon before He was crucified, Christ proved His love. He loved them to the end of His capacity to love. Here, in John 13, Christ showed the full extent of God’s love. John 13:4-5 says, “He [Jesus] riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” The God that made the universe (Colossians 1:12-17) humbled Himself to wash the feet of the disciples. He took the position of the lowest of slaves by performing the most demeaning and humbling job that a slave could do. How could a loving God . . .? How could a loving God wash the feet of Peter, the one who would soon deny that He even knew Jesus? How could a loving God wash the feet of the disciples, the ones who would soon abandon Him on the way to the cross? How could a loving God wash the feet of Judas, the one who would betray Him? Jesus knew who Judas was, and Jesus knew exactly what Judas was going to leave this room and do. Yet this loving God still showed the full extent of His love to Judas.
In washing the feet of the disciples, Jesus gave a visible object lesson of what He would do on the cross. Philippians 2:6-8 says, “Who [Jesus], being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus, the eternal God, the one who is in very form and nature God, humbled Himself by coming to earth. He took on the nature of a slave and died the most humiliating and awful death known to man. In taking the towel and washing the feet of Judas, Jesus pictured the full extent of God’s love for man, the same love that would lead Jesus to take the cross and die for humankind. How could a loving God . . . ?
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Christ paid the penalty for our sin, so that we could freely receive forgiveness and His righteousness. Christ paid the penalty for our sin so that we would not have to. That is the full extent of God’s love, and that is what He showed us in the cross.
The only logical response to that love that we can have is to humbly receive and gratefully accept that salvation, and then live accordingly. Christ proved His love to us by giving Himself in our place; we need only to receive and trust in that love and sacrifice. We must accept God’s grace, but once we have accepted God’s grace, then we should live accordingly. Knowing how much God has loved us should motivate us to love Him and listen to Him in return. Receiving God’s love should motivate us to commit ourselves to Him and live for Him. How could a loving God . . . ?