I started reading this book by D.A. Carson titled The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. People today see nothing difficult about the love of God. God loves everybody. And that is just the problem. The love of God shocks no one. The love of God is normal.
We are like Nermals, the kitten on Garfield that constantly proclaims how cute he is (I know, I always thought he was a she too, consult the ‘W‘). How could God not love us, we are so cute. Sure there are some despicable people in the world, but most of us are ok, and our faults, they’re cute – right?
We often sacrifice God’s attributes, His holiness, His righteousness, His sovereignty, His justice at the expense of His love. God is never divided in His attributes. His love never works against His righteousness, never undermines His holiness, and never negates His justice. This is why there is no love extended toward mankind outside of the cross.
This is why many hate the cross or want to reduce it to a simple display of affection. If the cross is vicarious penal substitutionary atonement; propitiating God’s wrath, reconciling us to an alien Deity, redeeming us from bondage to sin, and justifying us before a righteous Judge whom we have infinitely offended, then we are infinitely far from cute!
This is why God’s love should shock us! His love did not constrain Him to make atonement for our sins. God is not obligated to love us.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. – Romans 5:6-11
His love is His sovereign choice to love the very not-so-Nermal.