In my reading I came across some statements that do not quite sit right with me. What do you think about them?
“Because of our rebellion and disobedience we are separated from God and we do not experience His love. As long as we are going our own way and doing our own thing we do not experience God’s love. In order to experience God’s love we must be ‘born again.'”
I would disagree and here is why. I believe the author is trying to say we do not receive the full benefit of God’s love: like the prodigal son in the pig pen. He was just as loved by the father in the pig pen as when he returned home. The Father’s love did not change. But the son was still eating and sleeping with the pigs so the Father’s love did him little good. He was not experiencing it.
Let me insert a note here about God’s love. To us, love is a verb, something we do. But God IS love (1 John 4:8). It is not something He does or does not do. It is an adjective with Him, describing something of His character. His character does not change. That is why God’s love is so unchanging. It is not linked to how He feels or actions outside of Himself, for example, our obedience or disobedience. God IS love. To cease to love would mean He ceases to be who and what He is. Now back to your question.
The prodigal did not experience the Father’s love HOWEVER, God’s love extends far beyond what man is capable of. Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 5:44-45.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Jesus is saying the reason we are to bless those who curse us is because God does. Sunshine, rain, air itself is a gift from God. The very fact that a sinner can take a breath of air – He is experiencing God’s love. The fact that His heart beats another beat and that he has life and strength is experiencing God’s love. Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father (James 1:17) so any good thing that comes into a lost person’s life is an experience of God’s love – whether they recognize it as such or not. In fact, it is the goodness of God that draws men to repentance (Romans 2:4) and no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws Him (John 6:44). The Father drawing someone is certainly experiencing God’s love. Therefore, no one can be saved if they have not first experienced God’s love through His act of drawing them to Jesus.
So, all mankind experiences God’s love moment by moment – they just aren’t aware of it nor do they acknowledge it – which is another reason our sin is so grievous.
“For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, … ” Romans 1:21