I have a sneaking suspicion he only loves me reluctantly, because he has to (after all, his Son died for me! He's caught now!). I know - it's illogical, and it's a lie. But it's a powerful lie.
Am I alone in this? I doubt it. Am I alone?
Packer suggests my doubts are not uncommon for those of us who are (rightly) taught to view things in terms of justification (God is a judge, his justice satisfied by Jesus' death).
But if God is only a judge whose justice has been satisfied, that can be a pretty cold relationship.
Packer suggests we've forgotten an equally important truth: that of adoption. He says, "It is a strange fact that the truth of adoption has been little regarded in Christian history." Yet the Bible makes much of it.
When we become Christians, God becomes our Father. He welcomes us into his family. He loves us with the same love he has for his Son!
These words changed my way of seeing:
When you realize that God has taken you from the gutter, so to speak, and made you a son in his own house, your sense of God's "love beyond degree" is more than words can express. ...
The prospect before the adopted children of God is an eternity of love ... We are all loved just as fully as Jesus is loved.
It is like a fairy story - the reigning monarch adopts waifs and strays to make princes of them - but, praise God, it is not a fairy story: it is hard and solid fact ...
Everything Jesus has will some day be shared with us, for it is our inheritance no less than his ...
Do I, as a Christian, understand myself? Do I know my own real identity? My own real destiny? I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer ...
Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as you wait for the bus, any time when your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true.
From chapter 19 in Knowing God.