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He loves me, he loves me not

Was I imagining things, or did I read the message accurately? The bumper sticker on the car ahead of me had only a few words on it, but driving at highway speed prevented me from getting a clear look at it. Now that our cars were both exiting the interstate at the same place and slowing to a stop, I was able to read the message. But were my eyes deceiving me?

“Satan loves me,” the sticker shouted.

“Do you see that?” I asked my wife who was in the passenger seat. She confirmed that I was reading the message correctly. And just like that, the 20-something driver ahead of me raced off into the distance, leaving me with my thoughts.

Satan loves me? What a sad and misguided sentiment for a person to have. Satan does not love anyone but himself. He failed to love God above all things and was consequently cast out of heaven and into hell.

Author James Pope
Rev. James Pope, executive editor of Forward in Christ

Satan does not love people, but he loves activities. He loves to sin. He “has been sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8). He loves to lie. “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Satan loves to deceive people. He “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He loves to steal the life that God so graciously gives. “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44).

Paul Wendland’s article explained how the Bible can call Satan “the god of this age.” When people reject the only true God, they find themselves on Satan’s side. Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (Matthew 12:30). But what an awful “god” Satan is. He does not desire the good of anyone. He wants others to share in his eternal misery.

Satan loves me? Nothing could be further from the truth.

Then, there’s Jesus. He is love personified, love in the flesh. “God is love” (1 John 4:16). When the Bible speaks of Jesus’ love for people, it describes a love that fully understands what those people are like by nature and their own doing and yet desires their good—now and forever.

It was love when the Son of God left the glory and perfection of heaven to live among sinful people. It was love when Jesus lived a humble and perfect life for proud sinners. It was love when the Son of Man laid down his life on the cross and received the punishment the human race deserved for its sins. It was love when the Savior reclaimed his life, proving that his life and death were the full payment for the sins of the world. It is love when the Redeemer intercedes for the children of God and prepares an eternal home for them.

Jesus loves me? Yes, that is truth, the kind of truth little children can grasp when they sing that they know Jesus loves them because “the Bible tells me so.”

Somewhere, at some time, a person started a child’s game with a daisy. Pull off one petal of the flower, saying “He or she loves me,” then pull off the next petal, saying “He or she loves me not.” Continue doing that until all the petals are gone. Then remember the last phrase you spoke, and those words reveal what another person thinks of you. Of course, it is not real; it is just child’s play.

But it is not a game when it comes to God and Satan. It is as serious as it gets. Both are real, but they are entirely different. “He loves me, he loves me not.” The first “he” is Jesus. The second “he” is Satan.

How do I know? “The Bible tells me so.”

Author: James Pope
Volume 111, Number 02
Issue: February 2024

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  • James F. Pope

    James Pope brings a variety of experiences to his ministry at Forward in Christ, including serving parishes in Wisconsin and Florida; teaching history, theology, and staff ministry courses at Martin Luther College, New Ulm, Minn.; serving as the “Light for our path” columnist for FIC from 2014–2019; and answering theological questions submitted to the WELS website from 2014–2021.

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This entry is part 15 of 17 in the series before-you-go

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