The devil convinces us that God is a spoilsport – his commandments seem so negative 'don't do this and don't do that'.
The devil convinces us that God is cruel – and points out all the suffering in the world. How could God love us if he lets bad things happen?
It's so easy to lay the blame at God's doorstep, not least in our pride when we think 'we know best', what's good for us, and we want to justify ourselves rather than admit fault or guilt.
But God has shown his love for us unmistakeably
'This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love; not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to suffer in our place the just punishment of death that our sins deserved.' 1 John 4 v 9-10
The point is that it did not take the sacrifice of Jesus to melt God's heart towards us. God already, God always loved us, and because of his love he sent his Son into the world to do what was necessary for us to be forgiven, not punished. The good news of the Bible is not 'God loves us because Jesus died for us', but 'Because God loved us Jesus died for us'.
The crucifixion of Jesus is the proof we need of the fact of God's love for us; and his sacrifice shows us the extent of his love for us – that in his Son, God was willing to suffer and die in our place.
By the sacrifice of God's Son, the devil's lie is unmasked once and for all. The suffering in the world is bewildering, but we know for sure that the reason for it is not that God does not love us. We know for sure he does. There must be another explanation.
As for God being a spoilsport – come on! This world was created by him. He made everything we enjoy! And in my book, it's not negative to save us from harming ourselves or others. All the 'do nots' are positive! Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not lie, etc. God loves us so much he wants to keep us from harm's way.
'Return to me, and I will return to you', says the LORD Almighty.
Pastor, St George's