God has no ulterior motive for loving us because God has no ulterior motives at all. Among His many intrinsic attributes are two that prove this statement. One is absolute self-sufficiency and the other is absolute purity of intention.
Most people, believers among them, never take the time to think about what is logically implied about their Creator by the very concept of monotheism. The Bible's testimony certainly proves out these logical implications, but even a secular thinker can conceptualize them and recognize who and what we are talking about when we name any being as the God of all things.
We will only need to examine the two qualities of our Lord mentioned above to prove that He loves us with a perfect purity unattainable by any created person. Knowing such love is, in the end, perhaps the single most compelling reason to give ourselves to Him, body and soul, for all eternity.
For God to be God He must be absolutely self-sufficient. Any being that must rely in any way on an outside source for both existence and power is not God by definition of the word. Since He has no needs, He does not exploit anyone for what they can give Him. Neediness of any kind is not a divine attribute. This means that what C.S. Lewis once termed "need-love" is never part of the equation in the Lord's love of His creation, including the creatures known as human beings. We need His love, but that love is not contingent on our love for Him. In fact it is not contingent on anything. God does not love because He needs love in return. He loves because it is in His essential nature as God to do so. As Martin Luther wrote, "God's love does not find but creates that which is lovely to it."
Relating to, and backing, this proposition is absolute purity of intention. God embodies truth. There is "no shadow of turning" with Him. He does not lie because He has no need to, and that implies a purity of character which is absolute. God can only love us in the perfect sense of the word. The idea of an impure, imperfect love emanating from Him is not reasonable in any sense once we come to see that He cannot be flawed (again by definition of what is implied in the very use of the word, "God").
The total lack of ulterior motives can be applied to all acts of God, but this truth is especially sweet to the ears of flawed and needy men and women. We love each other imperfectly and sometimes in a very "calculating" way. We can never provide the kind of love that is absolutely necessary to our existence and flourishing, not only now but throughout eternity. God loves us with the perfect love we need, not because He has to but because He wants to.
In addition we can be assured that this is true, and will be forever true, by the unalterable purity of everything God does owing to who He must be as God. In these realities we can find unspeakable comfort; but more importantly we find a profound part of the motivation we have to love Him in return, and in that mutual love is our salvation.
© 2014 by Shea Oakley. All rights
Shea Oakley is a freelance Christian writer from Ridgewood, New Jersey.