One of the doctrines we know to be true of God is that He is complete within Himself (Job 41:11, Ps. 50:12, Romans 11:36). God lacks nothing. God needs nothing.
So when God says He, “so loved the world” (Jn. 3:16), and demonstrated His love to us while we were yet sinners (Rom. 5:8), God means something very different than we usually do when we talk about love. When we say we love someone, we usually mean they meet some kind of emotional need (fill a void) in our life, and we have some level of appreciation for them because of that. This is not what God means at all when He says He loves us.
We don’t complete God in any way. We don’t add to His satisfaction or happiness (because He is already infinitely happy, satisfied and complete within Himself, and you can’t add to infinity). Infinity is a defining aspect of God’s character. God can’t become “more” of something than He already is. God can’t possibly become happier, or more fulfilled. So what does it mean then for God to tell us He loves us?
It means that God has so much goodness within Himself, that He desired, for His own purposes, to share Himself with us; for no other reason than He wanted to. We like to think of ourselves as deserving objects. As though we were an irresistible prize that God just couldn’t live without. As one popular worship song erroneously declares, “You didn’t want heaven without us. So Jesus You brought heaven down.” The implication is that God didn’t want to be lonely, sitting in Heaven for eternity with no one to keep Him company. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
God was infinitely content within Himself for all of eternity before we got here! In reality, God is the irresistible prize which no longing human heart is wise to reject. He set His affection on us for no other reason than He wanted us to experience His infinite goodness. It was a completely giving, selfless and sacrificial love, not a needy one.
When we claim that God’s love and mercy is unmerited (underserved and unearned), that is so true! There is nothing we could ever offer to God that He needs. There is no way we could complete Him. God created us not to complete Him (the reason we often get married, have children, seek friends, etc.), but rather to complete us by giving us His infinite everything, just because He wanted to.