This post at a muslimah's blog, Only a Few Will Attain the Love of Allah, made me start actually thinking about how I view God's love for me. I often read blogs and compose reponses in my head that I never post. It makes me actually reason and argue through my own postitions, rather than just going, 'well that's what I believe, live with it'.
I was never taught that just because God loved us, so long as we belived in Jesus we were going to Heaven. Never.
I was raised viewing God as a parent, metaphorically. (Which got me into a lot of trouble and strain when my father turned into an abusive bastard, but I've mostly worked through that.) Good parents, and we assume that God is a good parent, because He's God, and by definition, good, love their children, unconditionally.
That doesn't mean that the children can't hurt them though. Parents lay down rules (laws) for the good of the child, because they've been there, done that, and have years of experience to draw from that the child doesn't. A parent wants certain things for their child, what they believe to be best, but the child, being their own person, can and often does choose to do their own thing, whether or not their own thing is the right thing.
When a child chooses to do something that their parent would rather they didn't, does the parent stop loving them? No. Does it hurt the parents? Do the parents sometimes have to punish the child, chastise them, be angry with them? Of course. But does any of this mean that the child has lost the parents love? I don't think so. A parent, because of their love, is hurt, terribly, when the child breaks the rules, goes a way that the parent sees is wrong for them, and only going to cause them pain. If the parent didn't love, it wouldn't hurt. And yes, in some cases, all a parent can do, when the child has grown and will simply not change, will not learn and listen and realize that the path they are travelling down is hurting them, all a parent can do is step back. Hold up their hands and walk away, because, while they still love their child, they can't force them to change.
And that's how I view God's love. He loves us, and has laid down laws for us, things to keep us on the right path, the one that leads back to Him. But we've got free will, we're our own people, and we can choose to do what we want, regardless of the consequences. And I think that that hurts God, immensely, because He loves us so much. But He doesn't stop loving us because of that. If that was the case? Everyone, every last person on earth would be going to Hell, because no one has lived a life without offending God at some point, even if it's just the tiniest, tiniest thing. But does that mean that everyone is going to Heaven, because God loves us so much He can't stand sending us to Hell?
Well, no. Because actions have consequences, and laws exist for a very good reason. And at some point (death), there are no more chances. God must, despite how much I believe it must hurt Him, step back and accept that there's nothing more He can do. He gave us every chance, every time there was a choice, He wanted us to make the right one, but He can't force it on us. But death is that last moment, when all your choices are done, and the ones that you've already made have decided the rest of your life for you.
Heaven or Hell. God loves us, and desires that we all be united with Him in Heaven, but He can't make us behave. He's the ultimate parent, the Father, and He'll love us even when we're breaking His heart. And He'll forgive us, when we ask Him to, when we realize our errors and truly, truly regret them, and change our ways, because of His love.
So, my conclusion is this: God loves everyone, it's in His nature. But it's not His love that saves us. His love for us is what makes Him offer us His grace. And it's our acceptance of the gift of grace, and our obedience and continual striving to be what He desires us to be that saves us. We can accept the gift, and we can also reject it, and OSAS doesn't enter into it.