"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee." (Jeremiah 31: 3)
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15: 13)
We are all friends of God because of what Jesus did for us at the Cross.
Yet when He died for us, and rose again to live for us, we were not friends at the time:
"6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5: 6-8)
"While we were still sinners. . ." We have to remember that today, we are not sinners., but saints. We are no longer dead, but we are alive:
"9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6: 9-11)
Notice in verse eleven that everything is done to us. We did not wash, sanctify, or justify ourselves.
He did that for us:
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:" (1 Corinthians 1: 30)
The most important thing that we need to understand, however, is that He loves us!
"16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." (Ephesians 3: 16-19)
God our Father loves us as much as His own Son:
"22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." (John 17: 22-23)
"Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world." (1 John 4: 17)
We are the sons of God today (1 John 3: 1-3), and so instead of trying to be good, we need to allow God to be good to us, and receive more of His love!