God’s Love Is Unconditional!
Recently, while studying God’s love, I meditated on the vastness of this divine characteristic and was overcome with emotions of joy and hope. Overwhelmed with the incredible depth and breadth of the love that God exhibits toward His elect, is utterly astonishing. As I pondered the love of God I began to recognize how replete this subject is throughout the Bible, and one word continuously came to mind– “unconditional”.
We know that God exhibits love to the unregenerate man and even blesses them despite their lack of worshipping Him as Creator. (Matt. 5:45, Acts 14:16-17). But, He only bestows “unconditional” love on those who are His chosen. Amazingly, we are not a special class of people, nor did we accomplish anything special to earn His unconditional love. (Deut. 7:6-7, John 3:16, 6:37, 19:28-29, 17:6, 9, 12, 23, Rom. 5:8, 8:32-39, 1 Tim. 2:19, 1 Pet. 2:9, 1 John 3:16, 4:9-10).
The word “unconditional” is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary, as: without conditions or limitations; absolute. If we apply this definition to describe God’s love, it defines a limitless and perfect love. God’s love is an inconceivable and mindboggling concept to Christians. And because of its immeasurability many are uncomfortable trying to accurately convey His love, because it is so unexplainable. Scripture states for example”…How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out”. (Rom. 11:33b). Or, “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge…” (Eph. 3:19a). These verses communicate to a finite creation (mankind), the unfathomable and inscrutable ways of an infinite God (Isa. 55:8-9). Therefore, it would be preposterous and pointless to even try to exhaustively comprehend His ways, because of that limited knowledge. The mysteriousness of God ought to evoke us to praise and worship Him. No matter how much knowledge we attain, we still are required to live by faith (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, 2 Cor. 5:7, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:28). Because there is so much about God that we cannot comprehend, so we must believe on what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).
Sadly, we live in a society where every aspect of life is based on conditions and limitations. For instance, when we purchase a product that promises a lifetime warranty; the warranty is not for the duration of your physical lifetime, but rather, for the average lifetime of that particular product. Therefore, the product has a conditional and limited warranty. Debts are other typical conditions which play a vital part in all our lives. If a debt or installment is not paid by a specific payment date, it may incur interest or go to a collection agency. Or, worse yet, utilities may be turned off, a vehicle repossessed, or a property may go into foreclosure. Some companies may offer a short “grace period” (extra time), to pay their fee, but by no means is it unlimited. And, if you still cannot pay the debt you owe, you are deemed guilty and must suffer the consequences, whatever they might be. Just imagine if God functioned that way, we would all be found guilty and condemned to hell!
Individual’s also set conditions, even though the contract may call for an unconditional commitment. In marriage vows for example, both the man and woman strive to uphold their wedding vows; “In sickness and in health…till death do us part”. But, many times one spouse or the other violates a vow(s); sometimes severely. And, many times such a violation is not forgiven, which can constitute: bitterness, anger, separation, hatred, or even divorce. How quickly we forget, “God hates divorce” (Mal. 2:16), and desires for us to love one another sacrificially and completely (1 Cor. 13, Eph. 5:23, 1 John 3:16).
Unfortunately, we tend to conditionalize other relationships, by setting parameters. If they are breached, we may sin by taking a brother or sister to court, seek revenge, sever friendships, minimize or terminate communication or contact with family members, etc. In such cases, love can be replaced with contempt, mercy with calumny, patience with agitation, tolerance with cruelty, or acceptance with rejection. Therefore, in the human realm, love is definitely conditional. But, by the power of the Holy Spirit operating through diligent study and obedience to God’s word, we can learn to manifest biblical love. Biblical love is never conditional or limited (1 Cor. 13:8). Incidentally, we are most like Jesus Christ when we love unconditionally.
One of the ways God’s unconditional love is bestowed upon us is through His forgiveness. When Jesus’ disciple Peter proudly asked Him if forgiving a brother up to “seven times” was sufficient (Matt. 18:21), Jesus responded, “…I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matt. 18:22). What Jesus implied was that forgiveness must be limitless. There are numerous times we sin against God, sometimes even egregiously or severely, yet He forgives us (Ps. 103:3). Furthermore, Scripture declares that God forgets our offenses against Him (Ps. 103:12, Isa. 42:25, Jer. 31:34). Even when He chastens us, it is to promote our amelioration. Chastening is a positive indicator of His love for us; that we are one of His children and should be regarded as a true blessing (Prov. 3:12, Heb. 12:6). Although, at times, chastening can be extremely difficult, God sovereignty utilizes it to guide us unto holiness.
Finally, not only is God’s love unconditional, but it can never be eradicated; nothing can separate us from His love. Because of this fact, we ought to be extremely thankful, joyful; praise and worship Him. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Rom. 8:35). Nothing! Amen!