God’s love: unconditional or conditional?
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
One of the most discussed topics in the Bible is the love of God, but I believe it’s one of the most misunderstood topics when left to our own explanation. To understand God’s love, its nature, we must go to the Scriptures to see how God himself defines his love. Love is an attribute of God, just like his holiness, The Bible teaches us that love comes from God (1 John 4:7), to love is to know God because God is love.(v.8). God loves you; he loves us, but does he love us unconditionally? Is God’s love unconditional? What do we mean by that? For example, in his goodness (kindness), God does things out of love which are unconditional. Matt.5:45 He causes the sun to shine on everyone one: good and evil people; he sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. This is done unconditionally. (Unconditional: the person doing the giving does not require anything to be done in exchange). Let me show you another text in which we see the unconditional aspect of God’s love.
God’s giving his Son to the world is unconditional.
-God gave his Son for every nation under heaven, every race. Jesus is God’s gift to the world. Jesus died for every person on the planet, for the good, the bad and the ugly.
Rom.5:8 God demonstrated his own love for us in this while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
God’s initial response in saving the world is an act of unconditional love. His giving the world a chance to be saved. He did this for everyone in the world. He wants everyone to be saved and thus provided the way by which people can obtain salvation.
When people talk about God’s love being unconditional, they usually think about that God loves them just the way they are without the need to change. God loves me the way I am. It doesn’t matter how I live my life, God loves me either way.
Two sentences from Mark Gungor: (The battle over rules)
-God loves you just the way you are. It implies that you do not need to change.
-God loves you despite the way you are. It implies that you need to change. This is what the Bible teaches, we all must change to be more like Jesus. This is sanctification.
God’s Saving love demands action; it demands a response (it has conditions).
God’s saving love is conditional. John 3:16
For people to be saved they must meet certain conditions. God so love the world and he gave his only Son (unconditionally for everyone), So that whoever believes in him. (condition() shall not perish but have eternal life.
Faith (believing, trusting) in God’s Son is the condition for people to have eternal life. When people fail to meet this demand, they will be condemned.
God’s saving love has conditions; it demands a response from us. In fact, without conditions or rules, love is not possible.
God made lots of promises in the Bible and all his promises have conditions.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. The promise is eternal life, the condition to believe in the Son.
Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Matt.7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.
Conditions are necessary in order to have a healthy relationship
When God chose the nation of Israel, they entered a covenant relationship. God told them, Jeremiah 7:23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you
Many of the Israelites did not abide by God’s terms; they violated the covenant and he abandoned them to their enemies.
When Jesus began his ministry, lots of people followed him. Jesus let those people know the type of relationship he wanted to have. In other words, Jesus defined the relationship he wanted to have with his disciples. Matt.16:24 // Luke 9:23 IF anyone would come after me. He must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.
To be in a relationship with Jesus there are conditions: John 14:15, 21 “If you love me you will obey my command” “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.”
2 John 1:6 This is love that we walk according to his commandments.
God’s saving love has conditions. He cannot save anyone if people refuse his condition. God wants to save the whole world and that is why he provided the solution, the remedy. But people must take it, people must abide by his condition. Faith in Jesus is the prerequisite for people to be saved, for people to be at peace with God. Without Jesus, salvation is not possible.
Faith in Jesus gets you into the right standing before God. God did his part in opening the doors so that people would be saved and have life with him.
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (unconditionally) to everyone, so that whoever believes in him (condition) shall not perish but have eternal life.
God provided the way to save everyone, but only those who meet the condition are saved. Only those who trust Jesus or believe in Jesus are saved.
God’s unconditional act in sending his Son to the world demands a response from you and me in order to benefit from his love.