17
Jun
09

What unconditional love really means

In Nigeria we talked a lot about God’s unconditional love. God’s love is prodigal towards you and me. It’s excessively generous. It’s over the top and insane when it comes to generosity. God’s love isn’t about fairness. It’s not fair. It’s a love filled with grace and mercy and compassion. It’s crazy! If you think you understand God’s love and grace and feel comfortable explaining exactly what it is and how it works, you have no clue what you are talking about! 🙂

What does the word “unconditional” normally mean. If we break it down a little bit, I guess we can all agree that it must mean “without conditions”, and my dictionary agrees and says it means “not subject to any conditions”. Most theologians and Christians agree that God’s love is unconditional. At least on paper. At least when we talk about him. But many Christians in actuality – when the door is closed and they are all alone with their thoughts – have a picture of God that his love is extremely conditional!

Many Christians don’t believe the fact that nothing they can do can make God love them less, and nothing they can do can make God love them more. Some believers honestly believe that they could lose their salvation and their secure standing with God depending on something they would think, say or do.

These same believers may agree with Paul when he concludes Romans 8 with these famous words talking about how there is nothing or nobody that can separate us from the love we receive in Christ:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39)

But I think that often we don’t really mean that “nor anything in all creation” can separate us from God. We are created beings ourselves, but many, many christians still believe that their actions or lack of actions, or their thoughts or lack of thoughts, or anything else they do or don’t do can separate them from God. The truth is that if God’s love is unconditional it means that you can’t be separated from it under any conditions.

rose

To make sure I write it as clearly as possible, I want to say the same thing that I said to my Pastor friends in Nigeria: if you are in Christ, and you know that you know that you know that you have received the new birth that Jesus talked about in John 3 (and only the Holy Spirit can convince you of that!)…..then you have a choice: you can live a sinful life, sleep around with random people, wallow in everything you’re dead to and live like the Prodigal Son in Luke 15 and be miserable, or you can sit and eat donuts every day in the same chair until you explode, or you can go out and serve full-time in missions work overseas for the next 56 years, and God will love all three of them the same! God is the Prodigal Father who runs to all these three of his children and embraces them and whispers in their ears that he loves them just the way they are! He doesn’t love them or us the way we should be or could be, but just the way we are. Not in spite of our weaknesses and our sins, but in light of our weaknesses and sins!

God’s love for us is based on who he is. God is love 1. John 4:8 tells us. It’s not part of who he is. It is who he is. He is love. He always has been and always will be love. Everything he has ever done or will ever do is loving. And his love for us is not based on our response to him. He is love, and he will always love, forgive and embrace his children who come to him and ask him to be their Father.

When you are in a relationship with God you are – as one of the Nigerian Pastors put it – STUCK! There is nothing you can do about it! You are with him forever, and he will always love you! He will always forgive you and never reject you. That’s the essence of his love that is truly without conditions!

Blessings, Torben

I have to re-post a video with Aaron Keyes’ powerful song Not Guilty Anymore

And here are the lyrics to Not Guilty Anymore

“It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been. Hear me tell you: I forgive!

You’re not guilty anymore. You’re not filthy anymore. I love you, mercy is yours. You’re not broken anymore, you’re not captive anymore. I love you, mercy is yours.

Can you believe that this is true. Grace abundant I am giving you. It’s cleansing deeper than you know. All was paid for long ago.

You’re not guilty anymore. You’re not filthy anymore. I love you, mercy is yours. You’re not broken anymore, you’re not captive anymore. I love you, mercy is yours.

There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Jesus. You’re not guilty anymore. You’re not filthy anymore. I love you, mercy is yours. You’re not broken anymore, you’re not captive anymore. I love you, mercy is yours.

You are spotless. You are holy. You are faultless. You are whole. You are righteous. You are blameless. You are pardoned. You are mine.

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