Monday, February 8, 2010

Conditional Love

It is often said in our generation that God's love is "unconditional." The Bible never uses such terminology because the Biblical truth of the matter is that God's love is actually the most conditional aspect of our lives. Thankfully, however, we are not the ones who must fulfill His primary terms of love.

"I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).

The "condition," or terms on which God loves us, is His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. His love for us is "in Christ Jesus our Lord." He was "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," and He is "the propitiation not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world" (Revelation 13: 8; I John 2:2). Apart from this blessed fact of who the Lord Jesus is in relationship to the human race, our Creator could never view us in any terms other than wrath and rejection. The Lord Jesus is therefore the condition of the love of God to us. Without Him, humanity would long ago have been rejected and cast aside in God's eternal purposes.

There is no way to overemphasize the centrality of Christ in reference to the human race. He created us. He sustains our being by the word of His power. He is our sole hope for escape from eternal wrath. He is the Savior of believers, the Lord of believers, the life of believers, and He is the judge of all. Most importantly, He is the reason that God can so love a race of beings that distrusted, disobeyed, and utterly rejected Him in the infancy of its existence. Again, our blessed Lord is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." In the heart of God, therefore, there has always been a basis, a reason, a condition whereby His love for the human race can be so abundantly expressed. Christ is the condition.

The Lord Jesus made possible the love of God for every human being. In those who don't believe, the blessedness is limited and temporary, but God nevertheless causes His sun to shine and His rain to fall on all during their earthly lifetimes (among countless other bestowals of grace - Matthew 5:45; Acts 17:25). For the sons and daughters of God in Christ, this blessed truth amplifies the love of God for us to a degree "that passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19. "I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them" (John 17:26). We are as loved as the Beloved, "that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7). Such blessedness is beyond measure, and the person and merits of the Savior will forever be known as the gracious condition of our belovedness.

"He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."
(Ephesians 1:6)

"The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works."
(Psalm 145:9)

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