I’m irritated. I just read an article someone shared. I won’t mention names, sites or titles – let’s just say it’s one of those lists of things the church has gotten wrong. And now I am highly annoyed.
Don’t misunderstand. The church – the collective body of Christ throughout time all over the world – has gotten plenty of things wrong. The Crusades. The Inquisitions. The Salem witch trails. Need I say more?
But one thing we have not gotten wrong is the love of God. I’m upset because the well-meaning author of the irritating article said that God’s love is conditional. And that is simply NOT true.
God IS love (1John 4:8). Love is the essence of who He is. Love is His nature. Love is the basis and foundation for everything He does. And since He does not change (Malachi 3:6 & Hebrews 13:8), then He will always be love and all He does will flow from His love.
God loves ALL of humanity – regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, what you look like, what your genealogy is, your ethnicity or socio-economic status is. John 3:16 makes that pretty clear: for God so loved the WORLD. The word “world” in this passage means the inhabitants of the world. If you are an inhabitant of this planet – God loves you. There are no exceptions.
Even if you don’t love God, He loves you. Even if you reject Him, He loves you. Even if you are unfaithful to Him, He loves you. Even if you renounce, curse and hate Him, deny His existence, choose to follow another “god” or reject Jesus, He loves you. Nothing you can ever do will change His mind about you. He faithfully loves you (Psalm 100:5).
And that is because His love for you is based upon who He is [LOVE] and not who you are. God’s love for us is not a response to us – our good behavior, good works or good words. God’s love initiates the relationship. He loved us first. (1John 4:19) And this is what makes His love unconditional – He is the initiator, reaching out to everyone, regardless. (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5 & 1John 4:9-10)
We don’t have to perform for it. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to qualify for it. We don’t have to do anything. He freely pours His love out on all of humanity.
This is why Abba is so amazing [among other things!] – His continuing, unfailing, faithful, consistent, unrestrained, unlimited, unconditional love. It’s so deep, so wide, so expansive and vast that we simply cannot comprehend how great His love for us is. (Ephesians 3:18) His love for each, individual human is so far outside anything that we know or have ever experienced that we must have His help to be able to just grasp the edges of His incredible love for us! It is so deep, profound and expansive that eternity will not be enough time to explore and discover every aspect of His love.
And when we enter into a relationship with Abba through Jesus, the journey of exploration begins. We begin to experience His love for us in a greater way. The understanding of His love starts to unfold within us. We discover the benefits of His love. His love does some incredible things in us.
And we choose whether we want it or not. But our choice does not diminish the reality that He loves us all.
That’s why I’m irritated. God’s love is poured out on all of humanity without restriction. It’s such a wonderful, amazing thing. And I hate that anyone would ever think or feel that His great gift of love was not available to them. That they must meet some standard or criteria. Even if they don’t want it – I think they should know He still loves them.
So you heard it right the first time – GOD LOVES YOU.