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UnConditional Love?

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Scripture clearly teaches that God's love (phileo, agape, aheb, ahabah, etc.) is unfailing, undeserved, and unilateral (completely one-sided in initiation).

But is God's love without condition--I.E.: UN-conditional?

On this we should consider three things.
1) Where did this idea come from?
2) Is it consistent with Scripture?
3) Is it false prophecy?

On 1), you will not have to look back very far, as this is uniquely an American, "modern" doctrine. It is never once mentioned in Scripture, nor do any of the church fathers use the phrase.

On 2), is the implicit idea that the phrase asserts consistent with Scripture? If we take the phrase in its plain-sense meaning, certainly not. If unconditional can cohabit the same phrase as love without canceling it (when not on LSD, that is), then why did Jesus bother declaring the conditions? "You must be born again." etc.

Think about it. In a typical teaching of Jesus, much of what he said were the life-giving conditions of moving out-of a position of wrath and into a loving relationship with the Father. The catch-phrase unconditional love strips these words right out of our Savior's mouth. "Hey Jesus, you can't say that! Don't you know that God's agape love is unconditional!"


John 8:31-32 (NIV) ...Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Get it? IF/THEN is a condition. So is UNLESS. And this is the kind of thing Jesus often said. Uh Oh!

On 3), we should consider the possibility that this new phrase might be a wolf in sheep's clothing. Could unconditional love be Satan's latest repackaging of the "peace, peace" message that has always been the essence of false prophecy? Of course, Satan would never be that clever, to deny the very words of God with a subtle twist of phrase? Would he?

Due to a Bible Study on our site which calls for repentance from witchcraft, we get a lot of "flames" from Wiccans and Pagans. A typical complaint is to lecture us that "God's love is unconditional", thus justifying witchcraft--or whatever--since "God loves everyone eternally no matter what they believe." By this way of thinking, "It makes no difference which 'god' you worship since God's unconditional love would never allow Him to send anyone to hell. Condemning people to hell is not exactly a loving thing to do for those so sent, is it? So, it does not matter what people think or believe or do. God's unconditional love means that we will all go to heaven."

Hearing this doctrine put forth with such piercing clarity from Pagans should give Christians pause in their enthusiasm to embrace it.

Often, when Christians say unconditional love we know they do not mean it in the exact, literal sense. So, we do not want to go overboard and say that anyone who uses the phrase is a universalist or heretic. We must look to the context and meaning for those who have not thought it through, giving them the benefit of the doubt. But, at the very least, we should be more circumspect about adoption of extra-biblical spurious terminology within the Church, and of teachers that unreflectingly jump on every bandwagon of pop phraseology that blows through.

God's love is truly amazing... God's love is unilateral: He loves the unlovable and gives His glory to them. God's love is completely undeserved. God's love is unfailing for those in whom He delights: who respond to Him and receive His Son. But, God's love is clearly not "unconditional"; for wrath and eternal damnation will come to those who reject His Messiah and His Gospel. Let us be sure to be found in the position of receiving God's love, and not His judgment. Let us heed the conditions clearly set forth by our Lord so that we can be at peace with Him. And let us shout the message of these conditions from the rooftops so that others might be saved, rather than retreat into thinly veiled license, universalism, or anything else that "sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2Cor 10:5).

Here are a few verses to salt your appetite for researching and considering this further.


Jer. 5:12-13 (NIV) "They have lied about the Lord; they said, 'He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine.' The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them..."
Jer. 8:6-9 (NIV) "I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. No one repents of his wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' ...My people do not know the requirements of the Lord. How can you say, 'We are wise...' Since they have rejected the word of the Lord, what kind of wisdom do they have?"

Jer. 23:16-18 (NIV) This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, 'The Lord says: You will have peace.' And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, 'No harm will come to you.' But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?"

Jer. 23:21-22 (NIV) "I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds."

Lam 2:14 (NIV) "The visions of your prophets were false and worthless; they did not expose your sin to ward off your captivity. The oracles they gave you were false and misleading."

Luke 3:7b (NIV) "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?"

John 3:36 (NIV) "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."

Rom 2:5,8 (NIV) But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed... For those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.

Eph 2:3 (NIV) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

Eph 5:6 (NIV) Let no-one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

1Co 2:13 (NIV) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

2 Tim 4:2-4 (TCN) Proclaim the Message, be ready in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, encourage, never failing to instruct with forbearance. For a time will come when people will not tolerate sound teaching. They will follow their own wishes, and, in their itching for novelty, procure themselves a crowd of teachers. They will turn a deaf ear to the Truth, and give their attention to legends instead.

Heb 13:9 (NIV) Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings.

Luke 13:3 (DVP) [Jesus:] "...If you do not repent, then you will all perish..."

- Acts 17:11 Bible Studies
 
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If someone truly loves God with all their heart, might, mind and soul, they will not do things which grieve God at his heart...

Genesis 6:5-6 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.


1John 2:1-5 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.


1Corinthians 6:9-10: Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not decieved: niether fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God.


Rom 6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.
Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?


Gal 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
Gal 2:18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.


Rom 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.


1Corinthians 6:15: Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. ------ (What will you do with the body of Christ? Will you defile it with sin and drugs?)


Romans 6 1-6: What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his ressurection. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.


Titus 2:11-14: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.


Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee (makes you sin), pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of your members perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
 
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