God’s Conditional Love

Yep. God’s conditional love.

Perhaps you have heard the arguments:

Deuteronomy 7:12-13 shows that God only loves the people who follow His laws!”
John 14:21 clearly states that Jesus only loves those who obey his commands!”

For the record, here are those respective verses (NIV):

If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.

… and …

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.

What if, however, these verses do not actually show conditional love? What if “God will keep his covenant of love with you” does not mean “if you do this, I will love you” but “if you keep my covenant you will see the benefits of my love. If you do not keep my covenant you will not see the benefits, but I still love you!” What if “He who loves me will be loved by my Father . . .” falls in the same vein. How do we know this is more likely?

Jesus Christ.

Do you want some Scripture to back that up? Okay:

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:6-11, NIV

I am pretty sure not all people will be saved in the end. Sorry universalists. I just see too much biblical evidence against that. However, it does not mean God does not love all people (these arguments are all for other posts!).

I do think God’s love is conditional, however. How can I say this?

For God to love us, He must exist. God exists. God is love. Therefore, He loves all people. Easy condition to meet. It is not dependent on human behavior or faithfulness.

I could argue this all day and night, but I think others should be involved. In case you are wondering, I kept this simple and relatively short to try to inspire further dialogue.

What do you think? Is God’s love conditional in any way? When have you felt God’s love when you were certain you least deserved it?

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