This past Monday was Memorial Day–a day we celebrate the freedom we have in the United States. Often we are reminded that freedom is not free. There is a huge cost paid so we can have this freedom. Lives have been laid down by many to purchase and ensure freedom. Freedom without a doubt is anything but free. Likewise we need to realize that the love of God also did not come free.
Of all the different attributes of God perhaps the one most talked about is his love. In fact, I think almost all religions claim that their deity exemplifies what love is. Most religions also claim that the love of their god is an unconditional love. However, for the Christian the love of God toward us is very much a conditional love.
I realize saying that the love of God is conditional makes most people uncomfortable. We want God to love us for who we are, and we want God to love us despite our sin. We tell people that they should come just as they are to God, and because of God’s love he will unconditionally love them.
However, Biblically speaking this could not be further from the truth. While it is true that God is love, for us to know that love, there is a great condition. Yes, we plead with people to come to Jesus empty handed with a broken heart, but the only way we could ever experience and receive the love of God is based on the cross. You see if it was up to me and my righteousness I never could stand before a holy God. I need Christ, and I need his righteousness–desperately. This is the message of the Bible. Our sin is the separation from God, but the cross of Jesus is the great condition that we have no hope without.
By wanting this unconditional love we want God to love us without the cross. If there was no cross there would be no forgiveness, there would be no hope, and we would never truly experience God’s love. The Scriptures tell us that whoever does not put their faith in Jesus the “wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36). Without the cross of Christ mankind is under the condemnation of God and outside experiencing and knowing his love.
As you think about the love of God do not belittle this love by making it unconditional; rather be amazed by the love God has for us, that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Spend time meditating on and glorying in the sacrifice Jesus made for you. For us to know the love of God a huge price was paid, the eternal Son left the comforts of heaven, lived a perfect life, died a humbling death on a cruel Roman cross, only to rise from the dead 3 days later. This was anything but unconditional; rather this was the greatest of all sacrifices. This was and is the greatest love. This is the greatest of all conditions.
Today if you never trusted in the work of Jesus would you turn to him and make Jesus your greatest treasure? The good news of the gospel is that if you trust in Christ the love of God will be perfectly upon you from now and throughout eternity. Praise God for his conditional love!