Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Contraconditional Love of God

I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that there probably aren't many people unable to sleep at night until the question I posed the other day about the conditional/unconditional love of God gets resolved.  But let me suggest a solution that comes from David Powlison, in his book Seeing with New Eyes:
Saying “God’s love is unconditional love” is a bit like saying “The sun’s light at high noon is a flashlight in a blackout.”
Come again?
A dim bulb sustains certain analogies to the sun.
Unconditional love does sustain certain analogies to God’s love.
But why not start with the blazing sun rather than the flashlight?
When you look closely, God’s love is very different from “unconditional positive regard,” the seedbed of contemporary notions of unconditional love.
God does not accept me just as I am;
He loves me despite how I am;
He loves me just as Jesus is;
He loves me enough to devote my life to renewing me in the image of Jesus.
This love is much, much, much better than unconditional! Perhaps we could call it “contraconditional” love.
Contrary to the conditions for knowing God’s blessing, He has blessed me because His Son fulfilled the conditions.
Contrary to my due, He loves me.
And now I can begin to change, not to earn love but because of love.
. . . You need something better than unconditional love.
You need the crown of thorns.
You need the touch of life to the dead son of the widow of Nain.
You need the promise to the repentant thief.
You need to know, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
You need forgiveness.
You need a Vinedresser, a Shepherd, a Father, a Savior.
You need to become like the one who loves you.
You need the better love of Jesus.
To dig a little deeper, check out this blog post by Justin Taylor.

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