Thursday, May 17, 2012

God's Love: Conditional or Unconditional?

I really enjoy the music of Shane & Shane.  On their latest CD is a song called Future Version, which basically celebrates the reality that God loves us as we are, right now, and not just some future, cleaned-up version of ourselves.  Here is the refrain, which is written as if God is addressing us:

You I love
Regardless of the things you've said and done
No mistake can change my mind
Come, seek, and find
My love is yours right now

In John 14:21 and 23 Jesus says,

    Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
(John 14:21-23 ESV)

These verses seem to contradict the lyrics of Shane & Shane, don't they?  "You I love, regardless of things you've said and done."  His love is not conditioned on our obedience.  But then Jesus seems to be saying, "If you demonstrate your love for me through obedience to my commands, my Father will love you."  Sounds conditional to me, no?

So are the Shanes wrong on this one?  Or is defining the love of God maybe more complex than we sometimes think it is?

1 comment:

  1. Our love for God originates from Christ's love for us. The Holy Spirit changes our hearts to love Christ and thus fullfills each of the commands. 1 John 4:7-21, along with Romans 5 are great verses to understand this. All love originates with and ends with God.