Author: Ron Graham
The Love of God
—Universal, Conditional, Unchangeable
We know very little of God until we know of his love. John even went as far as to say, "God is love" (1John 4:8). The love of God, however, is greatly misunderstood —although there's no excuse for that. John goes on to say, "The love of God was made very clear" (John 4:9).
God's love is universal and anyone can find it. God's love is conditional and all must keep it. God's love is unchangeable and everyone can trust it.
1 All Can Find God’s Love
God's Love is Universal
God is the Source of love. Now God doesn't love a few people and hate everyone else. He loves everyone and wants everyone to love him and be for ever his children.
"God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but instead have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
Look at what Paul preached in Athens: ¶ "God has made from one ancestor every nation of humankind to live over the face of the whole earth. He set the times and limits of their habitation. He decided that they should seek the Lord, and have the chance to feel for him and find him. Indeed, he is close to each of us for in him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:26-27).
We dwell in a very dark world, but God can be found in that darkness. Just as we keep a lamp near our bed so that we can grope for it, and find it, and light it in the night, so the loving God is near, that all might seek and find him.
2 All Must Keep God’s Love
God's Love is Conditional
We hear mention now and then of God’s “unconditional love”. By this, some people simply indicate that God’s love is universal. He doesn't offer love to this soul but withold his love from that soul. His love reaches out to anybody and everybody without exception. His Son died for all people and he is willing to give life to all. In that sense, God’s love is unconditional.
Other people, however, use the term “unconditional love” with quite the opposite in mind. They say God does not love everybody, only a few chosen ones, and only for those chosen did God’s Son die.
They also say that in choosing the few, God took no account of any condition in them, and nothing about them led him to choose them. The choosing and the giving of his love to them was unconditional, and entirely within himself and his own secret counsel. The Westminster Confession of Faith for example teaches this.
Jesus makes God’s love conditional: ¶ "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The soul who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love and show myself to that soul" (John 14:21).
Jesus went on to say, ¶ "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love that one, and we will come to that one, and with that one we will dwell. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:23-24).
God loves everybody, including you, and you, and you. But you have to "keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 1:21).
You, like everyone else, must keep the commandments of God because that is how you keep his love. In that sense, God’s love is conditional. If one refuses or neglects to keep God’s will, one loses God’s love. You must avoid that by all means.
3 All May Trust God’s Love
God's Love is Unchangeable
¶ "God really wanted to make it very clear to the heirs of his promise that his purpose won't ever change. So, God proved his promise by attaching an oath to it. These two things cannot change because it's impossible for God to tell lies." (Hebrews 6:17-17)
Here we have a picture of our loving God doing everything he can to assure us of his passion to make us his children who inherit eternal life.
¶ "So, to this promise, and to this oath, we have fled for safety. We take hold of the hope set before us greatly encouraged. We have this hope as a strong and secure anchor for the soul..." (Hebrews 6:18-19a)
In God we find a refuge of true love, and in God we trust.
All can find God’s love. All can keep God’s love. All may trust God’s love
Have you found God’s love?
Are you keeping God’s love?
Do you trust God’s love?
“The one who believes and is baptised shall be saved” (Mark 16:16).
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ loved you, and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God...” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB).