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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Unconditional love - Really?

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narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 968
Germany NRW

 Unconditional love - Really?


I hear this phrase “unconditional love” in Christian circles all the time and it bugs me.

I am not convinced that this is actually a right depiction of God’s love for all of us. We must differentiate between God’s love for fallen mankind at the cross and the personal love of God to the saint.
God does provide elementary things to sustain human life on earth such as food, drink, shelter, and other means, but this is just common grace extended to sinners and saints alike. The only expression of love for fallen mankind is described in John 3:16. Other than that I do not think that God has a personal love toward those who live in rebellion to him.
God cannot love sinners on a personal level before they actually repent. Sin is so repulsive to God that He had to take the utmost measure to deal with it – to let his Son die on a wooden cross at the hands of sinners. Only when we respond to His offer on the cross and repent and believe can we transfer from a wretched state to a blessed state of God’s pleasing.
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
If Sinners are still under the wrath of God, how can he love them on a personal level?
John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Only when we come to repentance and faith can God’s love be experienced on a personal level:
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
The only but utmost love for sinners is displayed at the cross – and there is no other expression of God’s love to fallen mankind.

The second phrase that bugs me is “God accepts people just as they are”. It sounds nice and kind of God, but it makes light of sin in effect. How can a God that accepts everyone as they are still command “men everywhere to repent” Acts 17:30.
I think we should better accept God as He really is and acknowledge Him in everything. This attitude will greatly help us to progress and reveal us that we are not accepted as we are but rather “accepted in the Beloved”. Eph 1:6.
We must look to Christ for everything. We must yield our everything to Christ and God will do a work our grace despite our frail humanity. We must not seek to fix our old but rather see him crucified so that our new man in Christ liveth.

 2018/3/6 16:40Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4648
NC, USA

 Re: Unconditional love - Really?

//God cannot love sinners on a personal level before they actually repent. //

Are you sure you meant to type that?


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Todd

 2018/3/6 17:24Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 572
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re: Unconditional love - Really?

Hi narrow:

This subject is like a bag of cats all jostling around in the bag and you just opened the bag to pull one out. But in pulling one out 3 more claw their way out too.

I appreciate questions like this because the answers cannot be found by mere skimming the bible for love verses. The answers are for many a little scary and for some, once they realize there is a biblical and accurate way to understand these things, are not obtained easily but it comes at a price...diligent study.

Narrow, you'll go a few rounds talking circles with folks unless you clarify some basic premises.
Who obtains the blessings of covenantal love?
Who obtains the blessings without covenantal love?
Jesus loves sinners? That means what?
Jesus accepts sinners? That means what?
Jesus died for sinners? That means what?

When these things are ironed out in your own mind ( I'm not saying they are not already clear) your approach to Christian axioms "God's unconditional love for everyone" will drastically change.

Example: Lets say you believe God only loves the elect. In this case when you present the gospel to an unbeliever, your witness is modified. In the past you might say "Jesus loves YOU!" But now, you say "Jesus came to save sinners" and leave off the personal pronoun, but instead 'label' the person in terms of their current covenantal status.
Why the change? Because for you, you don't know if God actually loves them specifically and in fact your message is not to declare to the unbeliever 'covenantal love', but rather if God gives them repentance and faith and they believe upon Jesus...they will declare themselves that God loves them.
For others, this kind of God is scary; namely because they are not in the drivers seat driving their life with the license that "God loves me"; in their heart they say "I'm not on love with God and don't know if I want to be."

I hope you can see where this is going? Do you want to declare a gospel that assumes the covenantal love of God to an unbeliever when in fact there is nothing in scripture or the world that necessitates God love them? In this case you may sense that you are presuming on God.

Other cats get out of the bag too, namely can God love those upon whom his wrath is currently upon them? Is this a contradiction to electing love? Is it a contradiction to the gospel?

Anyway Narrow, the cats are out, but who will respond willing to put one back in?


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Marvin

 2018/3/6 19:12Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4648
NC, USA

 Re:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. 36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.
Luke 6:35-36


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Todd

 2018/3/6 20:24Profile
Sree
Member



Joined: 2011/8/20
Posts: 1586


 Re: Unconditional love - Really?

I agree with your statement on repentance. God can accept any being only when they repent from their own ways. No one either born again or not, cannot be accepted by God without repentance.

But I still believe God loves sinners but he hates sin. It is like I as a father love my child but hate the sickness in them. So I have to restrain my children from those things that make them sick.

Prodigal Son's case is a clear example, the father could accept the Son only when he repented. But the father loved the son all the time, yet he chose not to visit his son when he was longing for pigs food.

A born again person living in sin beaks his fellowship with God. But God still loves him.

A perfectly loving God should also punish the sinners because they have sinned against his other children whom also God loves. God cannot show partiality if he perfectly loves them. Hence a loving God has to show his wrath.


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Sreeram

 2018/3/6 23:12Profile
davidkeel
Member



Joined: 2006/5/11
Posts: 327
From Liverpool but now in West Sussex, England

 Re:


When I tried to end my life as a person who was hateful toward my Mum I heard God's audible voice which resonated with love for me . But he also revealed to my heart a few minutes later that I was condemned. I had believed that there must be an after life and if I was good and kept doing good things that I would receive it.

That's when I was shown I was forbidden from it. It gave me a terrible depression but a short while after I found salvation and was born again of the Holy Spirit through a preacher in our city centre.

I don't know if God loves everyone but just thought I would say he does love the lost.


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David Keel

 2018/3/7 6:07Profile
JFW
Member



Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 985
Dothan, Alabama

 Re: Unconditional love - Really?

A few quick points;
1- Jesus loves everyone
2- Jesus’s love is not tantamount to salvation
3- repentance positions us to receive/actualize Gods love which can lead to salvation
4- Gods attributes are mutually inclusive, meaning He doesn’t stop one to initiate another; Gods love, justice, wrath, mercy, etc... are simultaneous

The gospel has been reduced (in many circumstances) to “God loves you”
without a sobering call to repentance- FACT
The apostles were murdered in the streets for the message they proclaimed- FACT
The message they proclaimed wasn’t simply “Jesus loves you”- FACT

So the “question of Gods agape love for the world” is (for me) without question, for He has clearly and eternally expressed that by the cross of Christ-
(For me) the question is how we respond to Gods love demonstrated in Christ and Him crucified... ie; do we love Him???

If we do we will obey Him and when we fail His grace, we will ask forgiveness and repent believing He is faithful to restore and empower us to walk upright before Him as a testimony to a lost and dying world~


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Fletcher

 2018/3/7 9:21Profile
narrowpath
Member



Joined: 2005/1/9
Posts: 968
Germany NRW

 Re:

The cross is the one and only and all sufficient expression of God's love to sinners. There is no other.

The biblical gospel message to the Gentiles should not be "God loves you" but repent and believe, as per Acts 17. I do not see any precedent in the bible where someone said "God loves you" to an unbeliever, neither Jesus, Paul, or Peter.

We must talk to them about sin, righteousness and judgment the same thing that the Holy Spirit convicts.

The Gentiles have the witness of creation. The Jews have the law and the prophets that point to the Messiah, Acts 2, 3 7 and 13.

Once you repent an believe the love of God can be experienced on a personal level otherwise you are still under Gods wrath. Paul give a very detailed explanation of the Gospel to both Jews and Gentiles in Romans. He starts in chapter 1 with the wrath of God and elaborates on man's perversion. Now after 2000 years we think we know better and preach "God loves you"

 2018/3/7 11:00Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4648
NC, USA

 Re:

//I do not see any precedent in the bible where someone said "God loves you" to an unbeliever, neither Jesus, Paul, or Peter.//

Maybe not, but that does not mean it’s not a true statement. Plus you are forgetting that Jesus didn’t have to tell them because he loved them in a practical manner.

You would not be able to count the number of times that Billy Graham told his audience that God loved them. Why did he tell them this? Because it’s truth right out of Bible!


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Todd

 2018/3/7 12:56Profile









 Re: What About Thus Passage

Mark 10:17 - 22

As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked Him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call Me good?" Jesus asked him. "No one is good but One--God.  You know the commandments: Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; do not defraud; honor your father and mother."  He said to Him, "Teacher, I have kept all these from my youth."   Then, looking at him, ~~~Jesus loved him ~~~ and said to him, "You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me."  But he was stunned at this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions. 


Regsrding this thread how do you explain the fact that Jesus is loving somebody who turned away from following him?

Blaine

(Edited using ~~~ to highlight Jesus love)


 2018/3/7 13:54





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