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FAITH COLUMN: Is God’s love conditional, or is it unconditional?

OPINION: “If there were any conditions to God’s love, we couldn’t fulfill those conditions because we’re sinful (Romans 3:23).”

The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. It has been provided as part of a partnership with AllOnGeorgia and Creation Ministries International

By: Lita Cosner, CMI-US

Lita is well-known for her gracious, yet challenging responses to questioners and often detractors who contact CREATION.com

Lita is a specialist in New Testament studies and obtained a B.A. (summa cum laude) in Biblical Studies from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2008. She received an M.A. (cum laude) in New Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2012. Her thesis is titled Jesus the Honorable Broker: A Social-Scientific Efxegesis of Matthew 15:21–28.

Her passion is interpreting the New Testament in a way that is understandable to the average Christian, as well as showing how the New Testament authors used the teachings of the Old Testament as the foundation for their theology, particularly in the area of Creation. She is the co-author of the booklets How Did We Get Our Bible? and Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong?. Her talk, Creation in the New Testament and Why it Matters, is available as a video download.


Is God’s love conditional, or is it unconditional?

The answer, in a way that might seem counterintuitive, is that it’s both conditional and unconditional. Personally, I like Don Carson’s take on the subject in his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. But from a creation perspective, we can see how it must be both conditional and unconditional.

First, if there were any conditions to God’s love, we couldn’t fulfill those conditions because we’re sinful (Romans 3:23). So God’s providence in giving us the things we need to live like food and shelter and all the good things of life on earth, even though we’ve done nothing to deserve them, is a manifestation of God’s unconditional love toward His creation.

But there is a sense in which the specific love He shows to His people is conditional. All of us deserve eternal judgment in Hell because we’ve sinned. But Jesus, in the Incarnation, lived the perfect sinless life we couldn’t live, and then died the death that we deserved, and rose on the third day. This means that when we trust in Him, our sin is covered by His death (Isaiah 53:6), and His perfect righteousness is credited to us (2 Corinthians 5:21), so that God sees us with the righteousness of Christ. So the condition for this element of God’s specific love for His people who will enjoy eternal life in the resurrection on the restored Earth is that they trust in Christ alone.

So God’s love is both conditional and unconditional, but He even fulfilled the conditions through the obedient life and sacrificial death of God the Son.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. R K

    October 9, 2021 at 5:50 pm

    The big lie is that we all deserve eternal punishment. Unconditional love, as Paul says, keeps no record of wrongs. ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the SIN (that is, Original Sin, not individual sins) of the world. God sees only the perfected human in Jesus, and therefore, no one and no thing can or will ever be lost. Even the so called devil, Satan, the OTHER son of God, is redeemed. Our lives then in all their joy and folly, are our responsibility. The World is saved. Be grateful for that. Thanks.

  2. BONMEYONG ERIC KANLA

    October 23, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    God’s love has a condition, and the condition is fulfilled in His son. John 3:16.
    Psalm 2:12
    King James Version
    12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

  3. Brock Jackson

    February 11, 2022 at 3:25 am

    R K : that theology is incorrect. Read Revelation, lake of fire created for the devil and his angels.

    Jesus in Mark 9:44-48

    Ms. Lita Cosner:

    Justified by faith, trusting God to do what we cannot. Our dependence on him is vital to our eternal life. “Living” in the flesh isa type of existence, but temporal and earthly, fleeting and not worthy of eternity, therefore will not be remembered.

    Eternal life necessitates the eternal life of God inside. (Of course only in the born again sanctified believer of the Lord Jesus.)

    Then how to learn to walk by faith and live in the spirit? One step at a time, replacing fear with faith in God and trusting God, and leading where His spirit leads, (into all truth, externally visible acts of agape, same works as the Lord Jesus) if indeed we have been taught the truth in Jesus.

    Perfect love casts out fear, then finding contentment in the love of God through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, can we resist the devil, world, sinful desires of the past and the flesh, when we are enamored with a greater love, and filled with His love.

    The devil and world has no claim and cannot touch the newness of Life, as a different kingdom (light), a new dimension, a new creation in the presence of God

    Darkness could not comprehend (nor overcome)

    Therefore the command is to love, and keep oneself in the Love of God

    “Saving themselves” for the Lord

    [ save yourself from this wicked and adulterous generation ]

    It begins with the Call of God faith came by hearing and after receiving and accepting God’s invitation in Salvation in the new birth then the response in the Judgment of faith is the life lived hi there in faith in light of God’s grace or outside of faith in a disgrace

    The condemnation is that men love darkness rather than the Light

    If any does not love the Lord Jesus let him be anathema Maranatha

    Anyone who loves knows God and has been born of God

    If you love me keep my commands; they are not burdensome to love one another as I have loved you

    Love does no wrong love fulfills the law.

    The law of Christ

    Entering into the realm

  4. Christina

    August 13, 2022 at 11:42 pm

    God’s love is NEVER conditional it’s a free gift we need ONLY to accept it. If it were conditional Jesus NEVER would’ve died to bridge the gap.

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