Friday, February 20, 2009

Is God's Love "Unconditional"?

Justin Taylor points to wise answers to that question from David Powlison and John Piper.

Here is an excerpt from Powlison:

"We can do better. 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."


Anonymous said...

"God does not accept me just as I am; He loves me despite how I am."

Well said. So, in some sense we have to know ourselves for who we really are before we can grasp the amazing love of God.

Arthur Sido said...

Quite true.

Kind of like "free grace". Free for us, but at a steep cost for Christ. Precision is important when we speak of the things of God.