A humanist in the church started a concept that’s not endorsed by the Word of God. Unconditional love sounds right but it’s not. Unconditional love means that God will love me no matter what I do. That’s a lie! God’s love is conditional. His ten commandments are conditions for His love (Exodus 20). Repentance with the right attitude is a condition for His love; Peter was forgiven, but Judas was cursed; David was forgiven, but King Saul was cursed; Jacob was forgiven, but Esau was hated, Romans 9:13. If you sin, knowingly or unknowingly, there is a consequential punishment; and if you resist correction you can lose your salvation. Ananias and Sapphira were killed for lying to the church. It isn’t once saved always saved, unless you hold to your salvation, Romans 11:21, John 15:6, Hebrews 6:4-6, 3:14. He removes people from the book of life, e.g. the letters to the churches in Revelation. He sends people to hell, and hell is a place of separation from His love.
I guess if you cancel or de-value the Ten Commandments as no longer really relevant to New Testament, then you can make up whatever suites your thinking. Thus love and acceptance has become the normal response to people’s sin, and with that logic, it would make sense that God would respond to us the same as we think it’s right to turn a blind eye to others’ sin. But, what if your thinking is wrong? In Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus endorses the Law until heaven dissolves; He doesn’t cancel it. The word “fulfil” means to fully satisfy all its requirements; and that’s what Jesus achieved. Why would He do that if the commandments were going to become irrelevant to us?
Perhaps people think His love will always extend to me as long as I’m good. The rich young ruler was good, but he rejected Jesus’ love because it was too hard. The lawyer was good, but he lost Jesus’ love. The five foolish virgins were good, but they didn’t go to heaven. The Jews all died in the wilderness; they lost God’s love. Esau did not have God’s love; he had God’s hatred. King Saul started with God’s favour and ended up receiving a demonic spirit from God. If you say ‘I won’t go off track like them,’ then you already are.
Everyone seems to have a twisted concept of love. So many are hurting from the lack of a righteous father’s love, they perceive love from the need to heal their wounds. Thus love becomes something sort after to feel valued and favoured. In other words we desperately seek love for our own pride needs, and we use and manipulate people with our niceness and lust to get it. Everyone’s after God’s love for them, but the Word of God says “if you love Me, keep My commandments,” and “you are My friends if you do what I command you.” You’re the one who’s required to love God, not demand or expect His love for you.
People have a distorted perception of what a father should be like to them, and thus a distorted Father Xmas perception of Christ; a God that only gives you nice things, and lives His life to make you happy. These people end up in a mood and ‘spit the dummy’ when it all gets too hard, especially when they get corrected. It’s the humanist’s lie of convenience that He’ll do it all for me, and it’s a contradiction of Scripture to believe that ‘love has to be nice to me because I’m nice to you,’ Matthew 5:44 & 7:12. This false love is tested and exposed when you don’t get back the nice response you expect.
The false church focuses on do; what God can do for me, and what I can do for God. Why did you become a Christian? To be nurtured, to feel part of a family, to get what was lacking in your life, to prove to God that you are worthy, to escape hell, because it is the right thing to do, to be busy for a purpose, to be freed from my hurts? This is using God, not willingly serving the Lord, to the death, in His army. Did you join the church, or did you surrender to God’s call? Did you come to Jesus by a prayer or a vow? Willing has no ‘if.’ The false church exploits God’s grace as licence to do what they want, and uses their good deeds to justify themselves.
The true church focuses on unconditional surrender. It’s completely the opposite focus. It focuses solely on what God wants me to do for Him. Most of the time, like Moses, it’s WAIT; not action. It’s giving up all rights to serve the Father. It’s the prodigal son’s attitude when he returned from his sin. This is HUMILITY and this is “WILLING”. That is, I give up wanting my way. “I’m willing, provided I’m compensated for it”, does not equal ‘willing’. Unconditional surrender is not based on my logic; it’s based on His faith, and it involves metaneo repentance, and submission.
Q. What is repentance?
You can’t repent if you’re seeking the best outcome for yourself. You can’t repent if you think you are superior or inferior to the offender. You can’t repent if you won’t submit. Repent = give up my defensive rights; give up what I want; give up what I think I deserve.
Q. What is submission?
Submission doesn’t mean slavery; it doesn’t mean obedience. You can obey without being submissive. It means respect of the authority from your heart whether you like it or not, whether you obey them or not; whether they’re good or not 1 Peter 2:18; whether they’re right or not. Non-submission is actually anarchy and rebellion. Submission is measured by your mood, not your silence or cooperation. Your mood is an expression of your heart’s condition. A submissive person is correctable ie fights their mood when they’ve been told they’re wrong. A submissive Christian knows they have the right to challenge and question the authority; and un-submitted Christian demands and expects it as their right.
An un-submitted Christian expects God’s mercy and favour, and exploits it. God’s grace is not God’s nice favour shown towards you; it’s a series of events designed to break your will to unconditionally surrender to His will, so that you can know true freedom, salvation, and fulfilled relationship with the Father of spirits, Isaiah 30:18. If you surrender to this pathway, He shows His mercy towards you; otherwise He resists you. But few ever face their fears and fully throw their lot in with the Father, and thus forfeit living in the unknown realm of the spirits.
We live in the fear that our opponent will get their way. We live in the fear of not winning. We get so totally absorbed by the person’s hurtful attitude or comments against us that we immediately go into self-righteous defence. A surrendered Christian feels the barbs of hurtful words, stops their emotions from dictating their will, goes vertical (ie brings the Father into their picture and rests by faith in God’s Word), and receives God’s added grace to overcome their own mood reactions, and thus becomes untouchable by the barbs. This is how a surrendered Christian walks in constant freedom under God’s grace. It’s not God’s responsibility to make you feel good, it’s your responsibility to halt your mood and reach out to Him. He them supports you with His added grace. This is exactly what the Word declares in James 4. The truth is … you win by surrendering unconditionally. Fear can’t touch you when you’ve decided to sell everything and own nothing.
Q. So what is love?
The love of God is agape. Love is not necessarily being nice to others. Love is over-ruling the fear of what people think, to do what God wants. Phileal love is friendship and companionship between humans. Agape love is friendship and companionship with God. Agape love is not unconditional love towards me; it’s unconditional surrender to the will of God. Thus true love is the expression of our love toward God by putting His will first, our neighbours’ will second, and leaving our wants and will last. This requires surrender of ME, and it goes against everything in me, and thus is only achieved by God Himself in me. That’s what a true Christian is; anything else is fake. He might abide in you (God has the right to do whatever He likes); but you’re not saved unless you abide in Him, John 15. You do this by surrender to His will over yours, and it shows itself by treating others as you would like to be treated, especially when they have been rude to you.
Love is not a contaminated motivation subtly geared at promoting my own self-worth to make me feel good and worthwhile. Love does not use others for my emotional needs. True love is not motivated for ‘me’. There’s no ‘for God, by me’; there’s no ‘for me, by God’; there’s no ‘for me, by me’. It’s all for Jesus’ benefit, not mine. True love is all ‘for God, by God, no me’. Love is forfeiting what you want, to do what God wants, and this is the example Jesus set I came down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of Him that sent me John 6:38.
The LOVE of CHRIST is AGAPE resistance against evil, by FAITH
Examples of Christ’s love, & the Father’s love.
Lets his cousin get beheaded
Avoids Lazarus’ funeral and lets him die
Calls the Canaanite woman a ‘dog’
Calls Peter, ‘Satan’
Criticises Peter for not walking on water
Humiliates Peter publically in front of his peers
Tells His mother to mind her own business
Publically mocks and criticises the Pharisees
Kills the firstborn of Egypt Ex.12:23
Tells Abraham to kill his only son
Doesn’t pray for the world John 17:9
Lets people go to hell
Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah
Let Satan hurt Job
Destroyed the Egyptians at the Red Sea
Talks to Satan in heaven
Creates Satan to be the destroyer
Put an evil spirit in King Saul
God gave king Saul the Holy Spirit whilst he was under the influence of an evil spirit
Sacrifices His Son on the cross
Instructs Hosea to marry a prostitute
Let’s Rahab, the harlet, escape Jericho
Directs Esther to marry a heathen king
Puts Joseph through torture
Put Jonah in a whale’s belly
Hates Esau and loves Jacob
Advises Samuel to be deceptive
Complements the midwives for lying to Pharaoh
Mocks and curses the Pharisees
Expelled Adam & Eve from the Garden with no second chance
Exposed Paul to Satanic attack
Whips the merchants in the temple
Created vessels of wrath fit for destruction to highlight His vessels of mercy Rom.9:22
Gets angry and raises His voice Isaiah 65:3
Rules with harsh discipline Rev.19:15
Punishes with death
Kills the whole world with a flood
These actions listed above, don’t make sense to our nice thinking; and that’s the point. Jesus’ actions were designed to question our pride-based thinking. Everyone thinks they know, but true agape love surrenders its knowing in the light of revealed truth, and unreservedly rests in the knowing of the Father, and doesn’t question. False love may think it surrenders everything, but it won’t fully surrender its thinking, and it questions God’s judgment. It takes faith in God to trust His love.
Love is resisting yourself from having what you want, from not thinking you’re right, and choosing by faith to rest in what God wants and God’s knowing, whether it makes sense or not; and verified by the Word of God, by analysing His Word with an open heart to His thinking.
God only loves you unconditionally when you have repented, re-surrendered to His will, and re-submitted to His conditions. The irony is that we are the ones who are required to love the Lord without conditions attached, and that’s a condition of his Love.
May God reveal His agape love to you.
Pastor James Gordon.