Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

My Photo

Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

God's Love: Unconditional and Contraconditional

In a post titled, "Is God's Love Unconditional?" John Piper points out two ways that God's love is properly called "unconditional:"

1.He loves us with electing love unconditionally. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ”(Ephesians 1:4-5).

He does not base this election on foreseeing our faith. On the contrary, our faith is the result of being chosen and appointed to believe, as Acts 13:48 says, “As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

2.He loves us with regenerating love before we meet any condition. The new birth is not God’s response to our meeting the condition of faith. On the contrary, the new birth enables us to believe.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been [already!] born of God,” (John 5:1). “[We] were born, not . . . of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

As Justin Taylor points out on his blog today, David Powlison has a booklet titled God's Love: Better Than Unconditional in which Powlison suggests four good reasons why there is so much talk in our society concerning God's unconditional love:

1. “Conditional love” is bad—unconditional is shorthand for the opposite of manipulation, demand, judgmentalism.
2. God’s love is patient—unconditional is shorthand for hanging on for the long haul, rather than bailing out when the going gets rough.
3. True love is God’s gift—unconditional is shorthand for unearned blessings, rather than legalism.
4. God receives you just as you are: sinful, suffering, confused—unconditional is shorthand for God’s invitation to rough, dirty, broken people.
Powlison goes on to argue that God's love is more than unconditional; it is actually contraconditional:

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.
Let us praise God for his great love for us in Christ: a love that is unconditional and even contraconditional!



Post a Comment

<< Home