What is Unconditional Love?
In church services, we regularly talk about God’s unconditional love. But do we understand what “unconditional” truly means?
The closest thing I can think of to “unconditional love” on this earth is a parent’s love for a child, but even then, we’re only skimming the surface of God’s Unconditional Love for us. In 1 Corinthians, Paul fully defines God’s Love (or agape) as:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
As you can see, our love, even our purest-intended love, often falls short of this incredible promise of absolute love. Being a father of three beautiful children, I often find that despite my best intentions, I become impatient and irritable with them. God’s love, on the other hand, is perfect. It has no bindings and trappings, and He doesn’t get annoyed or resentful at our failings. He simply loves.
Now, although God’s love is absolute, I believe we tend to think of it all wrong. We think, “Well, if God loves me unconditionally, I can stay status quo, right? If God loves me just the way I am, why do I need to change at all? It’s because God loves us unconditionally that he wants us to grow and transform. He does not want us to stay stagnant in sin and despair.
2 Corinthians 3:18 explains it like this: “As God’s Spirit works within us, we are being transformed to become more like Christ. This change, from one degree of glory to another, comes from the Lord.” He only wants the best for us, which is often not where we currently stand.
There is an immediate, perceptible transformation that takes place when a New Believer is hit with the often startling and remarkable realization that God’s love is unencumbered by expectations and conditions. We all live in a world where love is given based on performance, so when people realize that God doesn’t work that way, there is a sense of what I can only describe as relief. We’re suddenly set free to transform in God’s love.
AND WE ALL, WHO WITH UNVEILED FACES CONTEMPLATE THE LORD’S GLORY, ARE BEING TRANSFORMED INTO HIS IMAGE WITH EVER-INCREASING GLORY, WHICH COMES FROM THE LORD, WHO IS THE SPIRIT.