God’s Unconditional Love
God’s love is qualitatively and quantitatively different than our love. Need proof? Consider the first part of 1 John 3:1.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”
When John wrote “what kind of love,” he was literally referring to it as “other worldly love,” indicating it’s not something we’ve humanly known or seen. And for good reason—because of God’s love, we have been brought into the family of God. What an incredible and miraculous reality that spiritual enemies of God can actually become spiritual “children of God.” No wonder his response to this kind of love was “See!” One translation begins this verse with the word, “Behold.” In our common vernacular, we’d probably say, “Stop and take a look at this!” No matter how you slice it, John is calling for a long look at the love of God.
Why? Because no other love goes to such dramatically great lengths for those who are the epitome of unlovely. Think about it—God moved towards us when we we’re fighting against him. God reached out to us when we were rejecting him. God wanted the best for us when we were at our worst. God did everything necessary to save those who were doing everything to sin. That’s the kind of love he has for us: unconditional.
It’s this unconditional love that is at the root of God’s redemptive actions. John says this is why he sent his only Son (John 3:16), and Paul asserted this is why Christ died for us (Romans 5:8) and why God made us alive with Christ (Ephesians 2:5). These cornerstone actions of salvation were not aimed at people who were deserving or worthy, individuals who had earned some type of divine extra credit. They were on behalf of the weak, the ungodly, and the sinful (Romans 5:6-8). There were no conditions that needed met before God would love us. He loved us out of his own compassion, what the Bible calls his “rich mercy” and “great love” (Ephesians 2:4).
When we look long at this kind of love from God, we will begin to be motivated by it. It will begin to “control us” (2 Cor. 5:14), enabling us to love more and more like God—unconditionally. To love, not just in word, but “in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18). We will notice a proactive spirit welling up within us to take loving action in spite of who people are, not just because of who people are.
As Advent draws to a close this week, savor the unconditional love of God that was showcased in the first coming of Jesus, God’s only Son. Let it sink deeply down into your soul, recalibrating how you love and live while you wait with eagerness for his second coming.