Hit "Home", "End"
This foundational misunderstanding regarding the nature of love can now be seen everywhere in the secular world -- in articles, self-exploration essays/ seminars/ web sites, in books and in music.
Within the Christian community this false teaching regarding the definition of love as being "unconditional" is easy to find by listening or reading what many Christians and writers have written and stated publicly.
Christians have written (and stated on television programs) that in spite of the personal choices of their sons or daughters to publicly practice sinful and perverse behavior, they would feel called upon to love them regardless of what they were doing.
They teach that loving unconditionally, is a fundamental truth about God's Nature. They contend that it is this view of God's love that compels their own unconditional acceptance of adult children regardless of what the adult child does.
They declare that the adult child should be embraced and accepted as a continuing presence in their homes in spite of their public sin.
The Bible does not teach this profane view of love. It teaches that everything in life (including all those persons we care about) is to be examined under the light of biblical truth.
What does scripture actually say about these kinds of issues?
"Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."
"Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW; and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD".
God is not talking about physical warfare or killing an "enemy" because they don't agree with you about what is moral and what is not moral. God is talking about the sword of "Truth."
He has given every human-being a right to life and no human life has a right to be taken by someone else unless the person has forfeited his/her life because of a criminal act under the Law.
The Biblical context is "What Is Truth" -- He is talking about truth at its Source and where truth comes from. He is talking about Who He IS.
Why did God Insist His People Stand For What Is True?
The God of The Bible is a Holy God
(All Justice, All Human-Rights, All Mercy, All Truth Finds Its SOURCE Only Within Him)
This truth is why He has a moral "right" to make this claim (because He is God): "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me."
"And anyone who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever has lost his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:32-39
Keeping Within The Context
The apostles, also, taught a consistent view of the conditions regarding truth and love.
"It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father's wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst." I Corinthians 5:1-7
The apostle's response was to allow Satan to have his destructive way on this unrepentant Christian.
"For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present."
"...I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
Remember God had given His apostles this special authority over Satan. This authority was not a power than could be passed down after the apostles had died (Bible students are required to keep all Bible teachings within the context the writer placed them within).
Jesus gave the apostles special power as a means to prove that what they spoke was from God. "I tell you with certainty, whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven." Matthew 18:18
Within the context of the problem within the local congregation, Paul chose to allow Satan to have his evil way on the unrepentant Christian (that special power could not be passed on after the apostles died).
The history of Christianity proves this true when the apostles were presented as the only persons who could pass this power to a believer (See the Book of Acts where the apostles were sent for because no one could pass this supernatural ability to a believer).
Let's Continue To Look At This Situation In The Early Church
Does This Situation in the Early Church, Indicate That Congregations Were Being Told To Set-Up "Morality" Control Systems, (In Order To Monitor The Moral Behavior of Fellow-Members)?
The context makes it clear that this was a PUBLIC display of an immoral lifestyle.
When sin becomes public, fellow members, were told by the apostle, they must demonstrate within their congregation the conditions of morality or else they risk becoming "arrogant" and allowing sin to escalate (increase) into the Christian community.
Paul was not teaching that Christians were to shut themselves away from rest of the world in order to not become contaminated by the world.
He was talking about the PUBLIC exposure of God's moral conditions reflected back into the world by those who claimed to be His people, but who were not His.
He made sure they understood this by telling them, "I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters; for then you would have to go out of the world....."
"But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one..." - Verse 11
This moral obligation was to be acted out by each member of the Church, "...not even to eat with such a one..." ~ Each member, individually, was to make this type of decision when the sin is public.
It was not God's intention that His people under the New Covenant were to make an attempt to control the lives of all other people on earth.
Paul knew this teaching of Christ and he makes this clear by telling them, "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES."
Based on the teaching of Jesus Christ, Paul was keeping his instructions in context.
Paul knew of the teachings of Jesus christ when He had commanded:
"...do NOT be called Rabbi; for ONE is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do NOT call anyone on earth your father; for ONE is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do NOT be called leaders; for ONE is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." Matthew 23:8-12
This was a public sin that every member knew about. The context is not Paul requiring the church to set-up a system of moral control over the personal lives of the people.
Paul was reminding them, they DID know what was going on because the sin was not being hidden.
Public sin and their indifference to it, was a gross affront (to insult openly) to the moral character of God. I Corinthians 5:9-13
Paul made the point that their willingness to look the other way -- regarding this public sin was arrogance on their part.
Paul warned them: "Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump,"
The Bible speaks to the moral conditions by which Christians are to define and act out truth and love. In the Bible, truth is not hidden in some tortuous maze of conflicting sophistical thought (clever or plausible, but unsound idea).
Paul reminded them what they should have remembered:
"....Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ..." I Corinthians 6:9-11
All human- rights within the Christian world view are based on moral affirmations founded on the moral nature of God.
The Ten Commandments Hebrew Scriptures, Exodus 20, 1-17
"I am the Lord thy God, Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Affirms that there is only one true God. It states the foundational moral condition for belief in God.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven images." Affirms that all other gods are false. It states the moral conditions of worship and recognition of what is true against what is false.
"Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain" Affirms that God is Creator and is due respect and reverence. It states the moral conditions regarding expressing respect and reverence toward God's Name.
"Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy". States a Day to rest out of seven days of labor by which a person was to honor God under the Old Covenant. The moral condition regarding keeping it, was to "remember" to keep it holy.
"Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long." Affirms the rights of godly parents to be respected by their children. States the conditions and consequences of that respect (that thy days may be long).
"Thou shalt not kill." Affirms each human being has an inherent God-given right to life. It states the moral conditions for respecting human life.
The Hebrew word, "ratsach", is used in above verse. It is the word meaning to kill a human being - "do no murder." In the Greek (Mark 10:19), Jesus, in referring to this commandment, used the word, "phoneuo (fon-yoo'-o), "...to be a murderer...", from the Greek word, "phoneus" - "a murderer."
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." Affirms the sexual/sensual rights of being married and states the foundational moral condition of marriage.
"Thou (you) shalt (shall) not steal." Affirms the right of every person to own property. It states the moral conditions of ownership rights (the requirement that no one has a right to steal what is yours).
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." Affirms the right to not be slandered. It states the moral conditions of truth by which we define perjury, lying, slander regarding our neighbor
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house." Affirms the right of each person to hold and keep possession of things others do not have. It states the conditions of that right, as being the requirement that others do not have a right to "covet" (desire to have) those things you own (put another way, they have NO right to attempt to take what you own, away from you).
Love Must Be Defined By Truth
Love can only be defined by examining the nature of God. Any aspect of love that is not dependent on or does not have its origins from within the Nature of God is (by definition) evil and a lie.
"Unconditional love" can only be defined outside God's Perfect Moral Nature because it cannot rationally be expressed from within a perfect morality.
MORALITY TO HAVE ANY RATIONAL MEANING MUST HAVE BOUNDARIES -- MORAL CONDITIONS
Any idea that provides license to evil when it is attempted to be practiced, is in reality, a doctrine of demons.
The apostle Paul warned the Christians at Corinth:
"And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst [until there is repentance and the sin is stopped]."
I Corinthians 5:2
Whatever the reason for the Corinth Christians to have been willing to overlook public sin by one of their members, it was not acceptable for the Christian community to become indifferent to its public display.
The Christians at Corinth, who had done nothing about this sin (they could not say they didn't know about it....it was publicly known), were not loving God within His moral conditions because they were ignoring the public sin of one of their members.
The Bible teaches that when a person loves God -- Before All Else -- LOVE can never be without conditions.
These Christians understood what the apostle John had said about love in relationship to the requirement (one of the conditions) for loving God.
John 14:15, teaches - " If you love Me , you will KEEP My commandments."
The Christians at Corinth understood that loving God had moral conditions that would impact their lives.
The consequence of not loving God by ignoring or overlooking public sin is the same, regardless if the public sin is being overlooked through a false idea of what Christian love means, an unwillingness to take action against a fellow church member or personal arrogance (an indifference to what God teaches).
The Consequences to Truth is The Same
LOVE CANNOT BE WITHOUT CONDITIONS
Hatred and The Christian
Because love can only be acted out and seen within a moral framework, does this mean that a God-hater is to be hated by the Christian? David hated God's enemies.
Does this mean Christians should hate all those who are indifferent, non-believing or hostile to Christ and His followers?
Because hate is a legitimate (right) option for the Christian does not mean we stand outside God's justice when choosing to hate.
God's status as Creator provides Him an omniscient (all-knowing) view of the minds and heart of all men and women. No human being has that ability to view the lives of other human beings OUTSIDE Time.
God examines all things through His Omniscience (He knows all things).
He has infinite - unlimited - knowledge. He knows those persons who will remain unrepentant (not sorry for what they do wrong) throughout their lives. He knows those persons who will confess their sin and stand before Him, brokenhearted in repentance and willing obedience.
Christians understand good and evil only through understanding what God is telling them about good and evil through the words of scripture. Christians are to make decisions regarding those who stand convicted of being evil on the basis of what is just and true.
"By their fruits you will know them..[Matthew 7:20]," the Bible instructs the reader. When a man or woman murders, the Christian can understand that the person is a murderer. As long as a person is known as an unrepentant murderer, the Christian has nothing else to go on by which to examine this person's life.
A legitimate moral option to hate, does not allow any Christian to feel hatred without evidence or cause.
In reality, the option to hate "justly" frees the Christian from a pretense to "unconditionally love" those who do evil.
Any church community who accepts and teaches the immoral concept of "unconditional love" encourages a pretense of an emotion and acceptance of a supposed moral position a person can not internally accept (nor are they Biblically morally required to feel) toward those who have done them an injustice.
This is a cruel and arrogant requirement regarding living out Christian love and it is not supported by scripture.
The person who teaches and preaches unconditional love has forgotten, is ignorant of, (or is arrogantly dismissive) of the moral nature of God.
"For they speak against Thee wickedly, And Thine enemies take Thy name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee? I hate them with the utmost hatred They have become my enemies." Psalms 139:19-22
David teaches us that to love God, we have made a choice against God's enemies. God's enemies become our enemies.
When Jesus taught that a person should love their enemies and do good to them, He was not suggesting that David had been wrong to hate the enemies of God.
He was telling His listeners that they were not to act out anything in "like" kind. The expression of love is a free choice to be based on that which is true and moral.
To hate someone and not to commit sin because of that hatred is always a choice.
This is supported by the biblical definitions regarding love. The word, love, used in Matthew 5:44, cannot morally be removed from its context where it is speaking to the kinds of choices one makes regarding how to deal with an enemy:
"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.' " Jesus was referring to an out of context use of the word, "hate" being accepted by most of the Jews of that day.
The context indicates that He was referring to, Leviticus 19:18. This text refers to the command in the Hebrew scriptures to love your neighbor:
'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD (note that God provided the moral basis of His Own Nature for His requirement that they were to love their neighbor)."
Leviticus 19:18, says nothing about hating your enemy (within its context). By the time of Jesus, this had become a common opinion (i.e., that you love your neighbor but you hate your enemy).
Jesus was telling them, that this common idea (understood among them), of hating your enemy (with the idea that it is right to PERSECUTE THEM ) was negligent in carrying out the moral conditions of God's love.
"But I say to you, love [Greek word - "agapao"] ["agapao" love is defined as love in a social or moral sense] our enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous [those who act out "moral right"] and the unrighteous [those who act out things not morally right]."
In using the word,"agapao" Jesus was talking about a love that embraces the judgment and deliberate assent of the will. It chooses the right (proper moral) thing to do in spite of an offense by the offending person.
It is a reaction based on moral principle, duty and propriety (moral behavior). Acting out this love is a free-will choice based on a person's moral viewpoint grounded and founded on the moral nature of God.
The context reveals, that Jesus was not claiming that the duty to love our enemies and do good to them that persecute us forfeits (i.e., "gives up") our fundamental right-to-life given to us by the mandate of God through the presentation of the ten commandments.
There is nothing within the context under examination to suggest that Jesus was claiming David had been sinning when he said that he hated God's enemies. Scripture records that David sinned only regarding Uriah:
"...because David did what was RIGHT in the sight of the LORD, and had not turned aside from anything that He commanded him all the days of his life, except in the case of Uriah the Hittite."
I Kings 15:5
Jesus could not have been claiming that a Christian has given up his/her moral right to hate, loathe or be repelled by an evil person(s).
Jesus was not claiming His followers must love (agape) such people in history as Hitler, Stalin or any of the nauseatingly (so evil it makes you sick) wickedly arrogant people who have lived and acted out evil throughout time.
Jesus was not claiming that "agapao" love wipes out truth.
He was teaching them, that there is a requirement that the moral person must be willing to act out "agapao" love to his/her enemy.
This free-will choice of acting out of "agapao" love emerges through the conscious will of the person (who has made the choice to be moral), to respond to injustice only within a moral framework.
By using the word "agapao" love within the context where He told His followers to love their enemy and do good to those who persecuted them, Jesus emphasized the moral behavior of God.
Jesus portrayed (to make a word drawing) the picture of how God will allow blessings on earth even toward those He hates (the eternally unrepentant).
In spite of God's foreknowledge about their lifetime refusal to repent of their sins, Jesus tells us that God will still act out of benevolent love by NOT withholding from them, the blessings of nature (on earth).
While God states that He hates the unrepentant ungodly, He has shown "agapao" love to them in spite of their offenses.
Jesus makes the comparison between how God acts out "agapao" love in the presence of evil, with the command Christ has given to his followers, to love (agapao) their enemies and do good to those who persecute them.
The context shows that He does this to define for them "agapao" love. "...in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous....; For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect ."
Again, basing all moral positions on His Own Perfect Nature. Matthew 5:45-48
This biblical teaching -- about where morality comes from -- is of PRIMARY importance to this examination about "unconditional love.
Matthew 5:48, reveals the defining criteria for showing love to your enemy (you should do these things because God is PERFECT), "...be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect."
THE FOUNDATIONAL PREMISE of LOVE, is that it is based ON, founded ON, grounded IN, HIS Perfect Moral Nature ~~.
Can This Be Said Too Often (considering the false idea we are looking at)?
The context whereby "agapao" love is examined in Matthew 5 is expressing a specific moral aspect of love.
If you show love to your enemy, you are showing love just as God has shown love even to those He hates and to whom will remain His enemy throughout their lives.
David reveals the moral Nature of God by expressing God's hatred for those who arrogantly choose to do evil, "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hate all who do iniquity..." Psalm 5:5.
Jesus used the word "agapao," in Matthew 5 because it expresses the moral context for love when dealing with an enemy.
This is not the same word "love" as "agape." Agape has to do with the emotions, an affection, a benevolence, a love feast. The word, "agape" love has to do with relationships.
Jesus was NOT teaching that, God would not have approved of such military battles as when the United States and its allies went to war in World War II, because He had taught us how to love "agapao" our enemies, within a moral framework.
There is no indication anywhere in the Bible that His morality would force people to give up their right to self-defense.
There is no biblical teaching that we are to sacrifice ourselves or those we love, to evil or evildoers. He does not expect us to feel "agape" love for those we loathe or hate (for just reasons).
There is nothing in the Bible to suggest that God expects us to act out "agape" love (the love of relationship) toward our enemies. Note that in the following verses where the word, agape is used, agape love is warranted (the feelings are morally right) by the moral conditions of the relationship.
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for (agape) one another." John 13:35
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." John 15:9-10
"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."
"You are My friends, if you do what I command you." John 15:13-14
The "agape" love being looked at, has moral conditions set within a loving relationship (emotional ties grounded in morality) between the parties. "Who shall separate us from the love (agape) of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:35
Agape love is biblically defined as being so strong, that NOTHING, but our own choices can separate US (obedient believers) from God's mighty LOVE
Agape love is the love within "relationship." It is love that will be returned or turned back toward the One Who Loves, by the Loved.
Hate Is Not Intrinsically Immoral
The Bible records that hate is not intrinsically (belonging to the real nature of a thing) wrong. It can be wrong. It can be right. Hate can be seen as a negative or it can be seen as a positive.
The specific definition of the word, hate, and how it is used within the context of biblical teaching, is how the morality of its place in our lives, is determined.
David declares that God hates His enemies (those who do evil): "The boastful shall not stand before Thine eyes; Thou dost hatest all who do iniquity." Psalm 5:5
The word, "hate" in the context of Psalm 5:5, comes from a Hebrew word, "sane (saw-nay') meaning, "to hate personally -- utterly."
There are moral implications to each type of hate a person feels or acts on. A person can hate and do nothing wrong regarding the hate. A person can hate and do a lot wrong because of the hate.
A specific type of hate is seen within the context of Jesus' exhortation regarding how Christians are to treat their enemies. You'll remember that Jesus had been responding to a common view regarding those who had accepted the idea that it was good to "hate" his enemy.
Remember that Jesus had quoted the common circulating opinion to them. "You have HEARD that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy.'" John 5:43
The Greek word, "heard", in this verse is, "akouo" (ak-oo'-o). The word, "akouo" has been used in a various sense, such as, a person accepts an idea because it has been making the rounds of human society; it means to, "...hear, to come to the ears, reported, noised about [rumored]."
The implication for Jesus having repeated back to His disciples this common idea is that they had accepted that it was good to persecute (hate) their enemies (on the BASIS they were enemies).
The word "hate," Jesus used in this verse carries within its definition, persecuting action against an enemy.
Jesus was talking about a particular brand of hate (a hate that gives permission to persecute). The word, "hate" used, is a Greek word, "miseo (miseho), coming from a Greek word "miso" meaning "hatred".
"Miseo" expresses hate through actions against those hated, to "detest - especially to persecute." Jesus examined this question about how we are to react to our enemies within the framework of how God treats His enemies.
The moral implications of the specific words Jesus used (and the context wherein He placed the words) show the direction Jesus was attempting to take His disciples in their common, but incorrect, understanding regarding this issue.
When Jesus compared God's behavior toward His enemies with what they had been accepting as morally justifiable behavior toward their enemies (which was that they had a moral right to persecute them) BECAUSE THEY WERE ENEMIES, it challenged their understanding regarding the issue.
Jesus challenged the commonly accepted idea that circulated among the Jews and confronted them with the God's morality:
"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His SUN to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." Matthew 5:45
Jesus taught them that if God does not persecute His enemies (those He hates) BECAUSE THEY ARE HIS ENEMIES, then His followers should not persecute (hate in that way) their enemies.
Remember that "judgment" and "persecute" do not mean the same thing.
Jesus was telling them, they had it wrong regarding their attitude toward their enemies (They had it wrong because they had allowed a false idea into the context of Hebrew Scripture)..
The common circulating idea among them had been morally incorrect. Jesus took time to tell them why the idea of persecuting an enemy (on the basis that they are your enemy is a non-moral act of hatred).
Jesus stated that if God is willing to do good to His enemies, in spite of His hating them, then they should be willing to do good to their enemies.
That God can act in love toward those He hates is because both His hate and His love is a moral response and morally correct within each context of its use.
God's prophet, David, defines God's enemies:--- "For, behold, Thine enemies, O LORD, For, behold, Thine enemies will perish; All who do iniquity will be scattered." Psalm 92:9
The Difference Between Judgment And Persecution
All who sin (the unrepentant and disobedient) are God's enemies. Yet, Jesus reminds the disciples, that God is gracious to send the refreshing rain on His enemies, whom He hates, as well as on His own, whom He loves (agape love).
Both hate and love are moral imperatives.
"I hate those who regard vain idols; But I trust in the LORD." Psalm 31:6
"Hate evil,---- you who love the LORD,---- Who preserves the souls of His godly ones; He delivers them from the hand of the wicked." Psalm 97:10
"But my enemies are vigorous and strong; And many are those who hate me WRONGFULLY." Psalm 38:19
David did not say that to hate was a moral wrong. He said that he was hated "wrongfully."
David hated evil doers personally: "I hate those who are double-minded, But I love Thy law." Psalm 119:113
"Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O LORD? And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies." Psalm 139:21-22
The word, "hate" that David used is "sane" meaning to hate personally and utterly.
The Bible shows that David was a man after God's own heart. Yet, David said he hated evil doers personally and utterly. Did David do wrong in hating those who did evil?
God stated that David did right before Him except in one sin: (see verse cited above).
David replaced Saul as King because God had judged Saul: "But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself A MAN AFTER HIS OWN HEART [David] , and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you [Saul] have not kept what the LORD commanded you." I Samuel 13:14
God loves those who love Him within the conditions of His moral nature.
God said David was a man after His own heart and David hated those who did evil. The Biblical examination of the term, "unconditional love", indicates that it does not find its origination (beginnings) or inspiration within the pages of scripture.
In reality, this idea, that love can be unconditional, when attempting to place it within one's life, results in betraying the moral nature of God and His commandments.
The problems with this concept of God's love are numerous.
God is a HOLY God. It is impossible for God to love with no conditions. Hell couldn't be God's victory if God could love UNCONDITIONALLY - WITHOUT CONDITIONS. It would be His betrayal of His word (if it were true) that He loves unconditionally.
This would make God a liar (the Bible teaches that God cannot lie).
Logically, if there are NO conditions to God's Love, there can be only one rational conclusion, the biblical God would cease to be moral and He would turn into a devil.
The Bible backs God up... He always tells the truth. There is no such concept within the Bible that teaches that love is or can be unconditional.
The Immorality of Love Without Conditions
To maintain that Romans 5:8-9 supports the idea that God loves the unrepentant in spite of their sin and is an example of unconditional love is misunderstanding God's foreknowledge, His love and His justice.
"But God demonstrates His own love toward US [obedient believers], in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for US." Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, WE shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." Romans 5:8-9
God is outside Time. He sees past, present and future all at the same time (standing outside time, rationally implies, All TIME, to God, is always His present moment).
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us (the body of Christ - the Church), in that while WE were yet sinners, Christ died for us." ~~ The words, "while we were yet sinners," is presented from within our viewpoint regarding our initial lost condition within Time.
Why should any person who after examining the Bible expect a morally-perfect God to love without conditions?
The Bible teaches that Love is moral. If it is not moral, it becomes something else.
Human love that has no moral character turns into lust, fornication or adultery. Spousal abuse is not love; it is the opposite of love. Child abuse is not love; it is the opposite of love. Allowing physical or emotional abuse to continue, is not love, it is giving moral license to hatred and evil.
You may have seen the interview with a woman who had killed her husband. When she was asked by the television interviewer, why had she done the crime, the woman explained that she had been abused by her husband for years.
The interviewer asked her why hadn't she simply left him. The woman said that the Bible teaches that she should obey her husband.
Incredibly, the interviewer allowed the statement to stand unchallenged.
The Bible does not claim that a woman must submit to her husband unconditionally. It teaches that both husband and wife are to be in subjection to each other within the morality of Christ.
To ALL members of the church, the author of Ephesians had written, "...and be SUBJECT to one another in the FEAR of Christ..."
And That Is Denying Who God IS ~~
The context of any Biblical document defines the foundational teaching regarding what it means to be a called-out community within a morally-fallen world.
Each member is being reminded in the Ephesians context that he/she should be willing to make the personal choice of subordinating personal preferences for the good of a brother or sister WITHIN the morality of a Holy God and his/her Christian conscience.
The Greek word, "hupotasso- to subordinate, to obey, to submit self..." is the word chosen for this context by the document writer.
The Bible makes no mistakes. The Holy Spirit was/is way ahead of any smart-mouth man (or woman) who would have attempted to use the verse requiring Christians to, "....be subject to one another..." to claim every member in the congregation was to "submit" herself/himself to that member whenever asked to do so, "..in the fear of Christ."
The writer nips this possibility in the bud, by defining the perspective of the morality. Not only does he define the moral framework of the "submission," but teaches that he is speaking of a mutual submission within the Christian community and within marriage.
He used the same word, "hupotasso", within the context of marriage and family, "...Wives be subject to your own husbands, AS TO THE LORD." Ephesians 5:21-22
To the husband, the writer of Ephesians following the leading of the Holy Spirit, makes sure that he sets forth the moral conditions of mutual submission to EACH OTHER, (the context of these verses), that Husbands submit to their wives as Christ gave HIMSELF for the Church:
Husbands, LOVE your wives, just AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR HER; ..." Ephesians 5:25
The Holy Spirit in Rendering What God Wanted People to Understand About Being "SUBJECT" To One Another in the FEAR of Christ..." made it clear that All WOMEN and All MEN were NOT In Subjection to All other MEN or All other Women in the church outside the morality of Jesus Christ.
The writer took time to define specific relationships in the context of mutual submission within the morality of Christ. The importance of the logic shouldn't surprise the Bible reader. see Ephesians 5:22
The teaching within Ephesians regarding mutual submission for the "good" of others in the Christian community did not establish a sacrificial self-accepted "slavery" whereby every personal right is cast away because another member(s) required servanthood of another member(s).
This chapter in Ephesians continues the teaching that is throughout the Bible. The God of the Bible commands the most profound respect for each person from each person and the greatest personal liberty under perfect moral law.
Each Christian has the option of disobedience in every situation not acted from or based on biblical morality.
Instead of acting on her moral and legal rights and leaving this abusive husband, she killed him.
Then she stood before millions of television viewers and mocked the God of the Bible by claiming (without challenge) that it was His morality that had kept her there (the logical consequences of this profane idea is that she blames God for her act of murder!).
The character of love is moral. It is not a thing that merely IS or stands outside morality.
The concept of love without conditions is not in the Bible. Yet, it has been accepted by many Christians as a fundamental statement regarding the character of God.
In attempting to understand the reason for the increasing acceptance of this false concept of God's love, it may be useful to the analysis, to notice the ever-widening gap between biblical morality and the apparent unwillingness of Christians to live their lives within the moral framework of the doctrines of scripture.
As polls and social studies have shown, the gap between the lives of those people who wear the name, Christian, and those who have no allegiance to Jesus Christ, reveal very similar acceptance regarding moral attitudes.
This consequence, observable in society, implies that instead of giving up a sinful lifestyle and bowing at the feet of God in repentance and a changed life, the "Christian" continues his/her lifestyle and chooses, instead, to redefine God's love as being unconditional.
The acceptance of the redefinition of God's love from a biblical definition to a non-biblical one appears to have a rationalizing force behind the acceptance.
That the concept of unconditional love actually is damaging and destructive of every human right outlined in the Bible, doesn't seem to make the false concept less attractive to those who maintain the viewpoint.
Somehow, the idea that God's love must have moral conditions because He is Moral, causes the greater emotional and psychological insecurity . It is as though the person cannot tolerate the idea he/she is accountable to a Morally-Perfect God.
That God has provided a reconciliation process (to make compatible again) for the believer when he/she sins after becoming a Christian is another indicator that God's love cannot be unconditional, yet this kindness and mercy of God, does not appear to make an imprint on those persons who cannnot tolerate the biblical definition of God's love:
"My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;..." I John 2:1
It is a serious intellectual step to accept the idea that a Moral God can love unconditionally. If the Biblical God could love unconditionally, there would be NO need or place for an ADVOCATE.
Once accepting the false concept that God loves without conditions, it is a mere self-rationalizing whisper in the inner ear of the "Christian" who is unwilling to pay the price of his/her faith by changing a sinful lifestyle.
Instead of removing the sin from his/her life, a "Christian" who finds comfort in this false viewpoint, redefines God's love and he/she is able to retain the sinful lifestyle without present penalty or future risk of hell (a fool's paradise if there ever was one).
Another way of envisioning the end-results of this false concept of God's love, is that within this viewpoint, a person can be loved by God in spite of anything -- whatsoever -- he/she chooses to do.
That this idea is profane should be able to be seen as self-evident.
That this false concept of love has swept the Christian world with so little challenge is nothing less than amazing.
Recognizing the self-rationalizing aspects of this false idea of God's love does not mean that all those who call themselves Christian and who accepts this definition of God's love is involved in lifestyles that are sinful.
It does mean, however, that the Christian who has accepted this false idea regarding the nature of the biblical God is allowing His moral Nature to be impugned (to be brought into question).
A lie that has made its way into the Christian community as a doctrine to be accepted, is a doctrine of demons.
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons," I Timothy 4:1
Christian elders (a service to the Christian community of teaching and watching over doctrine) are to be seen as, "... holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict. " Titus 1:9
Within God's holiness is His perfect moral Love. It is through this Love God holds toward those who love Him, that He made the decision to provide the opportunity for all persons to be reconciled to Him.
God the Father Did Not Compel Jesus To Die For Your Sins
"For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. ~~ "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father." John 10:17-18
This reconciliation of God and morally-fallen Mankind takes place through a free-will response of each person through faith in the finished Work of Jesus Christ: John 3:15 states, "...that WHOEVER believes may in Him have eternal life."
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
"And having been made perfect, He [Jesus] became to all those WHO OBEY HIM the source of eternal salvation,..." Hebrews 5:9
Believing in Christ is accepting the finished work of Jesus by which He saves us from the consequences of our sins
We respond to Him in repentant faith, submitting to Christian baptism (Greek word used is, "baptizo"--"to make whelmed" -- derived from "bapto" to dip, i.e., immersion into water), whereby God marks the moment in Time that He remembers our sins no more as He has promised:
Hebrews 8:12 "FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE
Peter said to them, "Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:38
So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls." Acts 2:41
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