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Is God capable of unconditional love? Is God for you or against you? These are dangerous but necessary questions. Dangerous because, who are we to question God? If God isn’t perfect, then no one is. Necessary because we must have the answers if we are to trust God.
Unconditional Love Does Not Eliminate Hardship
The Bible contains several stories that may cause you to question whether God is for you or against you. You might feel like one day He is on your side, and the next, He is working to thwart your success. Why would God allow Joseph’s brothers to betray him? Why would He kill Uzzah for touching the ark? Why did He kill Ananias and Sapphira for lying?
Anyone who deliberately goes against God’s purposes can’t expect to have a positive outcome. In the case of Joseph, it was his brothers who suffered because of the famine. They lived with guilt for years. Joseph suffered too, but he didn’t act against God. Uzzah directly disobeyed God’s command. Similarly, Ananias and Sapphira intentionally tried to lie to God. The quality of suffering is vastly different when sin is involved.
In all these situations God’s purposes prevail. Some people are examples to others for what not to do. These are exceptions for the most part. God’s discipline might lead to physical death but not spiritual death. The important takeaway is, no matter how much you suffer, you must continue to trust God.
Unconditional Love Eliminates All Obstacles
Sin and the love of this world prevent many people from entering the kingdom of heaven (James 4:4). Determining if God is for or against you might be as easy as knowing whether you are for or against God.
Many attitudes and actions go along with being “pro” or “for” someone. You would likely:
- count yourself as on their side.
- speak favorably of them.
- be willing to be under their authority.
- act for the sake of their interests.
God takes this one step further and asks His follower to be willing to give up anything and potentially everything to become a member of His family. It’s a true mark of being a believer. Absolutely nothing should prevent you from following Christ. Only true believers can see that nothing is more important than God.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’
So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:26-30, 33 ESV
To respect God’s offer of unconditional love believers must meet it with their own unconditional surrender.
Unconditional Love Guarantees Absolute Security
Unconditional love is the greatest virtue and therefore the greatest measure of God’s character. God isn’t a trickster. God is for us, not against us. As believers, we are God’s elect, chosen and justified by Him. God is on our side, working for His purposes which includes our benefit. And furthermore, God is “kind to the ungrateful and the evil” (Luke 6:35). He is patient and kind to us even when we don’t deserve His unconditional love.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?Romans 8:31-35 ESV
If nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, we always have reason to hope. If you could lose your salvation, how could you continue to feel hope and connection with Christ? You couldn’t. Thanks to God’s unrelenting and indestructible love, you can live in security, not live in fear.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.