MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM: “unconditional” 

MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM: “unconditional” 

This series of blogs on “MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM” is our invitation to you to come along and slowly think through these words so that we conform to the nature and character of God.  We will present a word each week to meditate on and conform our hearts. 

WORLD DEFINITION 

The dictionary definition of the word ‘unconditional’ means ‘not subject to any conditions.’  It also means ‘without any qualifications.’  It is most connected to the word ‘love’ when people use it and means that someone is completely accepting and caring no matter the circumstances.  An unconditional person accepts another person no matter what.  Another example, ‘unconditional surrender,’ is not really ‘unconditional’ in that there is a conditional response required.   

To be honest, when ‘unconditional love’ is used, we are commenting on ourselves and our expectations. 

CHURCH/FOLK DEFINITION 

God’s love is seen as unconditional.  God’s covenants and promises are seen as unconditional.  Salvation is seen as unconditional.  God’s promises to Israel are seen as unconditional.  Christians absolutely believe that God’s qualities are without bounds.  For example, human beings cannot sin in such a way that God cannot reach them or change them or forgive.  There are no conditions we can put on God’s nature that would overcome Him.   

This creates an unspoken and often unrealized contradiction.  Christ’s human embodiment is God’s response to our sinfulness.  God’s response to our death inducing sin is to give life through His Son.  God is without conditions, but His offer of salvation is through Jesus… a condition of salvation.  Submission/Faith (a condition) is necessary to access the One Who no conditions can overcome. 

People say, “I don’t have to worry.”  People say, “I can do what I want because God will always love me.” 

BIBLE/THEOLOGICAL INFLUENCE 

‘Unconditional’ is something only attached to God’s nature.  God does not force Himself on us, but we can by our actions and attitudes limit His actions in our lives because there are conditions to the receiving of His love.  God continues to love, but we may not receive it.   

The ‘unconditional’ nature of something is only unconditional because it is attached to God.  He is eternal and His nature and characteristics are without reserve or qualifications.  There are many passages that believers interpret as ‘unconditional’ that probably are not because of the presence of the word ‘if.’  The ‘if’ is there, but we do not see it. 

IF’ is a huge word in all areas where we think God, salvation, and promises are unconditional. 

Example: Jesus died for all, but not all receive that forgiveness. 

It would be better to say ‘God’s love never changes.’  God does not have conditions.  Just God.  If you want to participate or have a relationship with Him, then we must have a relationship with Jesus.  God is literally holy and above all things.  God is other.  His love is something other than what we can experientially produce and so we cannot put a condition on it.  He will overcome whatever we throw at it.  That doesn’t mean we get to have it no matter what. 

Great example verse (among so many) is Colossians 1:19-23 (ESV): “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, He has now reconciled in His body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him, IF indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (IF emphasized by us). 

MEANING 

This is not a very useful word.  ‘Unconditional’ is only helpful for us and does not apply to many things to which we THINK it does.  Only by walking in the Spirit and totally denying self can a human being at all hope to come close to God’s unconditional nature, but even then we fail.  ‘Unconditional love’ for a human being is an illusion.  ‘Unconditional love’ for God is His nature because He does not stop loving us. 

When we think of the word ‘unconditional,’ it should serve as a reminder to us of the words of Jesus Christ to deny ourselves and follow Him.  The conditions cannot overcome Him, but they do overcome us.  We must anchor ourselves in Christ.  Repentance and reliance on Christ (not trusting in our own understanding) allows us to live unconditionally. 

This series of blogs on “MEANING TO MEDITATE TO CONFORM” is our invitation to you to come along and slowly think through these words so that we conform to the nature and character of God.  We will present a word each week to meditate on and conform our hearts. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s