My friends and I have been going around in circles on this question: Is God’s love unconditional? We are confused because of the simple fact that God did hate and therefore that would be a condition. One friend says that salvation is conditional but not God’s love for us. Could you please clear up this problem??
I will do my best to clear up some of the confusion although in some respects, I have often wrestled with this question. Perhaps, I wrestle with it because of the terms we use when asking about it. Specifically, the term “conditional” can be difficult to explain. But, let me do my best letting the Bible be the guide to this and all answers.
First, God’s love toward us is unconditional in the sense that it is not dependent on our behavior. In fact, God’s love is expressed toward us in spite of our bad behavior, sin. Rom. 5:1-11. God has shown His love toward us in Jesus so that we might be saved from His wrath to come against sin. Therefore, God’s wrath is conditional, if we sin and do not receive forgiveness, we will be punished. Rom. 6:23.
Further, God’s love on a physical level is unconditional. God gives physical things and food to all, no matter if they serve Him or not. Matt. 5:43-48, Acts 14:15-17. This provides witness of God that He cares for humanity and would have us acknowledge and honor Him.
However, when it comes to our responding to His love, this is conditional. In order to receive forgiveness of sins, we must respond by faith in Jesus which leads us to repent (change our mind) of our sins, confess Jesus to be the Son of God and be baptized (fully immersed) in water so that we may receive forgiveness of sins. Rom. 3:23-26, Acts 2:36-38, 8:35-40, Mark 16:15-16, Gal. 3:26-29 Col. 2:11-14, Rom. 6:1-7.
If we do not respond to His love in this way, then we are proclaiming our attempt to face God on our own terms and this will end in failure. 2 Thes. 1:5 and following. Therefore salvation is conditional because God has laid down a way in which we should follow in order to be saved. Also, He has laid down a way in which we should walk to remain saved. Acts 2:42-47, Eph. 4-6, Romans 6, Gal. 5:16-26 and many more.
God does love us whether we love Him or not. But, He will not allow His love for us to blind Hi from seeing unrepented sins which He hates and will punish in the end. Our only hope is in Jesus. To be in Jesus, we must meet the conditions of faith given to us as listed above.
By Gary Hunt