Does the God of the Bible love us with an unconditional love? Are there strings or conditions attached to His love? If God does love humans unconditionally, how could He ever dare send someone to hell?
These are all great questions to ponder. After all, what kind of God do we serve?
Let’s look at what the Bible has to say concerning God’s love for humanity.
Gods Unconditional Love
It is an undeniable fact in the scriptures that God loves us all unconditionally. Nearly every page of the Bible displays, in one form or another, God’s incredible love. In fact, God’s very nature is love. He loves us because it is His very nature to love us.
Here are some scriptures that show us how much God loves us:
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the unGodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
The scriptures above reveal God’s unconditional love for us–no strings or conditions attached. God loves us with a pure and holy love. Regardless of how many sins you’ve committed, God still loves you. His love is not based upon your good deeds, your ability to live righteously, or anything else. God loves even the most diabolical, wicked, perverse sinner. Oh sure, he hates the sin they commit immensely, but He still loves sinners unconditionally.
Even when Christ was dangling from the cross, bruised and bloody, He cried out “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Christ died for my sins, and your sins. We were unworthy of His mercy, grace, and sacrifice, but He extended salvation to all of humanity anyway with His death on the cross. Why? Simply because He loves us unconditionally. If that isn’t unconditional love, then what is?
If God Loves Us Unconditionally, Why Would He Send Unrepentant Sinners to Hell?
This is one question unbelievers seem to have: “If God really loves us unconditionally, how could he ever condemn us to an eternity in hell?” Or “Why does God demand we behave in a certain way if He really is a loving God.”
It’s a fair question. After all, if God really is love, then how could he punish sinners for eternity?
The key thing to keep in mind is this: Although God loves us unconditionally, our relationship with God is conditional. Many people confuse these two concepts. They seem to think that unconditional love means an unconditional relationship, or unconditional fellowship. This simply isn’t true.
In fact, the Bible speaks a great deal about how an eternal relationship with God is conditional: You must die to self and place your faith and trust in Christ. If you don’t, God still loves you. He’ll love you if He sends you to heaven, and He’ll love you if He sends you to hell.
This shouldn’t be an earth-shattering revelation. Don’t we humans behave in the same way?
I mean, I love my wife with a deep love that could never go away. I’ve experienced things with her that I’ll never experience with another human being. We have been together so many years now, and hopefully we have many more. I love my wife unconditionally and I always will. She doesn’t have to do one single thing to earn my love continually. She has it.
But is our relationship unconditional? Of course not.
If my wife suddenly decided to start having extramarital affairs, cursing me out and belittling me every minute, and acting cruel–I’m simply not going to stand for it. I’d be crushed and devastated if that happened, but would my love vanish? Of course not. I’ll always love my wife unconditionally. Would our relationship change? You better believe it would.
Or suppose one day my son came home and told me he’s into drugs. Suppose he also says he has been sleeping around with random women, molesting children, and intends to keep doing so. Is that going to erase the love I have for him? Is that going to erase all of the wonderful memories I have with this son who bears my image? NEVER!
But if my son refused to stop this behavior, I will have no other choice than to discontinue my regular fellowship with Him. I’m not going to hang out with an unrepentant child molester, rapist, drug addict, etc.–even if it is my own flesh and blood.
And so it is with God: He loves us unconditionally and undeservedly. We, as His children, don’t have to do anything to earn His love–we already have it.
But if you haven’t repented of your sins and trusted Christ, then your sins have damaged your relationship with God. Every sin you committed was a sin against Him.
And God does have conditions for an eternal relationship with Him–and He states the conditions: Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. When you place your faith and trust in Christ, God credits righteousness to your account, you are forgiven for your sins, and you can have eternal life with the true Creator.
That’s not to say that you will not sin again once you turn to Christ in repentance. I’m a sinner. All Christians sin. But you will have a new relationship with God. You will be “born again” of the spirit, and will walk in the spirit according to obedience.
The Pride of Thinking You Love More Than God
What I find most surprising is the sheer pride of some people when it comes to this issue. I see it everywhere: blogs, television, politics, etc.
These people seem to suggest that they are somehow more “moral” than God himself because they “love their fellow man.” They assume that because they can accept someone who is living in unrepentant homosexuality, fornication, debauchery, drugs, etc.–they somehow love unconditionally–or better than God. Because they “don’t judge,” or because they vote for “gay marriage,” they are more holy and loving. After all, heaven forbid they be like one of those “bigot Christians.”
Where does this idea come from? It is nothing more than satanic pride. Pride is one of the oldest sins in the book–it’s literally older than dirt. Pride is what made Satan the devil. Satan wanted to be like God. He was originally created as a beautiful angel, but his own pride led to His destruction. He was subsequently cast out of heaven for his rebellion and sin.
These unbelievers pridefully want to pat themselves on the back for “loving their fellow man,” while simultaneously denying God’s standard and hating His holy commands (sinning). How prideful and arrogant can you get? To be a sinner yourself and yet think you know better than God Almighty?
They think they’re so “good, accepting, and loving” because they can say: “It’s okay that you’re gay. I still love you.” Well, I’ve got news for you: God loves sinners too. He loves them far more than you do. You cannot fathom how much God loves, and how God’s very nature is love.
But God loathes sin, and we are all sinners. He hates sin with a passion. He does not accept sin, nor does He accept an excuse for it. It is against His very nature, and with good reason: Sin hurts. Sin kills. Sin is disobedience to a God who knows what’s best for us.
And if you think you’re better than Christians (or heaven forbid, even God) because you can tolerate a relationship with a person soaked in unrepentant sin, then I’ve got more news for you: You actually hate that person. Anyone in the world who could let a sinner perish or continue in wicked sin without telling them of the gospel and lovingly rebuking them really hates them.
Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Suppose a person is walking down a field covered in land mines, and I know there are land mines there–and I don’t let them know about it. They take a few steps and….BOOM…they’re blown to bits. Did I love them? Of course not. If I loved them, I would want them to be saved from death. I would have pleaded with them to not enter the field covered in land mines.
I would have never suggested they go ahead and walk because, “I’m not going to judge them.” If I did that, I would have really cared nothing at all for them. I would have HATED them.
This is no new idea. In fact, the Bible teaches that a father who spares the rod of discipline doesn’t love his son more, he really hates his son:
He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. (Proverbs 13:24)
The idea in this passage is that disciplining your child will teach them to be Godly people. Letting them run loose in rebellion will lead them to death and disaster. If you discipline your child, it’s because you love them so much you never want them to be hurt or make a stupid mistake. If you accept your child’s every evil action, you are a lazy, foolish father who really hates his children and cares nothing for them.
How Can We Have a Relationship with God? What’s the Condition?
God, in His love and mercy, not only loves us unconditionally, but allows us an opportunity to dwell with Him for eternity. He allows us to have an unhindered relationship with Him. But there is a condition. What is the condition? Place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. That’s it. Surrender your life to Him. Make Christ your Lord and Savior.
You see, these people who whine and cry about how God sends people to hell forget one simple fact: No one has to go to hell if they don’t want to. Any sinner in the world, and I don’t care who it is, can right now take the free gift of salvation dangling in front of their face.
God wants you to be saved. God wills that no one should perish:
for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)
Are you saved? Have you trusted Christ? Are you relying on your own goodness to get to heaven? Or are you relying on God’s mercy? Are you placing your faith in Christ, or are you placing your faith in your pride and self righteousness by thinking that “loving your fellow man” will make you okay in the eyes of God?
If you place your faith in trust in Christ, God will forgive you. But you have to make that choice. You have to yield to the Holy Spirit knocking on your heart. I can’t save you, your friends can’t save you, your parents can’t save you–you must yield to God.