Fatherly Talk 6.24
God’s love for us is unconditional love. Much is preached about but not as much is practised. Perhaps because we do not have enough examples of it or insufficient teaching on it. Most human love is conditional and when the object of our love shows flaws or imperfection human love stops. Human-love loves only when it is easy but stops when it gets hard and tough. Human-love even confesses with the mouth that it is unconditional love but in practice it is actually conditional. Words say that it is unconditional but deeds tell a different story. It is better to learn to love absolutely and unconditionally and make mistakes doing it than to never have loved at all. How does one learn to love uncondtionally? One must learn and understand the following truths:
1. We were created in God’s image to love God and to love people. It is inherent in our nature to love which is why God gave the two greatest commandment which summarizes all the prophets and all the law – love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and love our neighbour as ourselves (Matthew 22:34-40). Whenever we do not walk in love, it goes against the very nature of our very atomic and spiritual creation causing internal pain and disharmony. Original sin is the turning of God’s outward nature of love towards Him and towards others into a selfish introvert, self-preservation and self-caring and self nurturing nature. The root of sin is self and the devil succeeded in enticing Adam and Eve to seek to transform themselves into gods rather than being in union with God to be like Him. Understanding that we were made and created to be lovers of God and people is important to allow ourselves to freely love others uncondtionally. Freely, freely we have received and freely do we give. As God has loved us in Christ, so do we love God and others. We love because it is our nature to love (1 John 4:7-8). It is not difficult to love when we accept that our God-given nature is to love. It was created thus, fell away into selfishness, and born again and restored in Christ to love sacrificially and unconditonally again. The two commandments are now summarized in Christ – love unconditionally as He loved, as He birthed the new nature in us to love as He loved.
2. Understand how hate develops. How is it that Christians, who espoused the most loving Heavenly Father who gave His only Son to die on the cross for us, and Jesus who gave all of Himself for us, not be able to love others the way God does? Why do Christians also possess such ability to hate as much as to love? Christians do it is by transferring their hatred of the devil to the new object of their hatred. All Christians steeped in the Word of God naturally hates the devil and all the works of the devil. By not separating humans from devils and understanding that humans are humans and that demons are demons, Christians first associate humans with demons and then transfer their hatred of the devil to humans. By demonizing humans, it becomes easier to hate the humans whom they now despise and regard as the devil incarnate. It is so clear in the Bible that we are NOT to wrestle with flesh and blood but only with demons and demonic forces (Ephesians 6:12). We need to learn to love sinners and hate sin and the devil. Easier said than done! How often have Christians thrown the baby out with the bath water! Most Christians in practice hate the devil, hate the sin and hate the sinner, too. The secret of unconditional love is to NEVER transfer the natural hatred of the devil or demons or sin to a human being. When one has made this clear distinguishment in the heart and mind, one finds the love and compassion that God the Father and Jesus has for everyone saint or sinner alike. The elder brother of the prodigal son can never understand the love that the Father had for the younger son. Because the elder’s brother’s love is conditional but the Father’s is unconditi0nal. No matter what the prodigal does, it never stopped the love heartbeat of the Father’s compassion for him. Love humans, hate demons. Know the difference and you will always have unconditonal love.
3. Know that we were all sinners saved by grace. Let us all learn the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matthew 18:21-35). Let him that is without sin cast the first stone. Think about how the modern church will react to the woman at the well (John 4), Mary (John 11:2; Luke 7:36-50). No matter how long we have been Christians, it does not make our holiness or righteousness any more our own just because of our multitude of years in the Lord. We can be Christians a thousand years and all our own righteousness is still filthy rags for we are saved only by the gift of Jesus’ righteousness alone (Romans 3:23, 24; 5:17). No matter how high we ascend in church authority or have influence over a million billion people, we are still sinners saved by grace. Yes, we are saints but only through the free grace of Christ. If we even dare to think for one minute that we are better than others, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We are as freshly saved by grace, at the very second of our reception of Jesus as Lord and Saviour, as we are a million years later. His grace is our gift of salvation and sainthood. If we have been so greatly loved and forgiven, how much more should we love others! And if we have ascended the heights of Christian authority, power and influence, how much more should we love others because of His grace for us that allowed us to experienced such power and authority by His love and grace!
Therefore, beloved ones, remember three things – we were born to love unconditionally, we must always love all humans unconditionally and only hate devils and demons, and we were all sinners loved unconditionally by God and saved by grace – thus we can only, we must only, we shall always love unconditionally. We were born to do it, we can do it, and we had received such love!
Ps Peter Tan