Nov 11th, 2018
Hello and welcome to episode 99 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklēsian House. This is Pastor Bill and over the next 10 minutes or so we’re going to take a look at God’s Conditional Love, this is part one of a two-part series.
We ended the last episode talking about a statement I made in response to the question, “Is God’s love conditional?” My response was “God’s Love has always been conditional, Jesus met those conditions once for all.” In this episode were really going to dig into the meat of this statement, or at least start to dig into the meat of the statement.
First and foremost we have to address that love is a verb. Love is an action, not just an emotion. If I say I love my wife, but I never do anything about it, never make an effort to spend time with her, never make an effort to hold her close, never make time to talk to her and listen when she talks then do I really love her? Love requires action to be Love.
In the case of God, after mankind fell in the garden God was prevented from acting in love towards mankind by His very nature. He loved His creation in the emotional sense of the word, mankind included but was prevented from acting on that love. God is holy, and therefore unable to commune with that which is unholy. To do so would violate the very thing that makes God, God, and He would no longer then be God.
Adding to the problem was that God gave dominion over the Earth and everything in it to Adam, Eve, and their descendants. This dominion, or authority, extended to themselves. For God to violate the authority He had given them, to undo His word, to undo the choice that Adam and Eve had made in the garden so that he could act in love would also violate God’s very nature and He would no longer be God.
There are instances in the Old Testament where we find statements of God hating something, someone, or some group like Malachi 1:2-3, “I have loved you,” says the LORD. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?” “Wasn’t Esau Jacob’s brother?” This is the LORD’s declaration. “Even so, I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau. I turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to the desert jackals.” For the most part in the Bible we find God waiting, patient in His love, for the right conditions for Him to be able to move. We find moments of righteousness here and there brought by faith. That righteousness creates in the heart of man perfection, which is the condition required for God to move, to act, to love. We see these moments laid out in Hebrews 11, it reads, “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors won God’s approval. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith. By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him. By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear, built an ark to deliver his family. By faith he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and set out for a place that he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he stayed as a foreigner in the land of promise, living in tents as did Isaac and Jacob, coheirs of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. Therefore, from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore. These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance, greeted them, and confessed that they were foreigners and temporary residents on the earth. Now those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they were thinking about where they came from, they would have had an opportunity to return. But they now desire a better place—a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. He received the promises and yet he was offering his one and only son, the one to whom it had been said, Your offspring will be called through Isaac. He considered God to be able even to raise someone from the dead; therefore, he received him back, figuratively speaking. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the Israelites and gave instructions concerning his bones. By faith Moses, after he was born, was hidden by his parents for three months, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they didn’t fear the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and chose to suffer with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin. For he considered reproach for the sake of God to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward. By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees him who is invisible. By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after being marched around by the Israelites for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute welcomed the spies in peace and didn’t perish with those who disobeyed. And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead, raised to life again. Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.”
This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”