…present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
I don’t always speak about unconditional love, but when I do not many people like me. What I have to say on the subject doesn’t mix well with syrup or saccharin. There was a time that I said that I did not believe unconditional love existed. I was wrong because I was approaching the topic like everyone else—on an emotional basis.
Love is an emotion, but it is also an action and people’s actions sometimes give a lie to the professed emotion. People who claim to love unconditionally often don’t act like it. And this is what threw me off. I knew God loved unconditionally, but I also knew that could be unfruitful—it went nowhere, and certainly not to the heaven many imagined.
The problem with people’s ideas about unconditional love is that they confuse it with unconditional acceptance. In this, they do greatly err not knowing the scriptures or the power of God.
God loves all human beings without condition, prerequisite, or favoritism. Even a fleeting glance at any faith you care to name reveals that God does not accept people based solely on divine love for them.
The twelfth chapter of the Book of Romans is arguably the single best practical guide for a godly life. It begins by saying that a person’s life is to be conducted in a manner acceptable to God. Even though God is love—and unconditional love at that—it is possible for a person to conduct themselves in a manner unacceptable with God.
No? Test it on yourself. Let’s assume you love everyone unconditionally—that’s a lot to presume, but humor me. Then, let’s say you are in a loving relationship with one particular person. Are they free to behave in any manner they choose? Are they free to betray you, lie to you, and physically or verbally abuse you?
Yes, they are free to do so. You cannot love them unconditionally without allowing them that freedom. After they have lied, betrayed, and abused you, do you wish their company? Is the behavior made acceptable by your love?
It is no different with God. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” That’s Jesus, not Moses. When we behave in a manner prescribed by God, in response to God’s unconditional love, we are accepted by God.
When we do not behave in accord with God’s will for our unique life, our misbehavior, and thus our person, is not accepted by God but excepted from the kingdom of God.
If you are an English speaker who uses the words accepted and excepted interchangeably, now is the time to learn they are antonyms, not synonyms. Look that one up too. And while you are looking up—look up to God who loves you without condition. He has an abundant supply of love, grace, and mercy for you.