Unconditional Love


Greg Elmquist

“God is love” I John 4:8. He defines love. He is the source of all true love. Any ‘love’ that is inconsistent with His love is no love at all. So, where did man get the notion of “unconditional love”? Well, obviously from his perverted view of God. For the God that is, knows nothing of unconditional love. Our God loves Righteousness and hates iniquity, Heb. 1:9. The Lord loves The Righteous, Ps. 147:8. There is one huge condition on God’s love…Absolute Perfect Righteousness. To say God loves anything or anyone else is to blaspheme His Holiness. The Lord Jesus Christ (and by imputation those that are in Him), is the only object of God’s love. ‘…the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord’ Rom. 8:39. Those who talk of unconditional love deny God’s glory in salvation by denying the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The essence of His nature (Righteousness), and the purpose of HIS death (Substitution and Satisfaction), was so that God’s condition for love would be met. Mark it down, those who talk of unconditional love do so to cover up and excuse their own sin. It may fool men but God is still angry. And what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of an angry God.


19 Responses to “Unconditional Love”

  1. ernesto Says:

    Excellent. And so true. We must be careful in our terms. Unconditional love is unbiblical, and I agree 100 percent with this short article by Greg. As far as whether I am Supra or InFra, i don’t know that answer to that yet. I’m a sinner saved by grace, and still learning that is all I can ever be.

  2. Alan Greene Says:

    I think of John 16:27 in reponse to the question, “Does God love everyone?”.
    Here Jesus, speaking to the eleven (Judas had already departed) says, “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” The condition for being loved by the Father is clearly loving Jesus and believing that He was sent by the Father, both possible only through sovereign grace.

    • Alan,
      A couple of things don’t match here on your conditional view;
      1) “We love Him because He first loved us”
      2) God set His love on the elect, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, not because He saw they would love Him.

  3. Alan Greene Says:

    I totally agree with your two points (I John 4:19 and that God set His love on the elect in Christ before the foundation of the world). This is what I was driving at in “only possible through sovereign grace”, but perhaps this needs clarification. We are ABLE to love Jesus and believe that He came out from God only BECAUSE God set his love on us (the elect) before the foundation of the world. In this sense, Jesus is saying in effect to the eleven that, the fact that “ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God” is PROOF that the Father Himself loves them, and has set His love on them from before the foundation of the world. Both the love for and the faith concerning Jesus did not have its origin in them. The reprobate, not having been first loved by the Father, will neither love Jesus nor believe that He came out from God. In other words, the assertion that “God loves everyone” is refuted in (among other places) John 16:17, which is the original point I was trying (not clearly enough) to make. I hope this is more clear, and again, it seems to me that we are in agreement.

  4. Alan Greene Says:

    Typo in the next to last sentence above. I meant John 16:27 rather than John 16:17. Sorry about that.

  5. You said, “Mark it down, those who talk of unconditional love do so to cover up and excuse their own sin. It may fool men but God is still angry. And what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of an angry God.” So justification by faith alone is not true? One’s level of sanctification is part of the determining factor in one’s salvation? If so, how doe this differ from the Roman Catholic conflation of sanctification and justification into an “infused” righteousness in the heart?


  6. Unconditional election presupposes God’s unconditional love for the elect, though NOT for every single individual. If God’s love for the elect is conditioned upon the obedience of the elect rather than the obedience of Christ, then we have works righteousness and congruent merit on our part rather than the absolute obedience of Christ imputed to us.


  7. Charlie,

    Howdy….I think you are asking a rhetorical question. Are you saying that a person may “in error” speak of “unconditional love” and not yet be corrected on this faulty language (showing they may be unlearned in this area alone), but they are still true converts, and do believe the gospel?

    what exactly did you mean by saying a different level of “sanctification”?

  8. I mean to say that the term “unconditional love” is an Arminian term. The Reformed term is unconditional election. In other words, no Christian can take any credit whatsoever for their salvation since the golden chain of salvation or ordo salutis begins with election, not faith. Secondly, sanctification is always imperfect and therefore cannot be the ground of our justification before God. Sanctification simply shows that we have a living faith, it does not and cannot justify us before God in the past, in the present, or in the future. To suggest that our salvation is “conditioned” on our obedience is to return to Rome. The Reformed view is that we are justified by faith alone plus nothing. While we might question the conversion of someone who has no fruit, the bottom line is that our justification/salvation is not based on how much fruit we produce, since we can never do enough good works to justify ourselves.

    Sincerely yours in Christ,


    Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; (Romans 4:4-7 ESV)
    Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. 2 For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:1-4 ESV)
    I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. (Galatians 2:21 ESV)
    “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? 8 Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'” (Luke 17:7-10 ESV)

  9. ” There is one huge condition on God’s love…Absolute Perfect Righteousness”, that’s mere ultra-calvinism. That’s so unbiblical, for our God’s sake! We reformed people say we’re totally biblical, what is that stuff? God loved, THEN he gave His only begotten Son, John 3.16, and not sent His begotten Son so then He could love us. Christ died for us EVEN when we were yet sinners, Rom 5:6-8.

    And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Do you remember who was Jesus talking about? The rich young ruler! Your hiper-anti-historical Calvinism makes the words of the Savior a mere mockery.

    You say, “he Lord Jesus Christ (and by imputation those that are in Him), is the only object of God’s love”. Oh, go back to the Bible my friend. Let me ask you something, why did Jesus cry before the unbelieving Jerusalem? (Luke 19:41-43). I encourage you to not come to your logic reasonings and stand by the Master beholding the Rebellious Jerusalem. I dare you to ask him, “Jesus, God of very God, why are you crying? You hate them, don’t you? They’re not the objects of your love, but of your hatred”. Ah, let Him answer to you that question, and then see what is the doctrine you are teaching!

    Oh, you can’t conceive a God who is fired up in wrath against the wicked, but cries and laments when he is damned ? Well then, get on your knees and worship that God that you can’t completely understand instead of making yourself an Idol which is not the God of Scriptures, but a god of your imagination and logic.

    I wish that spirit that enabled Spurgeon, the puritans, Whitefield and Edwards might enable His people now, to believe and teach about the One True God, and the Biblical Gospel and not man-made gospels as the arminian and hiper-calvinist like to preach and teach!

    We are not neglecting that God has a Special love towards His Elect from eternity to eternity. But

  10. We are not neglecting that God has a Special love towards His Elect from eternity to eternity. But to say that God does not have love at all for the reprobate? To the LAW and to the Scriptures!

  11. Pablito,

    The bible does tell us about God’s love. What exactly do you mean by “hyper calvinist”? This term is thrown around much, and I just would like to know which definition you hold to.

    Show me in the bible this love of God that is not based SOLEY on Christ?

    The bible tells us that nothing will separate us from the love of God, WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS.

    What other love are you speaking of?

  12. PS: I forgot to mention. The man that “Jesus loved” must have been elect. For there is NOTHING in the bible of a general love that is not a love that saves.

    NO greater love than a man lay down his life for his friends.

    why did Jesus cry before the unbelieving Jerusalem? (Luke 19:41-43) was your question: Do you think Jesus is crying over reprobate people? Read the passage carefully. What is your point? Are you convincing us of a general love that God has for every human being, Head for head?

  13. Pablito,

    God does not love the reprobate. He loves only the elect. To say that God has a “special” love for the elect and another love for the wicked is unbiblical. The Bible continually says that God hates the wicked, the reprobate, etc. God has decreed from before creation who would be elect and who would be reprobate. Yet we are responsible for our choices. God does not change His mind on what He has predetermined. So if election takes place before we do good or bad, then the implication is equally that God reprobates the lost before they do good or bad.

    For this is what the promise said: “About this time next year I will return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, 11 though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad–in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls– 12 she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (Romans 9:9-16 ESV)

    The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. (Psalm 5:5 ESV)
    The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence. (Psalm 11:5 ESV)

  14. I do not agree that the rich young ruler was elect simply because the text says Jesus loved him. This is Jesus’ human nature and not the divine nature. The rich young ruler walked away and rejected Christ. How could he then be elect???

    On this point it is unnecessary to say that God loved him even though Jesus is one Person with two natures. The creeds also say that Jesus had two wills: one divine and one human. Obviously when Jesus loved this reprobate man it is because of the human will. It does not speak to the divine will for the man. Jesus, being fully human, experienced life as we experience it and it surely made Jesus sad when the man rejected the Gospel.

    And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:21-27 ESV)

    Surely the context implies that the rich young ruler was not saved.

  15. Charlie,
    Thanks for the reply. We are in agreement on God having NO LOVE for the reprobate. I also, like everyone on this thread have room to be corrected on these deep things. As far as Jesus, in his human nature loving that reprobate man, but at the same time being God—-this is difficult to understand. I don’t like splitting the two sides of Jesus..HE was still ONE. I understand that people want to go into things like he got tired, God doesn’t get tired, He got thristy, God doesn’t get thirsty….etc. etc..

    IT is important to know Jesus knew all men’s hearts. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all [men] (john 2:24)

    I just think we should not discount the fact that the Rich young ruler may have been elect. If he definitely was not, then you have the ONLY time in the WHOLE bible where the Holy spirit made a point to speak of Jesus’ love, and it is a reprobate man. Let me ask you…please describe this love for me.

    Is it the kind of love that Jesus felt in his soul for this individual? Was Jesus loving him, knowing that the Father hated him?

  16. Ernesto, I don’t believe that Jesus was omniscient while on earth. If so, then His human nature gets subsumed beneath His divine nature and He is not actually human at all. That would be a heresy we call the monophysite error. That is, His human nature gets absorbed by the divine and He viritually has one nature. The orthodox and biblical doctrine is that there is a hypostatic union of two distinct natures, neither separated nor mixed nor confused but perfectly united in one Person, Jesus Christ.

    Jesus is our example as a man, albeit He is fully God at the same time. If the Bible tells us to love our enemies, why would Jesus not love God’s enemies as well? (Matthew 5:44-48). It could just as well be that Jesus is feeling human emotions in the text, not that God loves a reprobate man (Mark 10:21). John 2:24 is a general statement. Of course Jesus knows all men are sinful.

    Of course, it could be that the man is like Peter who denied Christ three times but was not reprobate. But it is strange that we never hear about this man before or after this event again.

    Sincerely in Christ,


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