Impact University

The Unconditional Love of God

The Unconditional Love of God 1

What kind of God do we believe in as Christians? I’m afraid that nine out of 10 Christians today would probably immediately say a God of love. That’s probably been the last hundred years that we’ve been preaching a God of love as the good news and more recently an adjective has been added to that a God of unconditional love.

I want to speak to you about God’s real character and I want to tell you that I believe we are mistaken biblically to tell the world that God is love, that is not the gospel we’ve been given to preach. It is not the gospel they preached in the days of the New Testament. It’s a misleading gospel, but for a hundred years it’s been so. Notice that we love adjectives rather than nouns, and we’ve added that adjective unconditional, which the Bible never did.

The gospel for many has become God loves you and that he loves you as you are so come as you are. All these thoughts are enshrined in Christian songs which are being sung worldwide. They are sentimental rather than scriptural. I’m afraid, and I want to give you at least three major reasons why our gospel is not the God of love. That is not the most important thing for the world to know about our Christian God, and yet it’s what they’ve been told as I said, for over a hundred years.

The first reason I want to give you is a very simple one. The Bible actually says very little about the love of God, but we’ve picked out the texts that do for so long that we get an impression the whole Bible is about the love of God, but it’s not.


There are approximately 1000 verses in the Bible that mention the love of God, but when you consider there are 35,000 verses only one in 35 verses mentioned the love of God, and when you go through the books of the Bible one by one, you get a surprise. There’s nothing in Genesis about the love of God. There’s one verse in Exodus. There’s nothing in Leviticus, there’s nothing in numbers. There are two verses in Deuteronomy, nothing in Joshua, nothing in judges or Ruth, nothing in one and 2nd Samuel or one and 2nd kings. The Book of Psalms has a number of Psalms especially which talk about the loving kindness of God. That’s an English translation of a Hebrew word  Hesed means loyal, steadfast, or faithful love based on a promise, agreement, or covenant. This type of love has a strong note of loyalty in it, loyalty to the covenant. God loves those who are within his covenant, but there’s no mention of his love for the world in the whole Old Testament. Move on from the Psalms.

There’s one book in the Bible in the Old Testament right in the middle of our Bible, which is all about love, but it’s human love and it’s called a Song of Solomon and it’s all about his love for his girl number 61. It says that she’s better than all the 60 queens he’s already got, and it’s a love song between a young man and a young woman and that’s full of love, but it’s not God’s love.

We move on into Proverbs, no mention of God’s love there on we go through Ecclesiastes, nothing. Then we get to the prophets. Now surely they talked about the love of God, did they? Well, Isaiah has one verse about the love of God out of the whole book. Jeremiah has one verse that mention God’s love. Ezekiel has one verse that mentions God’s love and when we come to the minor prophets, the smaller books, there’s only one of them mentions God’s love and that’s Hosea and he does, but none of the others do.

The New Testament

Matthew doesn’t mention God’s love. Mark doesn’t mention God’s love. Luke doesn’t mention God’s love, John does.

the big surprise of all is the book of Acts. In the book of Acts, we are allowed to see the early church preaching and spreading the gospel right from Jerusalem to Rome and it’s an exciting story and we have the preaching of the apostles in the acts of the apostles, and yet not one verse in the whole of the Book of Acts mentions the love of God. That’s big surprise Romans. There’s one verse again, nothing is mentioned in one or two Corinthians and so we go on through the New Testament.

one, John mentions the love of God quite a bit. In fact, nearly at the end of the Bible, in the first letter of John, you find the three little words, God is love and yet they’re not in a section describing God.

They’re in a section exhorting believers to love one another, love one another for God is love. That’s where the phrase comes and it’s a section on behavior, not belief. Then we come to the last book of all revelation and the only mention of love in that book is where the Lord says, those who my love, I rebuke and chastise and then that’s the end of the word love in our New Testament. That should tell us something and make us think.

The Bible cannot be described as the book about God’s love. It certainly mentions it, but that brings me to the second point. Every mention of love of God in the whole Bible is addressed to people who are already redeemed.

Nobody who has not been redeemed ever hears about the love of God in our Bibles. It is a precious truth. It’s a truth that is a pearl, and if you throw pearls to pigs as Jesus says, they will either trample them under foot or turn and render you. Pigs don’t appreciate pearls and I believe one of those pearls is the very precious truth of the love of God, which to the redeemed is the most precious thing and therefore is kept among the redeemed. Those who have been forgiven love much and they understand this word love, which brings me to the third point I want to make. When the Bible talks about the love of God, it doesn’t use the well-known words for love, especially in the New Testament originally written in Greek, the Greeks were far more careful than the English about the use of the word love.

Types of Love

They had different words for different kinds of love, and I’ll mention the four main ones for you. You’ve probably heard them from your own preacher.

There is a word Epithumia which is translated for the love of addiction. People who are sex crazy. We tend to use the English word lust for that word, but some use the word love for it. It’s the love of addiction.

Then there comes the word eros, which is not a bad word. It is the love of attraction. And since that particularly happens between male and female as God intended, eros is the love of attraction of a young man for a young girl, which hopefully will last them a lifetime if they get married because a marriage needs eros to survive and eros is a healthy word. It’s a word for the love of attraction.

Then they had another word, philia, which is the love of affection of friendship and usually is equivalent to the English word, like, I like someone that can be an affection between the same sex or different sex, but it’s essentially friendship of like-mindedness of having enough in common to be affectionate, the love of affection.

The world knows all those three kinds of love and English use the word love for all those three and they’re all very common. But there was one other word for love in the Greek language which was rarely used because it was used about a love that is not common and it’s the word agape.

Agape means the love of action, the love of action, and you can’t have agape without acting in love. It has an emotional connection because it’s usually born out of compassion or pity for someone in desperate need, but it doesn’t become agape until you act to meet that need until your compassion becomes more than compassion.

How much is it worth in money in act? And when you act in love out of compassion for someone in need, then the word agape is appropriate and that’s the only word for love that is used of God in your New Testament.

therefore again and again when the word love is related to God, you find immediately a mention of the cross for that is the one example where God had compassion on the human race and did something about it. And so this is how we know that God loves us because Christ died for the sinner and the ungodly.

John 3:16 & 1st John

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son and even 1st John where, he says, God is love goes immediately on to say, and he sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. This is why agape is so appropriate for the love of God, but you rarely find it in normal Greek because it’s not a common emotion or action. It’s quite rare. What Christians did was seize on this rare word for love. This rare love of action that acts and does something about the need of others and particularly the need of those who don’t deserve help and the leader in the need of those who don’t even bother to say thank you, agape will still act on their behalf for enemies, not just friends.

If it’s the love of friends, it’s philia, but God’s love is for enemies and those who have done everything not to deserve it, that’s agape and that’s the only word used of the love of God that should tell us something because when you say to the world God loves you, they will think of one of the other meanings.

The Difficulty of Preaching The Love of God

That’s the difficulty of preaching the love of God. They will think it means God likes me. God is fond of me. God is attracted to me, and that’s anything but the truth. God is angry with them. Actually, you need to learn about the wrath of God before you’ll appreciate his love. That’s why Romans begins with the wrath of God, not the love of God. And then the next reason I want to give you is this, neither Jesus nor any of the apostles, James, Peter, John, the lot of them, even Paul, never preached publicly about the love of God.

I want you to check me out in your Bible. Don’t accept anything of what I’m saying because I’ve said it and don’t go around saying this is what Rodrigo Luna says, check it out in your Bible. If I’m wrong, forget it for God’s sake. But if I’m right, tell people the Bible says it or doesn’t say it. That’s your authority. Don’t follow preachers or teachers. They’re only human and I’m not infallible. Nevertheless, don’t be a human teacher fan, don’t follow this teacher or that teacher. I’m here to tell you follow the word of God. So check me out for Jesus. His father’s love was so precious. It was a pearl that you don’t throw to pigs.

It was something you keep within the circle of those who’ve been forgiven and redeemed and who’ve begun to understand the amazing love of God as it was expressed in the action of the cross. In other words, you’ve got to appreciate the cross first and then you’ll understand the love behind it.

Now, all that must be a big surprise to some of you when every preacher around the world now is talking about the unconditional love of God as if that’s the gospel for the world. I tell you that gospel has very little effect on unbelievers because they immediately get the wrong understanding of this word love. If we could give them the Greek words we’d preach maybe the agape of God, but even that neither the Jesus nor any of the apostles ever did and especially the Book of Acts is the surprise because that tells you how they spread the gospel they preached.


His righteousness is what the Bible majors on. That is what the apostles majored on when they preached.  Paul, therefore, was able to say, I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God to save everyone who believes, for in it is revealed a righteousness from  God, a righteousness that is from faith to faith, even as it is written, ‘the righteous shall live by faith’.  Not a word about the love of God!  His gospel was a gospel of righteousness, and that is a good gospel.  That is good news. righteousness, the very first response you seek is repentance —even before faith. The gospel the apostles preached looked for a response of repentance.  You repent towards a God who is righteous.

We have a responsibility to understand and go after the word of God without having to compromise to fit the culture. Everything in our life works by covenant and conditions. Don’t let the culture influence you to customize the message of God!