Unconditional Love

Topic: Mission. Learning how we as disciples who walk with God are led into action to participate in God’s transforming work in the world.

God loves us unconditionally. There is no condition in which God will not love us. 

Nerd warning: I love logic and find this stuff interesting. You have been warned. 

In logic (and grammar), a conditional sentence has two parts: If x, then y. A conditional sentence is always true. If x is true, then y will always be true.  For example, if a shape has three sides, the nit is a triangle. Or if your nose runs and your feet smell, then you are built upside down. 

When we say that God’s love is unconditional, we mean that there is no sentence that can be formed where if x, then God will love us. For example, if we are a good person, then God will love us or if we go to church, then God will love us. Those statements are false. We believe God always loves us, without condition. 

But our love of God is conditional. In John 21: 15-19, Jesus asks Peter three times “Do you love me?” When Peter replies that he loves Jesus, Jesus replies, “Feed my sheep.” This could be read as a conditional sentence. If you love me, then you will feed my sheep/lambs. If the first part is true, then the second part is always true. If we love Jesus/God, then we will feed his sheep.

And the Good Shepherd has lots of sheep. His sheep are all of the children of God: your neighbor, the children at Montclair, the homeless man sleeping on the street, everyone. 

Serving others, healing divisions, and establishing the Kingdom of God is not optional for anyone who says that they love God. It is how we respond to God’s love. It is the condition of loving God. 

I often quote Reggie McNeal, who likes to say, “the Church does not have a mission; God’s mission has a church.” In other words, God is at work in this world, and He has invited the Church (the global community of people who follow Jesus) to help. Our mission is to do God’s mission. Our mission is to feed Jesus’ sheep. 

God loves us unconditionally. But our loving response has a condition. If we love God, then we will feed His sheep. That is our mission. 

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Michael Hoffman

The Rev. Dr. Michael Hoffman is the 18th rector of Christ Church. He and his wife Amy have two children. Michael is passionate about proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ and expanding the Kingdom of God inside and outside of the church walls.

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