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Unconditional Love

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Christine, Apr 3, 2011.

  1. John 21:15-17 - KJV
    So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

    He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

    There was a sermon in my church today about unconditional love. What the pastor had to say really made me think about what kind of love I give to others. The question was:
    What conditions of love do you place on people?

    It's a really big question, and one to be brutally honest with oneself. I've learned it is important to acknowledge these faults we have when "loving" one another, and to know what kind of "love" we are giving and showing so that we can correct it.
    Loving God's way is best, isn't it?

    What can we do to change our ways of love with a hardened heart? The only way I know to do that is through prayer and let God change our hearts to love unconditionally.

    If you have read earlier on in John you would have noticed that Simon Peter had denied Christ 3 times. Notice in 15-17 that Jesus asks Simon, son of Jonas (John), if he loves him and asks Simon Peter this 3 times as well. Also notice that Jesus uses Simon's given full name as if a parent would. It kind of sounds like he's in trouble ;)
    But Jesus wanted to Simon Peter to say it 3 times because he had denied Jesus that many times.

    the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.

    Here, Simon Peter says that Jesus knows all things, and grieved about him asking a third time probably because he knew Jesus knew about his denial.

    When Jesus says "feed my sheep", I think He means to feed the unconditional love to people; when His body expires, His teaching will continue to spread through His disciples.
  2. Hi Christine,

    There's another aspect of this verse that doesn't come out in the English translation. As you probably know, the Greek had several words for love. Among them were phileo (spelling?) which meant "brotherly affection" and agape which is God's kind of totally unselfish love.

    The first time, Jesus asks "Do you agape Me?" (Do you love Me with the God kind of love?)
    Peter responds, "I phileo You" (I love You with brotherly affection.)

    The second exchange is the same.

    The third time, Jesus asks "Do you phileo Me?"
    Peter responds, "Yes, I phileo You."

    Even though what Jesus wanted from Peter was the God kind of love, He recognized - and needed Peter to recognize - that the best Peter could offer at that time was brotherly affection. Jesus brought His expectations down to meet Peter where he was at.

    It's a lesson for us. Sometime people simply are not able to meet our expectations, much as they might want to. If our love is real, we will stoop to meet them, rather than insisting that they stretch beyond their current capacity to meet us.


    gemma, autumn oddity and nikljones says Amen and like this.
  3. It is not the conditions of love we put on others that matters, it is the conditions we put on God's love that is important.
  4. You're right to say it doesn't matter, but people do it all the time. Even I have done that unknowingly and because of that sermon, I will always look very closely at myself from now on. It's also the reason for divorces; we don't even realize what we do to each other due to that.
  5. Hmmm...well, we shouldn't put conditions of love on others, so if we are doing that, then it matters very much, if we aren't then you are right, it doesn't matter.

    I'm not quite sure what the second part means though. How can we put conditions on God's love, or are you referring to the way "some churches" try to make people believe that God's love is conditional?
  6. That is SO very true.

    We cannot do anything about the way others love, but we can do something about the way we love.

    Unconditional love is just that ... loving others without putting conditions on that love, and that is how God loves us ... without condition.

    Nothing can separate us from God's unconditional love ... Romans 8:35-39 ... And, nothing means just that ... nothing ... no thing.

  7. I am referring to the doctrin of eternal torture. How is it possible for God to love all His creation unconditionaly while he demands that you love Him back or you will burn forever?
  8. The doctrine of Hell isn't the subject of this thread, so it's a pretty large leap to make.
  9. It is not the doctrine of hell I am talking about. It is a perfect example of how christians put conditions on our Lords unconditional love. Think this through carefully. If a deity wants you to love him, worship him or believe in him or you will be punished, are those three examples not a condition or an agreement?
  10. I'm simply stating, that it would be a really hard leap to make from a discussion of unconditional love to the doctrine of eternal torment. I see how you made it, and I appreciate what you are saying, but it wasn't an intuitive progression. Since I haven't stepped in as moderator on this topic yet, I feel I can actually offer my opinion. For now though, I'm going to hold off because I can't figure out how to keep within THIS topic while discussing THAT topic.
  11. Well, it was you who asked.
  12. yes. Please don't take it as criticism. I'm very interest in both subjects, I just wasn't able to connect them like that, or at least, it wasn't an intuitive connection for me. I'm going to go with Ginger's appraisal and say that you have a genuine concern and preoccupation with this which is why it came so easily for you. Language is a funny thing. Without the right context, things can get pretty muddled.

    So, let me take a quick shot at this. You are saying that unconditional love, is truly unconditional (of course). I can't think of many that would disagree verbally, but I can also see what you mean when you state that many are placing conditions on this unconditional love. Some people justify this condition by saying something to the effect of "God punished us because He loves us". Well, there is SOME logic to that. After all, "Spare the rod, and spoil the child" is a true statement, but we also don't chop our children's heads off for dropping cookie crumbs in their beds. Eternal punishment seems to follow that same type of logic, so by punishing us infinitely for a finite amount of sin would be a disproportionate punishment. I'm sure Calvinists have an explanation or justification for this, but I've never been a Calvinist, so I probably can't represent those beliefs all that well.

    But, we must remember, not only does God love unconditionally, God loves infinitely, and most importantly God IS love (I think I read that somewhere once upon a time). So if God loves unconditionally, must he therefore punish eternally all who refuse to accept this love? Well, He certainly has the right. He is a Holy God, and as such cannot be Holy and permit sin at the same time. That isn't really condition placed on His love, but it is a condition placed on how we are rewarded or punished. Is that the same thing? Possibly. Or at least it would appear so from the point of view of the one being punished or rewarded. Would it be the same thing to God? I don't think so, but I am no authority on God's mind.
  13. Banarenth, I concider all of you my siblings, and I hold no grudge. I have witnessed many times online the courage ppl have behind a pc, but not face to face. I haven't seen this on this forum yet.

    The Greek word aionios means ages, and aion means age. It does not mean everlasting. If you go to matt 12:32 in the greek translation you will find the same word aion. In some versions they call it world but the proper translation is age (A certain time). I all the verse where you find in english translation "everlasting punishment" you will find the greek words aionios or aion. I am attempting to help you see that God's punishment or properly said Chastizment is not forever. For example, does the word aionios in Rom 16:25 mean everlasting? Where is the word everlasting in 2Tim 1:9? Here are some verses that explains both God's love and anger. I will paste them so it may look different.

    2Chr 20:21..."Give thanks to the LORD,
    for his love endures forever."

    Psalms 103:9
    He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
    Psalms 30:9For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime;
    weeping may remain for a night,
    but rejoicing comes in the morning.

  14. In the process of moving, and as such, do not have access to either my Greek Bible, nor any of my other materials, I can't really comment much on Romans or 2 Timothy. I believe that we are "supposed" to read both as everlasting, but possibly not in the same version of everlasting that we understand in English. I know that in Hebrew, eternity isn't "really" eternity, so I would assume (I know, dangerous) that the same version of eternity or everlasting would be presumed. It doesn't truly make much difference whether we define is as literally without end, or simply a number beyond measure, it doesn't affect any conclusions we come to in reality. If God were to send a person to Hell for an absolute eternity, or for any length of time beyond the normal span of a person's life, it make no difference in how we would interpret Scripture. There is no defined action for what takes place after this long (or infinite) period of time.

    Now, personally, I don't think time has a function at all after the age of mankind. A second or a millennium shouldn't matter to God. I don't think we can define God well within linear time. At least, that's my personal view of God. I try not to make any assumption that He is bound by any of the same rules we are.
  15. I use to think this word also meant eternity, but I did the research and Now I no longer think, I know that it means age.

    It is important that we as believers research as much as we can in both Greek and hebrew, and not always believe what our teachers teach. After all they are human too.

    Here is a website of NT to help you see for yourself. You dont need books. You can also get the OT in Hebrew top right link.


    Here is a link to Matt 12 and scroll to verse 32 and see for yourself.

  16. I use some websites occasionally, but I trust my books. Nobody can change them on me when I'm not looking. While that doesn't mean that the websites are changing, the anonymous nature of the internet makes most think much less trustworthy to me. In other words, even doing the work online and getting a result, I'm always going to doubt those results unless I have independent confirmation. It's just a trust thing.

    Either way, it doesn't change anything in my mind. I just accept this as one of those "impossibly long" things, not as a mathematical infinity. It's a linguistic issue, not a calculus equation. Time really can't be mathematically "infinite" because that really means there just can never be an end to time. It can however be incalculable. However, we aren't guaranteed even the next breath, so incalculable could be seconds, years, eons, or some impossibly long period of time that we can't even define with our finite minds. Does "mathematically infinite" punishment in hell vs. "incredibly long" punishment in hell make any real difference in terms of conditions placed on God's love? There are far more important barriers to the doctrine of Hell than simply time. Who Hell is intended for, is that REALLY what was being talked about in all the places people tell us it is being talked about? Those are the much more interesting and important questions. Fear God, not Hell. Love God, not Heaven. If we are living to gain a reward in Heaven or to avoid a punishment in Hell, we're already on the wrong track. Doing the absolute minimum required to get into Heaven only means that we have no idea what we are doing.
  17. I want to say that I do believe in the LoF, but It is not what many think it is. Do you know what the english word for Basanos is?
  18. A couple thoughts that often get overlooked when Chrisians talk about 'unconditional love.'

    First, Jesus warns those who follow him to stay within the bounds of His love: "...“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love...[John 15, read the whole chapter].

    The second thought: 'In Testaments of Love, Leon Morris asks, “How do we
    harmonize the assurance that ‘God is love’ with the assertion
    that ‘our God is a consuming fire’? Most of us never
    think about such problems, and in the end our idea of love is
    indistinguishable from that of the world around us.”'
  19. LOL So you've experienced that, too!!! I remember one time dialogging with the Catholics. I used there source - I know what was originally written because I did a "cpoy & paste" But, quite sometime later the topic came up again and I siply went back to the post I had made a few weeks earlier. I was once again challenged stating what I wrote (copied & pasted) was not true and I had made it up. I gavce the Website and to my dismay that info had all but dissappeared. And what was left had been changed.


    My second youngest son used to get mad at me when I had to discipline him.

    He would say, "I hate you!"

    I would say, "I still love you, Tommy."

    "Well, I hate you."

    "I know, Tommy, but I still love you."

    "I still hate you."

    "That's okay, because I will always love you, even when you do something naughty, I still love you."

    Then he would start to cry and say, "I love you too, mommy."

  20. That is too loving to spin on.

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