Let’s play fill in the blank:
Jesus unconditional __________
What word did you fill in? Was it love?
Certainly we often talk of Christ’s “unconditional” love. And it’s true that Christ loves us not because of anything we have done, but despite what we have done, in spite of our sins.
But would you have put in another word, the word obedience?
What does Jesus say about how we should respond to His unconditional love?
To another Jesus said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father. And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-62 ESV)
Just as there are no conditions to Christ’s love for His children, there should be no conditions to our obedience to Him. We cannot say “I will follow You if…” “I will obey You as long as..” “I will be faithful under the following conditions…” Jesus is not an enlightened being or wise sage that we can follow when we want to, according to our schedule or our plans or goals.
We can’t “have our cake and eat it too”—we can’t say that we love Jesus completely without obeying Him completely. Jesus is very blunt about the relationship between our love and our obedience:
Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21 ESV)
Christ has freely given us His love and His life. How can we hold anything back in our obedience to Him? Let us stamp “no conditions” on every thought, every word, every decision in our lives, let us strive to be wholly and fully obedient to our Savior and Lord.