Day 7: We have the unconditional love of God. 
Scripture: “… For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.” (Psalm 130:7 ESV)
What is love?
Is it a give-and-take sort of thing, or is it achievable? Is it merely instinctual or calculated? Why is love so enchanting yet often, so devastating?
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he describes,
“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”1 corinTHIANS 13:4-7 ESV
How does Paul’s type of love stack up against what you’ve received? Or how about the love you’ve given to others?
Many times, as I consider unconditional love, I picture it like a ray (mathematically speaking). It has a starting place and continues without end in a certain direction. It isn’t circular. It is always traveling from its origin outward towards another.
Unfortunately, we seldom see this kind of love. Instead, we tend to see more conditional love–people giving love to get it in return. (I picture this as circular.) For instance, a person might offer platitudes or do acts of kindness at work for someone who holds the power to improve the subordinate’s position or salary. Or a young man might do all sorts of things to impress a girl so that she will in turn like him back.
But bosses come and go, and some promotions aren’t exactly a good thing. And it only takes a few years before wrinkles leave their mark on a once fair catch. Circumstances affect our ability to give and receive love.
But God’s love is steadfast. The Bible tells us that He gave it to us even when we were insensible to return ours to Him. In Romans 5:8, the apostle Paul explains, “…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This Scripture illustrates that God’s love was initiated by Him and was given to us before we could ever reciprocate.
And again in 1 John we read,
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”1 john 4:9-10
God’s love sought to cover us and create a way for us to be forgiven and clothed in the righteousness of Christ even while we were functioning as enemies to God. He did not have to do this. But He chose to. This is the kind of love that only benefits the receiver. It is selfless. It originates with God yet only goes toward us.
In Hosea, the nation of Israel had flagrantly abandoned God to worship other idols for years. God patiently waited for their repentance, but they did not. Yet God declared, “I will heal their apostasy; I will freely love them, for my anger has turned from them.” (Hos 14:4) When our love for God falters, His love, even when taken for granted, remains steadfast.
God’s love never ceases for us even in his righteous anger toward our sinfulness. His love is patient. It is always available to us. He even delights in giving us mercy. The prophet Micah declares,
“Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”Micah 7:18-19
Not only does the Old Testament illustrate God’s steadfast love and mercy, but likewise it is seen in the New Testament. For instance, in the book of Titus Paul writes,
“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy —by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”Titus 3:4-7
The difference between God’s love and ours is shown as the prophet Isaiah wrote, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned –every one –to his own way…” (Isaiah 53:6a) Our love is self-centered. It doesn’t always seek to build up or encourage others. While it may go out from us to others, often we still hope to benefit in some way from the return of our given love.
But the love of God is greater still than our selfish hearts. His love is enduring. Isaiah continues in verse 53, “…and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isa 53:6b) God’s love continues for us even as we are in sin. God’s love is patient. He waits for us to recognize our foolishness. It is kind. He has planned to lavish us with grace and pardon for our wrongs through the blood of Christ as we repent. His love doesn’t fail toward us.
The key to this kind of love is Jesus.
Jesus offers us the love of the Father expressed through our faith in his death and resurrection. If we believe in the love He demonstrated on the cross and trust him for the forgiveness of our sins, we will have unlimited access to the love of God. And nothing we can ever do from that point on will disrupt the love that God has for us.
Paul states in his letter to the Romans,
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 8:38-39
In the book of John, Jesus himself explains, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15:9-10)
The natural outflow from the love so richly given to us is a heart that longs to remain faithful and obedient. This is further expounded in 1 John, “…but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:5-6)
Jesus’ love for us never changed direction or stopped being extended to us, even as he hung on the cross. He could have saved himself at any moment during his crucifixion, yet he remained.
This is extraordinary love.
You see, Jesus’ love for us saw to his complete humiliation and abuse on the cross. It believed, endured, and it prevailed. He did nothing to help himself. He suffered as an innocent man for yours and my sins. His love originated from the Father and flowed directly to us on the cross.
We can’t manufacture this kind of love on our own. That kind of love is the purest form of love we will ever know. It is unnatural for man to love like Jesus did. But this kind love is produced in those who follow Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit. As we abide in Christ, His love transforms ours. He takes our selfish hearts and molds them to be more selfless. Instead of giving love to get it, we are content to simply give it expecting nothing in return.
I am inexpressibly grateful for God’s unconditional love. There are days when it still brings me to tears. It is the most faithful and enduring love I’ve ever known. The compassion of His love takes my breath away, and the resolve of His love gives me confidence and stability.
My prayer is that if you have not ever experienced the unconditional love of God, today you would humbly ask Him to reveal His love to you and forgive you of your sins. So that he would come and take up residence with His Holy Spirit in your heart and lead you in a new way of life.
 “Thanksgiving Every Day.” Charles Stanley. In Touch Ministries, showtime, November 19, 2023, YouTube Video app.