The Gospel as conditional love – if you obey me I will love you…

The Gospel as unconditional love – I love you without any conditions…

The Gospel as contraconditional love – I love you because I delight in my Son who graciously fulfilled all your conditions…

I took some time out this morning after a lunch with a friend to consider the Gospel in my life right now. We were talking about some difficult matters and it came to his attention that there may be a little to much salt on conscience, that perhaps I wasn’t applying the Gospel to the situation he was asking about.

I of course thanked him for the challenge, it wasn’t until latter on the drive back home that I had time to really consider what he was saying. Sometimes in life we can apply a conditional Gospel on people, while living with an unconditional Gospel for our own lives. We can expect others to do and be what they ought to while we forgive so easily and effortlessly what we are not doing and being. Both these Gospels are really no Gospel at all.

Another friend of mine once said, “If you really want to know what kind of Gospel a person believes in, then watch what kind of Gospel they apply to others“, I find my friends sentence deeply convicting. Thank God we can believe things bigger and truer than ourselves…

In a wonderful little muse on Psalm 36:5-10 David Powlison composed a book called God’s Love: Better than unconditional. Powlison points out that the Gospel certainly isn’t conditional on us, but neither is it purely unconditional. God’s Son had to sacrifice for us, the Gospel is contraconditional. Contrary to us fulfilling the righteousness God deserves His Son fulfilled it on our behalve. Listen to a little snipet of Powlison’s thoughts;

“God has blessed me because His Son fulfilled the conditions I could never achieve. Contrary to what I deserve, he loves me. And now I can begin to change – not because I can earn his love, but because I’ve already recieved it.”

This is my prayer, that God would cause me love others with the same Gospel I believe I’ve recieved from him. That the change that happens in my life will not be reckoned by me as my own righteousness without Christ, niether be reckoned as a clean slate kind of righteousness, but rather a change that flows out of the new creation Christ has caused me to be. A new creation filled with his Spirit…forgive me Father for not living and applying the true Gospel you have given to us…