CONDITIONAL LOVE #4

GETTING RID OF CONDITIONAL LOVE

So how do we rid ourselves of conditional love? Well, since conditional love is motivated to a large extent by control, then in order to rid ourselves of conditional love we first have to relinquish control over God’s people.

Now there are many aspects of control and many different reasons why people seek to control others. Some control others for selfish reasons. That is, they’re doing it in order to amass a cultic following for themselves. Others do it because they want people to wait on them hand and foot and serve their own selfish interests, ambitions, or needs.

Others, however, use control in a sincere, well-meaning desire to see God’s people believe the truth and walk in the paths of righteousness. They force people to believe what they believe. Do what they do. Live the way they live.

Brethren, we may be right. We may mean well. We may be sincere in wanting God’s people to live up to the Scriptures. But DICTATING OUR BELIEFS, MORALITY, AND CONVICTIONS OVER THE BRETHREN IS NOT GOD’S WAY OF DEALING WITH HIS PEOPLE. RIGHTEOUSNESS DOESN’T COME BY ADHERING TO RULES AND LAWS, NOR DOES IT COME BY FORCING RULES AND LAWS UPON GOD’S PEOPLE.

A. CONTROL DOESN’T MAKE ANYONE RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S SIGHT.  Look at a couple of verses with me. Galatians 2:21 reads, I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galatians 3:21 repeats the same thought: Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been  a  law  given  which  could  have  given  life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. In other words, NOBODY BECOMES RIGHTEOUS BY KEEPING THE LAW.

We can talk about any kind of law—whether it’s men’s laws or God’s laws. These two verses in Galatians are speaking about God’s  laws.  Think  about  this  for a moment because it’ll floor you. NOT EVEN GOD’S DIVINE, INERRANT, RIGHTEOUS LAWS COULD MAKE ANY ONE RIGHTEOUS! Why? Because the laws were so righteous that if you broke just one of the laws you were automatically judged unrighteous and a violator of the whole law: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10). Brethren, if God’s laws cannot make any one righteous, then who are we to presume that God’s people will become righteous if they keep our rules and laws? Will we accomplish what God’s law could not, or did not, accomplish?

B. CONTROL CAN’T CLEAN UP THE INSIDE. There are two basic aspects of righteousness: external and internal. External righteousness is the kind of righteousness that is outward and can be seen. Internal righteousness, on the other hand, is the kind of righteousness that isn’t readily seen or obvious. It’s what’s going on inside of you. The thoughts you’re thinking or the things you’re pondering in your heart are part of what makes you either righteous or unrighteous in God’s sight. TO BE RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S SIGHT YOU’VE GOT TO BE BOTH EXTERNALLY AND INTERNALLY RIGHTEOUS.

Now there is a sense in which the laws of God and/or the laws of men could make men righteous, but righteous only as it relates to external righteousness. If people conformed to your good or Bible-based laws, if they obeyed your rules; chances are, they will look good from all outward appearances. CONTROL CAN MAKE PEOPLE LOOK GOOD ON THE OUTSIDE. BUT IT CAN’T CLEAN A PERSON UP IN THE INSIDE. This is where Pharisaism went wrong.  It  produced good-looking  people. But their attitudes, thoughts, and even their behavior were abominable and godless.

Read what Jesus had to say to Judaism’s most religious men in Matthew 23:25-28, Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. {26} Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. {27} Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. {28} Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Do you know what this rebuke and denunciation says? It says that IT’S POSSIBLE FOR  PIOUS, RELIGIOUS, TOTALLY-COMMITTED PEOPLE TO LOOK GOOD ON THE OUTSIDE, AND STILL MISS THE KINGDOM BY MILES BECAUSE THEY’RE FILTHY AND SINFUL IN THE INSIDE. Pharisaism couldn’t clean up the inside. It couldn’t produce internal righteousness. If we would be honest with ourselves, we would have to acknowledge that legalism, shepherdship bondage, or control cannot succeed in cleaning God’s people up. Only God can do that.

C. CONTROL CAN’T GIVE CONVICTION. Christian conduct has to be accompanied by Christian conviction. You can force people to do certain things. But YOU CAN’T FORCE THEM TO HAVE A CONVICTION THAT THEY JUST DON’T HAVE. YOU   CAN’T   FORCE   THEM   TO   BELIEVE SOMETHING THEY JUST DON’T BELIEVE. That’s why controlling people by dictating your beliefs or by legislating your morality and convictions just doesn’t work. It doesn’t produce good, lasting fruit.

D. NO ONE IS AUTHORIZED TO CONTROL. God forbids His ministers from lording, or ruling, over the flock. I Peter 5:3 commands them, Neither be ye lords over God’s heritage. In the vernacular, don’t be domineering or controlling. The apostolic prohibition is simply a restatement of what Jesus already told His ministers:  Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them.  (43)  But so shall it not be among you (Mark 10:42-43).

Friends, if ministers can’t be controlling, what makes you think you can? WHEN YOU EXERCISE CONTROL OVER OTHERS YOU’RE IN DIRECT DISOBEDIENCE TO GOD. You’re engaging in a prerogative that is not yours to have. You have no God-given right to rule or control.

E. GOD GAVE US LIBERTY, NOT CONTROL. Consider this thought carefully. IF LEGALISTS COULD MAKE GOD’S PEOPLE RIGHTEOUS, GOD WOULD HAVE CHOSEN AND USED THE PHARISEES AS HIS DISCIPLES. HE WOULD HAVE COMMISSIONED THE JUDAIZERS TO BE THE LEADERS OF HIS CHURCH.

But instead of doing that, God broke ranks with these power mongers and took Christianity down the path of liberty. He gave every believer the freedom to be fully persuaded in his or her own mind about the convictions they’ll have.

Romans 14 catalogs some of the differing convictions that the Roman believers had.  Do  you  know  what God said to this church full of disagreements and differences?  He said, One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind (Romans 14:5). BY GIVING HIS PEOPLE SUCH LIBERTY OR FREEDOM, GOD, IN EFFECT, IS TELLING US THAT OUR DICTATING OVER EVERY FACET OF PEOPLE’S LIVES AND FAITH IS NOT HIS WAY OF CLEANING HIS PEOPLE UP.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 5. This final installment looks at the practical things we can do to rid ourselves of conditional love. Don’t even think about missing it!

1 Comment

  1. Nancy Ludden said,

    March 24, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Thanks Gaylord!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: