Is There Such Thing As Unconditional Love?

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. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. — John 15:9-11

Many people get the concept of love wrong and even talk about it in the wrong way. And today, you might be initially surprised by what I am going to say, but there is no such thing as unconditional love. Unconditional love is an attempt to capture an ideal picture of love without conditions or limitations. It's extended independent of circumstances, actions, or failures. And the whole construct behind this notion promotes ideas that popular worldviews leverage, which are unbiblical and ungodly.

But note this: Jesus does love us perfectly before we meet any condition. In addition, His sacrifice on the Cross is a profound act of love. And the love He extends to humanity is infinite and possible to know. But these attributes of love don't qualify it as unconditional. In fact, for mankind to receive His perfect, profound, and infinite love, we must meet a condition. And Jesus tells us in this text that His love is conditional. "If" is the operative word. "If you keep my commandments, [then] you will abide in my love."

Know that God's love is not without conditions. It's entirely conditional, and yet perfect, profound, and possible to know. Don't be deceived by worldly misinterpretations of Jesus's love that sound appealing but are ultimately untrue and harmful because they misinterpret his love. Jesus's love is more acceptable and meaningful than these misconceptions. So, if you want it, embrace it by doing what he says and living His way. By doing so, you'll discover a fullness of joy and love that surpasses false ideologies like unconditional love — you'll know his infinite love.


  1. Reflect on your understanding of God's love. How has the idea of it being conditional, yet perfect and profound, challenged or affirmed your beliefs? What steps can you take to truly abide in His love by following His commandments?
  2. Consider the worldly misconceptions of love that you've encountered. How do these differ from the truth of Jesus's love as described in John 15:9-11? How can you apply this understanding to deepen your relationship with Him and experience the fullness of joy and love that surpasses worldly ideas?

DO THIS: Accept true love by doing what Jesus said.

PRAY THIS: Lord, help me to embrace your profound and perfect love, recognizing that it's conditional yet more meaningful than any worldly misconception. Guide me in following your commandments and living your way so that I may fully know and experience your infinite love. Amen.

PLAY THIS: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling.

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28 thoughts on “Is There Such Thing As Unconditional Love?

  1. Richard Vreeland says:

    Brother Vince, I’m not sure I agree with you that God’s love is conditional. I see how you got there, I just don’t agree. Romans 5:8 says thatGod demonstrated his love for us by sending Jesus to die in my place while I was still a sinner. I didnt earn it, I didn’t deserve it, but He still loved me. Without His love being unconditional I have no hope.

    • Vince Miller says:

      Thanks for the pushback. I appreciate it and am willing to be corrected.
      Take some time today to reflect on the adjective “Unconditional.” Look up the meaning. And then read the statement you just made.
      Jesus was “sent” and “died,” which were “conditions” necessary for us to be saved as sinners. He met these conditions for us.

      Sacrificial Love = yes
      Unconditional Love = no

      Jesus’s love had conditions.

      And then read the verse again above. Jesus kept and abided as he asked us to keep and abide. These are conditions of love.

      Describing Jesus’s love as unconditional does not add value. It devalues it.

    • Richard says:

      I looked up unconditional (adjective) in the dictionary and it said: without conditions. Example: unconditional surrender.
      Love your devotional each morning and will continue to listen they have enhanced my love for Christ. Keep doing what you do. Love you brother.

  2. Andy says:

    The things you listed as conditions for GOD LOVING US are ridiculous! You have the conditions on the wrong side of the fence! There are things that Jesus had to do for us to receive his love, and he did that because of the joy set before him, because of his unconditional love for us! Jesus didn’t die on the cross so he could love us, but because he already did! Now, It is OUR response to God’s unconditional love where conditions come into play! God loved us and died for us when WE weren’t doing the things (conditions) that allow us to receive it! God sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, NOT as a condition of him loving us, but because he already did!!!! And to abolish the sin that separated us from it!! With the prodigal son, the father’s love was unconditional, the son is the one who ran from it! Look at the conditions in your responses. EVERY one is something for us to respond to NOT something that must be done FOR God to love us!! He already does!!!! if we choose to make our bed, and he’ll he will love us! There are no conditions to God loving us, but there are conditions for us to receive it! That does not make God’s love conditional that always stays the same! I think this has caused a lot of confusion, and should be retracted. I ask you to prayerfully consider making this correction.

    • Vince Miller says:

      I would love for you to take your passion and use verses (written out) to substantiate this position. Point specifically to a scripture that states God’s love is unconditional. Keep in mind the word unconditional means given and received without condition.

      • Andy says:

        Can you tell me where you get your definition of “unconditional”? Unconditional is an adjective meaning “not limited, absolute, unqualified; in a way that is complete and not limited in any way” by Meriam Webster’s dictionary and Cambridge English Dictionary. In regard to these cited definitions, the scriptures that back up God’s unconditional love toward us are as follows:
        John 3:16 (He gave without qualifications or stipulations on our part)
        Romans 5:8 (We could do nothing to limit his actions of love for us)
        Psalms 109:26 (We are saved because of God’s unfailing love)
        1 John 4:9-10 (this verse literally says, “not that we loved God, but that He loved us!” and sent Jesus for us!)
        1 John 4:16 (If the very being of who God is is LOVE then to say it is conditional means He is conditional, which completely goes against what other scriptures tell us about God)

        • Vince Miller says:

          Thanks for the response! I really appreciate you continuing the conversation, and I hope this is edifying for you.
          Thanks also for sharing some verses.

          So let’s just take the definition of the adjective you gave and parse it out.
          “not limited, absolute, unqualified”

          1) Is God’s love not limited or everlasting? = YES. This quality does appear written out in the Bible in association with the word “love.” Jeremiah 31:3 “I [GOD] have loved you with an everlasting love.”
          2) Is God’s love absolute? = YES. I think we could conclude this, but this quality is talked about using other words in association with the word “love”: “great” love (Ephesians 2:4-5), “unbreakable” bond of love (Romans 8:38-39), “unknowable” love made knowable (Ephesians 3:16)
          3) Is God’s love unqualified? = NEVER. Love must be qualified and exchanged. 1 Corinthians 13. It must be qualified by action.

          So let’s agree to use more precise “un” words here.
          1) Unlimited = Yes, God’s love is unlimited, everlasting, great, perfect, and knowable.
          2) Unconditional = No, because his love never defies conditions.

          So I would say unlimited is a better word than unconditional.

          Next, you suggest several verses that talk about love. So let’s just write out the first and most popular one:

          John 3:16
          “For God so loved the world, that he
          gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

          1) God giving his Son was a condition necessary for us to know his love. He met this condition. But it was still a condition.
          2) Our belief is a condition necessary for us to know this love and not perish and have eternal life. We must meet this condition otherwise, we cannot know it.

          I could do this with each of the verses you mention, but that is overkill.

          Again, note what I did here. I tried to find the adjective (unconditional) and noun (love) association in the Bible. But I cannot.
          I found attributes or adjectives exactly as they appear in the Bible, and I found other word associations, but it was not possible to find the word “unconditional” and “love” together in the Bible.

          This is because I believe this is a false construct. It’s an imprecise understanding of something that is very important for us to understand and know.

          In fact, if you search Strong’s Concordance in both Hebrew and Greek in any version of the Bible (I looked in the ESV, NIV, KJV, etc.) and did you know that the word “Unconditional” appears not one time in the Bible?

          Zero out of 773,746 words.

          I hope this clarifies and that this discussion was edifying for you.

          • Andy says:

            Sorry for the delay; I don’t get on here as much as I would like. I think you are missing the point. In light of your examples, I must respectfully point out that it is still NOT God’s love that is conditional.
            1) God giving his Son was a condition necessary for us to know his love. He met this condition. But it was still a condition.
            ***As you stated, this is a condition for us to KNOW His love, NOT a condition of him loving us. Can you see the difference yet?
            2) Our belief is a condition necessary for us to know this love and not perish and have eternal life. We must meet this condition; otherwise, we cannot know it.
            ***The same is true here. God doesn’t START loving us when we meet what you call conditions of God loving us. God loves us whether we love Him back or not. As you have clearly pointed out, just like salvation, there are conditions for us to receive and know His love (that’s already there!), not a condition on God loving us!

            In response to God’s love being qualified, “3) Is God’s love unqualified? = NEVER. Love must be qualified and exchanged. 1 Corinthians 13. It must be qualified by action.” The chapter you quoted is not talking about God’s love for us. God qualified His love for us in Genesis 1 at creation and continued that pursuit to the cross and beyond!

            I’m not sure why you are hung up on the word “unconditional” being in the Bible when you can see it all throughout the pages from cover to cover. God’s name is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Esther, but we clearly see God at work in every detail! If we only used words that we blatantly saw in the Bible, a whole lot of our “Christianese” would be unbiblical. Again, you are wrongly putting the conditions on God’s love toward us rather than their rightful place, which is on us to receive it! God’s love for us is there whether we receive it or not…even in Hell.

            Romans 8:38
            And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  3. Chris Caliguire says:

    I think after reading all of the comments, the prodigal Son story fits here. Father still loved him, eagerly awaiting his return with open arms, no matter what the kid has done. But the IF is that the son had to return….and then abide (dwell) in the Father’s house to know and experience His love and provisions. Keep striving for holiness (water down people hate the word striving). Be holy as I am holy (is that positional or daily effort? 🙂 Now the Father could sell his house and move on b4 the prodigal returned. Although still loved, the son would have never found him (sorry for inserting what ifs). Although loved, he would never get to dwell with the Father so find Him while he’s available!!! (there’s a verse about that somewhere 🙂 I post comments because wow do I need to do this TODAY! So privileged he woke me up and His mercies are new each morning

  4. LARRY R WARGEL says:

    Vince, I was a little confused by the lesson on the 14th in that you seemed to indicate Jesus’ love for us is conditional. I did not read the verse this way. The key word to me was abide. I see it as for us to abide in the unconditional love of Jesus, we must keep His commands. When we sin, we grieve the Holy Spirit, but we still have the cross to return and once again feel the love of Jesus.

  5. Timothy Conner says:

    I see this differently. I believe Gods love is unconditional but in order for us to experience or abide in it we must keep His commands or we wouldn’t understand the joy of His love, He doesn’t force it on us, He loves us unconditionally but we never know it unless we know Him

  6. Ted Bichsel says:

    Thank you Vince for making a clear “ line in the sand” Appreciate as always a clear direct focus from the word of God for us.

  7. Rich Thomas says:

    Guys, I somewhat agree with Vince here, but I also get where you are coming from. I was wrestling with a few thoughts as I read the devotion. I think what Vince is trying to push against is the watered-down version of love that is somewhat prevalent. We do not need to meet any conditions for God to love (making His love unconditional) but we do need to accept some conditions (we are sinners in need of a savior, Jesus) this means to receive love is conditional. I may be off somewhat but definitely worth discussing!

    • Vince Miller says:

      Hey Rich,
      Thanks for your thoughts.
      See my comments to Adam.

      I like that you are attempting to struggle through this.
      Keep thinking it through and read the text again. They are Jesus’s words and not my own.

      • Rich Thomas says:

        Thanks Vince. I appreciate your last comment because I think that is where the confusion lies. It sounds like a conditional love is works based but it’s not as you said. And again, I appreciate your statement to Tom about our utopian view of love is unbiblical. Thanks for taking time to comment, your passion to help men grow is evident!

        • Vince Miller says:

          You are welcome. People get stuck on this one because they have never thought about it the way Jesus states it right here. Jesus has to abide and keep God’s commandments just like we must abide and keep.

  8. Dave says:

    I love my children unconditionally, because they are my children. They may disappoint me, frustrate me, cause me to be upset with them, but I’ll always love them. I believe Jesus is telling us how we can fully experience his love more fully, by abiding in him, but that doesn’t change his love for us one way or another.

  9. Adam says:

    I respectfully disagree that God’s love is conditional.
    God’s love is unconditional otherwise why would he have sent his son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins while we were still sinners (Romans 5:6-8). God’s very own nature is love (1 John 4:8). We accept or abide in God’s love by keeping His commandments. But He loves us regardless raising the sun and sending rain on the evil and the righteous (Matthew 5:45). God initiates love and it is never a response to our works or actions (Ephesians 2:4-5; 1 John 4:9-10).

    • Vince Miller says:

      Adam, Thanks for your pushback. I appreciate your passion! And I am willing to be corrected if I have said something incorrectly or out of line.

      So let’s take a look at the texts you quoted. Each has conditions within them:

      Romans 5:6-8
      “For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die — but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

      Condition(s) = Christ must die, and we must be sinners.

      1 John 4:8
      “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

      Condition(s) = God must make His love known, and we must know Him, which includes knowing His love.

      Matthew 5:45
      “That you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

      Condition = The condition is in the previous text, Matthew 5:44, “Love your neighbors and pray for them.” Then the condition of this text is the resultant assumption of adoption as “sons.”

      Ephesians 2:4-5
      “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

      Condition(s) = God’s rich mercy, grace, and our death due to trespasses.

      1 John 4:9-10
      “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.”

      Condition(s) = God sent Jesus to the world, and His mission is to be an appeasing sacrifice for our sins.

      God’s love has conditions. All kinds of them. For love to be known had conditions for Jesus and for us to know love it has conditions.

      In the text this morning, the condition is “if” we remain and abide in his already all-existing, never-ending, sacrificial, and perfect love. But it is conditional. Now, would we like for it to be unconditional? Of course. But our human ideology and understanding of “unconditional love” is not sacrificial and biblical.

      Keep in mind Jesus said this about his love — I didn’t. Our responsibility is to struggle over it and try with all our might to understand it. But there is a vast difference between the way I want Jesus to love me (without conditions) and the way He actually loves me.

      And don’t conflate the conditions of God’s love with works-based righteousness. Jesus did all the salvific work, we just have to “abide” and “remain” in this love (which is a condition too). 😉

      • Adam says:

        I think it is more about the receiving on our part and the conditions associated with that and not about the condition of God’s love. Thoughts?

        • Vince Miller says:

          Adam, thanks for asking this clarification question!
          You rock for leaning into this dialogue.

          So extending the Romans 5:6-8 text you mentioned before, let’s jump ahead to Calvary. There were two thieves on the cross hanging on either side of Jesus. One received his love, and one didn’t. One “knew” his love and one did not “know” it.

          This is what Jesus wants his disciples here to know. But we only know his love when we abide in it. So knowing his love comes with a condition otherwise we are broken off and cut off as he just mentioned before.

          I think “unconditional” is the wrong word to best describe God’s love here. It creates too much confusion on the subject and does not adequately describe the nature and attributes of his love. There are much better terms and descriptions all over the bible that describe God’s love: Like eternal, covenantal, and sacrificial love.

          Keep dwelling on this!

          Much love!

  10. Tom Fredericks Sr. says:

    Question Pastor Vince – Does Jesus love perfectly the one who rejects His extension of love? If so, His act remains unconditional, correct? (Romans 5:6-8)

    • Vince Miller says:

      Thanks for the question, Tom. I appreciate your question.

      The way you asked this question is a little challenging because I don’t know what you meant by the words: “perfect” and “unconditional.”

      All I know is that our utopian understanding of “unconditional love” is not in line with what Jesus said declared here.

      See the comments above to Adam.

      Love always comes with conditions regardless of who meets these conditions — including Christ.

      I know this is challenging to think about, but then Jesus adds to this that we have a condition, too — we must abide in it.

      I hope this helps.

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