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After hearing me teach on God’s vital grace and money, Samuel wrote to friends, “I’d never heard the idea that God’s love is more than unconditional but that it’s counter-conditional. I’ve thought about that a lot the past day and a half, and I love it. Leaving it at unconditional left me where I was because ‘God loves me just the way I am.’ But this counter-my conditional love promises heart change, life change, you and me being made new. It doesn't leave us where we are but transforms us! And it's a love like that which makes us able to follow our master and serve the One who truly has “given us everything for nothing.”

I was excited to hear someone who had their “breath taken away” by the vitality of God’s grace and grateful Samuel shared it with his friends (and me). Are you curious to know more about God’s counter-conditional love for you? In my new book Vital Grace: Getting Everything for Nothing, I explain:

“Grace is of central importance to Christianity... He rescued us from the dominating power of our reckless selfishness, not by the things we have done but out of His love and life. God, in His very being, is very ‘rich in mercy’ (Ephesians 2:4)… The cross of Christ satisfies God’s claims and expresses God’s affectionate love. God’s love has been described as ‘reckless love’ but should we think of God loving us like some teenager driving irresponsibly through traffic in a reckless way? Is that a picture of how God’s loving grace is displayed? 

“It might have a catchy tune or be an inspiring thought in a great book, but might it be more powerful to understand His love as a love that was eternally planned and perfectly carried out by the Lover? Doesn’t an expression of love that is well thought out and planned, with great expense, mean more to us than an expression that was spur of the moment, almost recklessly reactive?

“God’s love is commonly referred to as unconditional—that is, He loves without any conditions. Yes, and amen! We get everything for nothing. Vital grace and Amazing grace! But think deeper for a minute. Suppose, just for a moment, the love God has for you is more intense and profound than loving you no matter how you live. What if you look at His love through a lens called counter-conditional love? It is not a blind love, as many see unconditional love. He sees your condition—a dead spiritual, separated person from Him—and counter to that dead condition, He chose to put His love on you and give you a new life. He will not leave you in your condition.

“God was not careless of the consequence of His love for you. He knew exactly what the consequences were of pouring out His love—a life of suffering, judgment, and death as a shamed convict hanging on a cross. Greater than that, Jesus knew it would involve not just His physical death but His spiritual separation and alienation from His Father—hell on earth. He did it for one reason: love. Love for His Father and love for His people.”