Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Gospel As Contra-Conditional

This week I'm enjoying taking a class with Scotty Smith called, 'Disciplines of Grace'. Yesterday we talked about the gospel being contra-conditional. This is opposed to the gospel being conditional or unconditional.

The gospel as conditional....If you obey me, I will love you

The gospel as unconditional....I love you without any conditions

The gospel as contra-conditional....I love you because I delight in my Son who graciously fulfilled ALL your conditions

As human beings, we primarily operate in a conditional mode. Think about it. Grades, sports, jobs; these are all based on performance. An A receives more praise than an F, being 1st string is more celebrated than being a bench warmer, and climbing the corporate ladder comes with a fatter pay-check. This doesn't go to mention that, even though we wouldn't want to admit it, to some capacity all our relationships are conditional. We like people because of similar interests, because of what they can give us, or because they make us feel good. To some extent, these are all conditions.

On the other end of the spectrum is unconditional. This claims that there are no conditions, and that God's love is accompanied by no character. This unconditional view ignores God's absolute holiness. God is all-glorious and perfectly right. Therefore, he desires to bring his creation into this 'rightness', or shall we say, 'righteousness'. If you think about it, this view really cheapens God's love, because, in it, God no longer rescues us and restores us from everything that is wrong with us and the world, but loves us in a way that says nothing is wrong with us in the first place.

On the contrary to both ends of this spectrum, the gospel is completely other. It is contra-conditional. There are conditions to God's love. He is perfect and holy. We willingly choose to disobey these conditions and live apart from our gracious Creator. Yet, the beauty of the gospel is that God did something amazing. He did something that still has people turning their heads today. God became man to  fulfill the conditions we failed to achieve. The good news is that Jesus came, lived the life I should have lived, and died the death I should have died. He did these COMPLETELY. That is why on the cross he cried out, "IT IS FINISHED". The gospel being contra-conditional is amazing because if Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the conditions, that means, once we are in Christ, once we put our faith in Him, we can't be any more loved. We are fully blessed. All the blessings Jesus achieved, we now have. This is amazing. David Powlison says this well,

"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 received it."

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