Was the Father’s love for Jesus conditional?


Was the Father’s love for Jesus conditional?

Recently I read a note which argued that grace is not unmerited favour and that it had to be earned. Let me reproduced part of that note.

At the present time there is an emphasis concerning the grace of God that is spreading around the world. Often there is an imbalance because only one aspect of grace, unmerited favour, is being taught. Let us examine four aspects of grace that are found in God’s word.

Eph 2:8-10 NIV (8)  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— (9)  not by works, so that no one can boast.  (10)  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.


This salvation is entirely by grace. There is no work we can do to merit it, or it would not be by grace. Although this salvation is not procured by good works, its purpose is to produce good works.
There are two concepts being taught which distort the New Testament truth about saving grace. The first one is that God’s love is unconditional. That is not the teaching of Jesus.


Jn 10:17-18 NIV The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. (18)  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Please note carefully what Jesus is saying. There has always been an eternal love between the Father and the Son. The continued love of God was contingent upon Christ obeying the commandment of the Father. The commandment was that he should lay down his life. Please note that this did not initiate the love – it maintained the love.”

The aspect I wish to touch on today is this. Is God’s love towards Jesus conditional?

Let’s look at John 10:17-18 first. Is the Father’s love conditional on Jesus laying his life down?

Let’s look at the other passages about the love the Father has for Jesus first.

Let’s ask some very interesting questions.

Did God love Jesus before he did anything?

John 17:24

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

The following verse was also spoken to Jesus before his public ministry and at the mount of transfiguration.

2 Peter 1:16-18

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”[a] 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

Also note, the Father’s love for the Son compels what the Son does.

John 5:19-21

New International Version (NIV)

19 Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.

It is crucial that we understand this. This simply points to the fact that the Son moves where the Father moves. This is done in love and in sync with the Father. The Father loves the Son and shows the Son all the Father does. Notice it is crucial that it does not say the Father loves the Son and show the Son what the Father wants him to do. This means the Son does whatever the Father does.

This is crucial. The usual mistake many believers make is to think that Jesus was abandoned on the cross by his Father. He was not.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE)

18 And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. And he has entrusted us with the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, “Be reconciled to God.”

The Son sees what the Father does. The Father went to the Cross and at the cross he reconciled the whole world to Himself. The Son sees what the Father does and thus he too does what the Father does. The Father loves the Son and shows him all he does.

For further reading: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/did-the-father-forsake-jesus-on-the-cross-by-steve-mcvey/

This is what Jesus meant by:

John 14:30-31

New International Version (NIV)

30 I will not say much more to you, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold over me, 31 but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me.

Therefore it is pertinent to know what Jesus really meant by John 10:17-18.

Firstly the word use by Jesus for “love” would in itself negate any conditions to this “love”. The word there is “agape”.

Definition: Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible. Source: http://christianity.about.com/od/glossary/a/Agape.htm

Second Jesus was speaking in Aramaic and as such the more accurate translation of this verse would be:

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Because of this my Father delights in me, because I am laying down my life that I may receive it again.”

Third, Jesus did not say “Because I have to maintain my Father’s love for me, I lay down my life”. Rather he said ““No man takes it from me; I am laying it down of my own will, for I am authorized to lay it down, and I am authorized to receive it again; this commandment I have received from my Father.”

Jesus lay it down willingly. Why? Because he sees what his Father does. That is the commandment he was referring to.

It is pertinent to note that the commandment Jesus keeps with his Father is not the 10 commandments but this:

John 15:8-10

New International Version (NIV)

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

It is to remain in his love. That is the commandment. Base on this love, the Father shows the Son what he does. Now the Father is about to show the world how much he loves the world and shows the Son what he was about to do. The Son now base on his love for his Father does what the Father is about to do. Like Abraham and Isaac the Father and the Son begins the climb to Calvary.

This passage does not teach that Father commanded Jesus to die on the cross as if in order for Jesus to be continually loved by the Father he has to earn it. That would make God into a sick sadistic person who is hell-bent on sacrificing his son for the sake of satisfying his demand for justice. No, he was there with his Son.

Now therefore what does it mean when Jesus said ““Because of this my Father delights in me, because I am laying down my life that I may receive it again.”

Let me refer to you to this helpful commentary:

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Therefore doth my Father love me,…. Christ was the object of his Father’s love from all eternity, and was loved by him on various accounts; first and chiefly, as his own Son, of the same nature with him, equal to him; and also as Mediator, engaging for, and on the behalf of his chosen people; and likewise as he was clothed with their nature, and even in his state of humiliation; and not only as subject to his ordinances, and obedient to his will, and doing what was pleasing in his sight, but likewise as suffering in their room and stead, and he loved him on this account; the bruising of him was a pleasure to him, not for the sake of that itself, but because hereby his counsels and decrees were accomplished, his covenant fulfilled, and the salvation of his people obtained: hence it follows here,

because I lay down my life; that is, for the sheep; to ransom them from sin and Satan, the law, its curse and condemnation, and from death and hell, wrath, ruin and destruction: and the laying down his life on this account, was not only well pleasing to his Father, but likewise was done, with the following view; or at least this was the event of it,”

Dear friends, the Aramaic is amazing here, It says “my Father delights in me”. What Jesus is really saying is this:

“Isaiah 53:10

New King James Version (NKJV)

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him;
He has put Him to grief.
When You make His soul an offering for sin,
He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days,
And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.’

It gave delight to the Father to bruise His Son for our sakes. The Father delighted in His Son’s obedience and showed Him all He does.

He was fulfilling prophecy.

The Son did this to please the Father, only because the Father loved us so greatly. It does not mean that Jesus did this because he wanted to be in his Father’s good books. He has always remained in his Father’s love. Because of his Father’s love for us, he also loved us.

John 15:8-10

New International Version (NIV)

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

And by the way the “commands” here are not the 10 commandments but to love one another, as Jesus have loved you.

I hope that clears up everything. I will deal with the rest of the article at another time.

I pray that you may be at peace. Unmerited favor to you.

Here’s part 2 of the note: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/is-gods-love-for-us-conditional/


  1. It is unbelievable how many “conditions” Christians can come up with that contradict the Word of God. Even the unconditional love of God!. Thank You for the Truth according to scripture, and iradicating error with the Word Of God. Grace to you always.

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