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International Bible Lessons Commentary

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Conditional Love or Unconditional Love? – 2 Chronicles 6

When King Solomon prayed to the LORD at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, he described God with these words: “You who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way” (2 Chronicles 6:14–NIV). No matter how often the LORD had to punish His people, He never stopped loving His people, and the LORD always did everything He wisely could for their benefit. In this sense, God’s love is unconditional. His servants who continue wholeheartedly in His way can receive blessing upon blessing from the LORD, for they do not need the discipline of the LORD to turn them back to obeying Him. God will bestow blessing upon blessing in love upon His servants without any discipline upon the condition that they obey Him and do not deserve or need His discipline because they love the LORD wholeheartedly.

Unconditional love could mean to some people that no matter how we treat God (or someone else) that God (and they) should always love us and make us happy, but unconditional love does not mean that we can treat God (and others) with disrespect and even treat God (and others) hatefully without a change in our relationship with God (and others).

Later, because God loved His children unconditionally, when they began to worship idols and even sacrifice their children to the idol Molech, God could no longer bestow His blessings upon them as He had before; to do so would have implied to them (and to us) that God did not care about how much they abused God and acted hatefully toward their own children. Therefore, the LORD destroyed Solomon’s temple and sent His children into exile in Babylon for seventy years. Unconditional love does not mean appearing to approve of evil and continually blessing someone without using discipline to help them and save others from abuse no matter how evil they behave.

How do you (and your Bible study group) think the concepts of Conditional Love and Unconditional Love can be misunderstood? What might we say to overcome this confusion? Can necessary discipline be a part of unconditional love?

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Teaching the Truth in Love for the Love of God's Word and His people,
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