Saying he doesn’t even feel like trying anymore, 8-year-old Max Bledsoe expressed his strong disappointment Monday after learning that his parents’ love is unconditional. 

“I always thought they loved me because I’d actually earned it, but unfortunately it turns out that their affection is apparently limitless,” said a frustrated Bledsoe, wondering aloud the point of doing well in school, learning how to play the piano, and always going to bed before 9 p.m. if his parents were just going to keep on loving him no matter what.

“Look at me: I just wasted the last three years of my life trying to win their approval by being a good kid. And for what? To get the love that was coming to me anyway?” Bledsoe added that he envied his adopted younger brother, who really has to work for his parents’ love.


Isn't this caricature the reason that our Churches are scared to preach the unconditional love of God? 

Don McAllister commented:  "A grace so unconditional like this gets on some Christians nerves. They think people will have the same reaction that Max Bledsoe has here, which of course is ridiculous. What really happens when you learn that God’s love toward you is unconditional is actually the opposite of laziness. Grace inspires us to love Him back and to live out His redemptive story in all the interactions we have."

Tullian Tchividjian says:  
"God's inexhaustible grace needs to be announced ever more urgently because the church, God's chosen mouthpiece in the world, has been so neglectful in announcing it! So many churches, either accidentally or purposefully, encourage our innate performancism—giving us nine ways to be better dads or seven ways to be more faithful stewards—that the landscape is littered with ex-church members. The percentage of Americans claiming no religious affiliation, which was 7 percent in 1990, had shot up to 16 percent by 2010.

I heartily "amen" the desire to take faith seriously and demonstrate before the watching world a willingness to sacrificially serve our neighbors rather than ourselves. The unintended consequence of this push, however, is that if we're not careful we can give the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifice we make for Jesus rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us; our performance for him rather than his performance for us; our obedience for him rather than his obedience for us. The hub of Christianity is not "do something for Jesus"; it's "Jesus has done everything for you." I fear too many people, both inside and outside the church, have heard this plea for intensified devotion and concluded the foundation of the Christian faith is our love for God instead of God's love for us. 

I'm all for faith-fueled, grace-motivated effort, as long as we understand it's not our efforts, but God's effort for us in Christ, that has fully and finally set things right between God and sinners. The Reformation was launched by (and contained in) the idea that it's not doing good works that makes us right with God. Rather, it's the one to whom righteousness has been given who will do good works—that is, sacrificially love and serve our neighbor. Any talk of sanctification, therefore, which gives the impression that our efforts secure more of God's love, itself needs to be mortified. As Scott Clark has said, "We cannot use the doctrine of sanctification to renegotiate our acceptance with God."