God’s Love and the Power of Choice (Part 5)
Did Jesus have any choice when it came to being our Savior? Did He unconditionally love us, and therefore had no choice but to offer Himself as our Atoning Sacrifice?
We have these statements to help us understand how faith and hope are conditions of love just as much as righteousness and time.
“Christ would never have left the royal courts and taken humanity, and become sin for the race, had He not seen that man might, with His help, become infinitely happy and obtain durable riches and a life that would run parallel with the life of God. He knew that without His help sinful man could not attain these things.” (Ellen White, Vol. 3, Testimonies for the Church, 540, emphasis added.)
“Each word, each action is a work for God. Here is faith in God, and faith in men. Christ would never have given His life for the human race if He had not faith in the souls for whom He died. He knew that a large number would respond to the love He had expressed for humanity. It is not every heart that responds, but every heart may and can, if it will, respond to that love that is without a parallel.” (Ellen White, Vol. 21, Manuscript Releases, 370, emphasis added.)
“Christ was the one who consented to meet the conditions necessary for man’s salvation. No angel, no man, was sufficient for the great work to be wrought. The Son of man alone must be lifted up; for only an infinite nature could undertake the redemptive process. Christ consented to connect himself with the disloyal and sinful, to partake of the nature of man, to give his own blood, and to make his soul an offering for sin. In the counsels of heaven, the guilt of man was measured, the wrath for sin was estimated, and yet Christ announced his decision that he would take upon himself the responsibility of meeting the conditions whereby hope should be extended to a fallen race. He understood the possibility of the human soul, and united humanity to himself, even as the vine knits the grafted branches and twigs into its being, until, vein by vein, and fiber by fiber, the branches are united to the living Vine.” (Ellen White, Signs of the Times, March 5, 1896, emphasis added.)
Given the simple facts that God values His moral law of love and righteousness above all, we should be careful not to misrepresent the nature of His love by calling it unconditional. Many sincerely think that a measureless love is rightly called unconditional. But this is not so.
“We have full faith in the scripture that says, ‘God is love;’ and yet many have shamefully perverted this word, and have fallen into dangerous error because of a false interpretation of its meaning. God’s holy law is the only standard by which we can estimate divine affection. If we do not accept the law of God as our standard, we set up a standard of our own. God has given us precious promises of his love, but we are not to ascribe to Jehovah a tenderness that will lead him to pass over guilt and wink at iniquity.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, June 17, 1890, emphasis added.)