The Independent Love of God

God is utterly independent, unlike us. Even in whatever degree of independence we may possess, there is still dependance – actually, a lot of it. For example, we may have enough money to cover our expenses, but we did not create and sustain all the contingent realities that led to us having that money. We may not need anyone to help us make certain decisions, but those decisions nevertheless result from a chain of events that occurs outside of our control.  Something as simple (and uncontrollable) as the weather can drastically alter our plans, but God is not like that. He is totally self-sustaining, self-existing, and has no need of anything outside of Himself. Theologians call this reality the doctrine of Divine Independence. While it is a precious doctrine for many reasons, this piece focuses on its importance relative to how it defines God’s love.

Because God is totally independent, we also affirm the following truths:

God’s love is pure. Nothing taints the love of God, not least need. There is no reciprocity, no neediness, no self-propping motives in God’s love. God just loves. Period. God’s love is pure grace. That in turn means…

God’s love is truly unconditional. God does not love based on what we have done, or have not done, or who we are or are not. God’s love flows from His infinite character of independence. Now, the saving part of His love is conditioned on what Jesus has done, but it is not conditional upon us. How freeing is that? That in turn means…

God’s love is stable. God’s love is not held out as gift to be given as a reward of obedience. God does not bargain for His love. He does not ask us to sing and dance for His love. He is not grouchy one day and full of levity the next. God’s love is stable, steady, consistent, still there and standing at the end of the day, even when the dust is kicked up around us. There it is. Always. 

Finally, Jesus is the embodiment of that Independent Love. Jesus trusted the love the Father had for Him. He lived in that faith in total obedience, even to the cross. Jesus loves us with that Independent Love. He is pure, unconditional in affection, and stable in fidelity. Jesus does not need us. He desires us and Has chosen us. That is the love we need. That is the love we actually want. 

I pray we rest in that love and live in that love, more and more. 

[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, [4] even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love [5] he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, [6] to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. [7] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, [8] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight [9] making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ [10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

Ephesians 1:3-10 (ESV)