“YHVH hath appeared of old unto me, saying: ‘Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.'” -Jeremiah 31:3
What is love? Is there a difference between God’s love and mankind’s ideas of love? Does God ever stop loving us? There is an idea out in the world that God will only love us “if.” What must we do then to earn God’s love?
Immortality and Eternal Life of Man
God’s Love is unconditional. We know this because we know why He sent us to earth. We read “Behold; this is the work and the glory of Elohim, of YHVH, and of the gods; to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Book of Remembrance 2:6). This echoes Moses 1:39 in the LdS Pearl of Great Price and CoC Doctrine and Covenants 22:23c. How does God do this? He sent us here to try us, to allow us to make mistakes. Christ was chosen in the beginning to come here, to live, die, and be resurrected for us (1 Peter 1:18-21). And we know that love is unconditional because he came sent by the Father and Mother not to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:16-17).
This is why there are consequences to our actions. We learn from our mistakes. How can this be a test without trial and error? God doesn’t literally hate us when we sin. If He did we couldn’t repent. His unconditional love gives us a way back. This is why we have teshuvah, that we may, through Christ, return to the God that created us.
Keep my Commandments
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” John 15:10
God loves us even though we sin, giving us unconditional love so we may come home if we so choose. We are saved from our sins, not in them (Alma 8:87-92 RAV, 11:34-37 OPV). There’s a difference between from and in our sins. If we’re saved, Christ’s Grace protects us as we grow in His Grace through our relationship with the First Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Without Christ’s Grace we sin by abandoning God, and as Amulek stated, we will not be saved in our sins. But what is the sin that stops us? Merely our own unwillingness to accept God’s unconditional love.
The problem with the idea that we’ll be saved IN our sins is that for this to happen, we must loose the ability to chose for ourselves. This would be its own type of Hell. We’d be saved but still in “Hell.” We’d be damned, just in a different way. And, if we wouldn’t actually be saved then Christ wouldn’t be the Savior.
Instead, we are perfected when born again but not perfect. If we were perfect we wouldn’t need to grow in Grace. This is why works without grace are meaningless (dead), and grace without works are also dead, showing we do not truly have grace (Romans 3:19-24, James 2:14-18, 26). Why follow the Law if the Law is dead to us? And how are we saved by the Law if the Grace of Jesus moves us to follow the Law? What matters then is faith and works going hand in hand. In Kabbalah, this is to say what matters is where the Law is written, in our pierced hearts.
Endure to the End
“He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” – Matthew 24:13
To endure to the end the Law must be written in our hearts, we accept the Lord’s unconditional love. Yet some would argue there are conditions. Why endure to the end to be saved if we are saved once born again? This is a simple matter to comprehend.
Conditional love is if to say that God will only love us if we are good, seeing us as we are now, rather than who we truly are, what we are to become. The problem with this idea of love is that it implies we are rewarded only when we’re loved and only loved when we’re good. This is basically saying that when good things happen to bad people they must actually be good because God loves them, and when bad things happen to good people they must not actually be good because God doesn’t love them. This is what is called the prosperity gospel. And, it is not how God works. Enduring to the end is accepting God’s love no matter what comes. That love never goes away, yet we have the freedom to reject it.
The unconditional love of God is seen in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-17). When looking upon the wickedness of the people in the day of Enoch, God wept (Moses 7:28, CoC DaC 36:6b). Why would God weep if he did not love us? The answer can be found in a revelation given to Joseph Smith Jr. in regards to the temple:
“If ye keep my commandments [instructions or teachings] ye shall have power to build it [the temple]: f ye keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you; therefore, ye shall walk in darkness.” Doctrines of the Saints 59:12
The love of the Father shall not carry with us? Does this mean God will stop loving us? No. It means we will no longer extrude God’s love. His light will no longer shine from us, and we will walk in darkness. When we love God and love our neighbors we cannot help but keep the Lord’s commandments as God’s light shines from us like a beacon. But when we reject God, we close the prayer written in our hearts, that light stops and we walk the earth in darkness.
Love One Another
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” -John 15:12
God has given us so much, and asks for so little in return (John 15:13). He gave his life and asked us to pick up our crosses and follow him (Matthew 16:24-26). But, this He said would be easy (Matthew 11:28-30). His and His Father’s unconditional love is always there, given grace for grace (DoS 58:18). And this is how we too must live our lives, with godly unconditional love. Once this is understood, the Law is understood. All the Law and the Prophets rest on just two things: Love God, Love thy neighbors, which is actually one thing: unconditional love.