286. Unconditional Love in Action

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

Two Covenants

We live in a new age, in a New Covenant that Jesus made with the Father. We and all mankind are included in it. Jesus warned his disciples of the religious and political spirit that would be like leaven, yet my experience, through the churches and movements in which I have been involved, is that our understanding of the New Covenant has invariably been tainted with Old Covenant concepts.

Unconditional love requires absolutely no sacrifices or offerings but an Old Covenant mindset always requires something: it requires our obedience, our obligation, our duty – which are all dead works and none of them have any value whatsoever before God. The Father does not require them (and actually He never did, which may be a shock to a lot of people. I will come back to that!).

Operating under an Old Covenant works-based performance-orientated mindset towards God will wear us out; we will never be at rest if we think we have to earn His love and favour. There is no guilt, shame or condemnation within unconditional love: they are just religious concepts which will keep us coming back for more religion.

Foundations

The book of Hebrews is almost entirely about the differences between the two covenants. It was written to people who were so accustomed to the Old Covenant ways of thinking that they were in danger of missing out on the benefits of the New. And Hebrews 6:1-2 are very misunderstood verses. I totally misunderstood them for most of my life and taught the concepts they contain as foundations of the New Covenant.

What that passage actually says is this:

Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1-2).

So the Old Covenant was immature, and the New Covenant will bring us to maturity, but only if we don’t lay another Old Covenant foundation. What is that Old Covenant foundation? Repentance from dead works, faith towards God, instructions about washings (baptisms), laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. All those things are Old Covenant understandings and mindsets which have nothing to do with the New Covenant. And yet most of those things are what we habitually teach: repentance, faith, baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection and judgment. Those subjects are part of most churches’ foundation courses (they were certainly the basis of ours).

So when I used to read Hebrews 6:1-2, I just thought the writer was enumerating the elementary principles of Jesus that we needed to lay – but in reality they were exactly the opposite of that. Now I realise that these were the very foundations that the writer advises us not to lay again in the New Covenant! It is so important that we do not mix covenants by embracing Old Covenant understandings. Let’s not lay that Old Covenant foundation in the New Covenant: the only foundation of the new covenant is love.

The completeness of the fulfilled promise

Look at the passage again in the Mirror Bible:

Consequently, as difficult as it may seem, you ought to divorce yourselves from sentimental attachment to the pre-figuring doctrine of the Messiah, which was designed to carry us like a vessel over the ocean of prophetic dispensation into the completeness of the fulfilled promise. A mind shift from attempts to impress God by your behaviour to faith righteousness in Christ is fundamental. There is no life left in the old system: it is dead and gone – you have to move on. All the Jewish teachings about ceremonial washings (baptisms), laying on of hands (in order to identify with the slain animal as a sacrifice) and all teachings pertaining to a sin consciousness, including the final resurrection of the dead in order to face judgment, are no longer relevant. [All of these types and shadows were concluded and fulfilled in Christ, their living substance. His resurrection bears testimony to the judgment that he faced on humanity’s behalf and the freedom from an obstructive consciousness of sin that he now proclaims.] (Hebrews 6:1-2 Mirror).

‘The completeness of the fulfilled promise’ – that is Jesus. He is the fulfilment of every promise and covenant: everything is fulfilled in him. He is the conclusion, the completeness of everything that God said, to bring us into the reality of that today. And yet for most of my life I unknowingly tried to live in that same Old Covenant system by doing the very things that I should have left behind. If only the children of God, right throughout the world, would come into a revelation of this reality: that we would not have a sin consciousness but a righteousness consciousness instead!

The Law of Moses

Every church I have ever been in has always focused on sin. But we know that the more we try not to do something, the harder it is not to do it. That is why the Law was ineffective. It is impossible to keep the Law: Jesus made that very clear. And if you failed in one thing, you failed in it all. From the very beginning of the birth of the church, the religious spirit, operating in the Judaizers, tried to get believers back under the Law of Moses (and is still pursuing the same agenda today). But as I mentioned earlier, the whole Old Covenant system of sacrifices and offerings associated with the Law, which was instituted by Moses, was never God’s idea.

For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. (John 1:17).

“What are your many sacrifices to Me?” says the Lord.
“I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle; and I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, lambs, or goats.” (Isaiah 1:11).

For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them on the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. (Jeremiah 7:22).

If God accepted their sacrifices and offerings, and if He accepts ours, it is only because He accepts us!

And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, “This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My laws upon their hearts, and write them on their mind,” He then says, “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will no longer remember.” Now where there is forgiveness of these things, an offering for sin is no longer required. (Hebrews 10:15-18).

The Mirror Bible again:

So when Jesus, the Messiah, arrives as the fulfilment of all the types and shadows, he quotes Psalm 40:6-8, and says, “In sacrifices and offerings God takes no pleasure; but you have ordained my incarnation! None of the prescribed offerings and sacrifices, including burnt offerings and sin offerings were your request…”
Having said what he did in the above quote, that the prescribed offerings and sacrifices were neither his desire nor delight, he condemned the entire sacrificial system upheld by the law. (These only served to sustain a sin-consciousness and was of no redemptive benefit to anyone.)
Also by saying, “I am commissioned to fulfil your will,” he announces the final closure of the first in order to introduce the second. (Grace replaces the law; innocence supersedes sin-consciousness.) (Hebrews 10:5-6, 8-9).

Mankind is declared innocent. You are innocent. Let that sink in.

The verdict of the judge, in light of the victory of Jesus through the cross, is that all mankind is innocent, not guilty, justified and righteous. That is unconditional love in action; and that is God in action. The cross was an amazing love transaction that dealt with the legal consequences of mankind’s lost identity. Jesus conquered sin and death with love. Love released full and total, unconditional forgiveness.

Forgiveness is as unconditional as love; no works are required.

This series of blog posts on ‘Unconditional Love’ are adapted excerpts from Mike’s teaching and notes from our monthly Patreon Group Zooms. Scroll down to watch the video of the talk it comes from.
Better still, become a patron and join us live for the next one – they are normally on the second Sunday of each month at 7pm UK time..

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285. God is Love… BUT

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

God is Love

God is love and that love is unconditional. The ministry entrusted to us is to share the good news of the unconditional love, inclusion and reconciliation that God has already brought about in Jesus! That message will enable people to come into a reality in which they experience that love and grasp the fact that they are already reconciled to God; that God loves them and He holds nothing against them.

Yet much of our preaching of the ‘gospel’, particularly in an evangelical setting, has been the opposite of that. It has been a message of exclusion and very much works-based, in fear of avoiding punishment rather than entering into love.  And what I have understood and experienced is that love can only be unconditional. That means that for God to love you, there are no conditions that you have to fulfil. None.

For a moment, stop and embrace that. If you can just grasp that one truth in an experiential way, it will transform your life as it has transformed mine.

God is unconditional love and therefore He loves all his children equally. No matter what you have done, where you have come from, or what has happened to you, God loves you. He is not angry with you, or disappointed with you. He loves you.

But…

Many people obviously accept that God is love because the Bible says so, but there is always a ‘but’. Why is that ‘but’ there? Because it is too good to be true for an independent, alienated mind to accept – and many of us have been alienated or separated from God within our own minds because of our religious programming.

“Yes, God is love, but He is also holy.” How many times have I heard that? As if His holiness contradicts His love!
“Yes, God is love, but He is also righteous.” As if His righteousness contradicts His love!
“Yes, God is love, but He is also just.” As if His justice contradicts His love!

All these are all religiously-programmed statements that I used to believe, because I had never experienced the contrary. I had never experienced the truth, so that made it easy to believe the lies.

“Yes, God is love, but He is also a judge.” As if that makes Him what? A bad judge? A judge who is going to find us guilty? Love never finds us guilty because love keeps no record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13:5), so how can He find us guilty?

“Yes, God is love, but He cannot look upon sin.” By ‘sin’ they normally mean certain behaviours, but in reality, sin is lost identity. Well, if God cannot look upon sin, if God cannot look at a lost world, how could Jesus ever have come? And God is not just looking at this world, He is engaged within each and every person to bring us all into the reality of our relationship and inclusion in Christ. So the fact is that we have already been reconciled in Christ, we have already been made righteous in Christ, we have already been made holy in Christ. We didn’t need to do anything, He did it all!

Religion always adds a ‘but’, but none of those ‘buts’ contradicts the fact that God is love, other than in the false religious doctrines that create a god who seems to be two-faced, a god who in the Old Testament seems to be angry and needs to be appeased in some way but in the New Testament seems to be loving – though even in the New Testament there seems to be wrath and anger.

In reality, the word translated ‘wrath’ can equally well be rendered as ‘passion.’ God is passionate about anything that hinders our coming into relationship with Him. He is passionate about making available that relationship for us and therefore His wrath is going to be poured out on anything that hinders our coming into relationship; not the kind of ‘wrath’ that we have tended to believe, but rather God passionately outworking His love to bring about change and transformation for our good.

Religion twists

So that religious deception alters and denigrates God’s character and makes love able and willing to punish us – not to discipline or correct us, but to bring retribution upon us. What loving Father would ever eternally punish His children like that! These religious concepts have created a god that people find it difficult to trust, a god who says he loves us and yet threatens to torment us forever if we don’t do things the way he wants us to do them.

None of that is the reality of who God is. Religion twists God’s holiness and righteousness through a wrong understanding of the concepts of judgment and justice. This deception is what creates this false ‘hell’ narrative in which such a god would torture his children eternally. No, God will love His children eternally, and will never stop and never give up until they experience that love. Yes, His love is a purifying, refining fire, a consuming fire: it will consume every hindrance and objection and anything that comes in the way of us entering into the depth of unconditional love.

So holiness, righteousness, judgment and justice do not contradict unconditional love:

Holiness expresses it
Righteousness reveals it
Judgment is its result
And justice enforces it.

Justice brings about the judgment – and the judgment that has been made by God on behalf of the whole of humanity, the whole of mankind, the whole of creation, is…

“Not guilty!”

This series of blog posts on ‘Unconditional Love’ are adapted excerpts from Mike’s teaching in our monthly Patreon Group Zooms. Scroll down to watch the video of the talk it comes from.
Become a patron and join us live for the next one – they are normally on the second Sunday of each month.

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If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider becoming a Patreon patron or making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

284. His Love Never Fails

Mike Parsons
with Jeremy Westcott

We saw last time that love wins. If love does not win in the end then it cannot be love; but love can never be forced, just continually demonstrated again and again, until it eventually overcomes every obstacle, objection, excuse and reason.

That is why I believe in the restoration of all things. God’s love will never stop because He cannot stop being Him: He can never deny Himself and who He is, so He continues to love. And because He is an eternal being, that means He will never stop, so God and love will never fail.

His love never fails, never gives up and can never be escaped because it is filled with age-enduring grace and mercy. That grace and mercy will never cease to be a vehicle for love to be expressed and demonstrated abundantly, lavishly and with extreme desire and intent, without limits. God’s love has no limits: if you put a condition on it, then you have limited it. If love is limited, it is not love. Love must be extreme or it is not love. Love must seem wasteful and undeserved or it is not love.

His love cannot be thwarted by sin, rejection or death – it has experienced all there is and yet has conquered and overcome all things, so that all things can be restored to love’s face-to-face, relational innocence. That is really the nature of what God has done: He has made us innocent. That is how He sees us. Do we feel it? Or do we feel ‘less than’ because we struggle with the concept of unconditional love?

Nothing can separate

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35, 37-39).

That really leaves nothing out. That is the nature of that love: there is nothing we can do – or anyone or anything else can do – that can separate us from the love of God. Religion, even though it will probably have you read that Bible verse, will tell you the opposite, that there is something that can separate you from the love of God: your choice. But your choice can only separate you in your own head, it cannot separate you from a God who loves you unconditionally. And that is really what we need to understand and engage.

If you still think you can separate yourselves, or feel separated because of your past life, or things you might do, or thoughts you might have, remember this: God takes no notice of what you – or others – think, He just takes notice of who He is. And He is unconditional love.

Discover who we are

So to know our true identity as sons of God, which is who we are, it is imperative that we know unconditional love by personal, intimate experience and not just in an intellectual way. I would have always said that I believed that God is love but my understanding of that love is very different now that I know it by experience. I have had so many experiences of the nature of that unconditional love, both towards myself and how God has expressed and shown His love to others, that I am absolutely convinced that this is the key, that everyone needs to know. All of us ‘know’ that God is love because the Bible tells us; but the question is, have we all experienced that love as unconditional or do we just know it as a concept or a theory? God wants it to be very practical.

As sons of God, we need to have our lives built on a solid foundation: that foundation is the nature, character and essence of who God is as I AM. I AM is a constant, never changing. He is unconditional love, He is limitless grace and He is triumphant mercy: put all those three together and they make a totally solid foundation on which to build our lives, to grow and mature. All these attributes have to be experienced: that is what God is working to do in our lives constantly, to enable us to experience the reality of who He is and so discover who we are.

Limitless grace, triumphant mercy

Never stop living in the reality of unconditional love, limitless grace and triumphant mercy. A few years ago there was a huge fuss over so-called ‘hyper-grace’. Well, His grace goes way beyond ‘hyper’: it is limitless! There is nothing that limitless grace cannot deal with or overcome.

And His mercy is triumphant, which means no matter what obstacle or hindrance might get in the way of us experiencing unconditional love, His mercy has already triumphed over it! So if we live in that reality, then we can abide, dwell, and remain at rest in that state of conscious awareness that we are loved. We do not have to do anything, it is completely free and unconditional. That may not be easy to accept, because of the way we have been conditioned to think about love and about God. That state of being, immersed in that unconditional love, limitless grace and triumphant mercy, is an expanded state of consciousness, an awareness that forms the foundation of everything we think, feel and do. Therefore we can just be.

Our true identity and our consciousness of that identity is about being, not doing. If we can really get hold of that reality then it will free us up so much to discover just how powerful we are and how amazing our sonship is. Yet it is so hard to just be when we are conditioned to do. All of us have been programmed by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, programmed into independence, so that we believe we have to do something.

Religious systems

Probably all of us have been involved in some religious system or other and those systems tend to require performance or adherence to a set of behavioural norms so that we will be accepted. When those norms are projected onto God, as they often are, it leads us to believe that God requires certain things of us, which contradicts the truth of His unconditional love. But Paul wrote:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2).

Or, ‘do not be pressed into a religious or political mould, shaped or formed by the political and religious systems you live under, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.’ We cannot renew our own minds, however hard we try. I used to try to renew my mind by confessing Bible verses over and over again, making confessions and declarations and decrees so that I would believe what I was declaring. I learned a lot of Bible verses that way but it never renewed my mind: the only thing that renewed my mind was an experience of God that changed my mind because now I knew the truth (and that truth was different from what I thought before) and now I agree with Him, which is what metanoia (usually misleadingly translated as ‘repentance’) actually means.

Blameless innocence

God’s good, acceptable and perfect will is proven or known when we experience it – but we have taught people that you can only know it by faith. Faith is the evidence of things not yet seen, but I want to live in the reality of experiencing everything that God intends for me, not to die never having received it (as happened to all those heroes of faith listed  in Hebrews 11).

… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will… (Ephesians 1:4-5).

That is His will: that we would be before Him in love. In the Mirror Bible it says:

He associated us in Christ before the fall of the world. Jesus is God’s mind made up about us. He always knew in his love that he would present us again face to face before him in blameless innocence… (Ephesians 1:4 Mirror).

That is such an amazing statement! Perhaps if we look at our life we would say we are far from blameless; but God is not looking at what we have done, He is looking at what He has done, at what Jesus has done. We are who He says we are, so His love enables us to be face to face with Him without fear (because perfect love casts out fear). His love, expressed as His will, chose us to be restored to face to face, blameless innocence. And when we have been face to face with Him, then we can begin to realise how blamelessly innocent we are.

In God’s heart we are already restored: we just need to catch up with what is already true rather than trying to make it true. He is much more patient than we are, and His patience means that His love will never fail. And His limitless grace and triumphant mercy ensure that we will all know his love unconditionally, one way or another, however long it takes.

This series of blog posts on ‘Unconditional Love’ are excerpted from Mike’s teaching in our monthly Patreon Group Zooms. Scroll down to watch the video of the talk it comes from.
Become a patron and join us live for the next one – they are normally on the second Sunday of each month.

Recent and related posts
Support this ministry

If our free or paid resources are a blessing to you, please consider becoming a Patreon patron or making a donation to sow into and support this ministry. Thank you!

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