Sometimes the discussions in the Church regarding the nature and extent
of God's love occur in reaction to the positions of others. Those, for
instance, who feel God's love is unconditional--as if somehow his caring
for us made Him uncaring about our sins--see themselves moving to the
"starboard side" in order to balance those who feel God's love is
severely conditional, and vice versa.
God loves all His spirit children. How could it be otherwise, since He
is a perfect Father? In that sense His love is universal and everlasting
for all of His children. But He does not and cannot love our wickedness:
"For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance"
(D&C 1:31). He does not and cannot approve of the things we do that are
wrong, nor will He say on Judgment Day, "Well done, thou good and
faithful servant" to those who have been wicked or who have been poor
performers. His perfect integrity and His perfected attributes of truth
and justice would not permit it. Nor can our Heavenly Father reward us
evenly, because our deeds and our degrees of righteousness are so very
uneven. Of necessity, therefore, we are told there are "many mansions"
in His house, and only of the comparative few can it be said, "all that
my Father hath shall be given" (John 14:2; D&C 84:38). It is especially
of such faithful that Paul writes: "Who shall separate us from the love
of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or
nakedness, or peril, or sword? . . . Nor height, nor depth, nor any
other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:35, 39.)
It is because God loves us, however, that He seeks with such vigor and
long-suffering to separate us from our sins, which He hates. He
continues to care for us even when He cannot approve of us. Yet
ultimately we cannot go where He is unless He fully approves of us. This
outcome, however, reflects the consequences of divine justice, not His
love for us, which persists.
Likewise it is because He loves us that His redemptive arm "is
lengthened out all the day long" (2 Nephi 28:32). Yet even after all of
His outreaching and loving long-suffering, there will follow the
judgment and justice of God. Thus His long-suffering is not indulgence
masquerading as mercy.
God will never stop loving all of His spirit children, including those
who go to the telestial kingdom, a kingdom of glory which, because of
God's generosity, "surpasses all understanding" (D&C 76:89).
Thus the hard, cold fact is that how we use our moral agency does not
result in a withdrawal of God's love but does determine the ways and the
degrees to which a loving God can express His love of us. Only the most
righteous will receive His praise, His approval, and enjoy His presence.
These supernal blessings are conditionally bestowed. However, as a
perfect Father He loves all of His spirit children! The more we
understand His character and His love, the more poignant is any
separation from Him.
(Neal A. Maxwell, _If Thou Endure It Well_, p. 34)
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