“If” you will come to my home this afternoon at 3:41pm, I will give you $50.00 bucks. (The preceding statement is for illustrative purposes only. So don’t show up at my door this afternoon expecting money.) While “if” can be used in a variety of ways, in the sentence above it states a conditional clause in which something will take place. It establishes a “cause” and “effect” scenario.
The “cause” is coming to my home this afternoon at 3:41pm. The “effect” is receiving $50.00 dollars. Since I am the one offering the money, I alone have the right to set any and all conditions associated with the “effect”. Don’t show up at 3:40 or 3:42 believing you have fulfilled what I said. Showing up tomorrow won’t cut it, neither will going to someone else’s home. “If” is important because it introduces the circumstances or conditions for something to occur.
Consider a few passages of Scripture:
John 8:31-32 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word (cause), you are truly my disciples (effect), (32) and you will know the truth (cause), and the truth will set you free (effect).”
John 14:15 “If you love me (cause), you will keep my commandments (effect).
John 15:14 You are my friends (effect) if you do what I command you (cause).
Colossians 3:1-2 If then you have been raised with Christ (cause), seek the things that are above (effect), where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (effect).
Romans 6:4-5 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death (cause), in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (effect). (5) For if we have been united with him in a death like his ( cause -baptism), we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his (effect).
How is it possible for anyone to believe that salvation is unconditional? Just like the person who shows up to my home this afternoon at 3:41pm (as per my conditions) receives my gift of $50.00 dollars, so do we receive God’s gift to us when we meet His conditions.