Unconditional Is the Ground of Conditional

Some Bible passages make crystal clear what we must not assume when reading other Bible passages. For example, consider Exodus 33:13 where Moses prays to God,

If I have found favor in your sight,
please show me now your ways,
that I may know you,
in order to find favor in your sight.

What this verse prevents us from assuming is that, if God’s favor is conditional, it is therefore not unconditional.

Or to put it another way, the verse prevents us from assuming that, if God’s favor is unconditional, it is not therefore conditional.

Knowing God through knowing his ways is the condition of finding favor in his sight in the future. “Please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight.”

And finding favor in God’s sight is the unconditional ground of knowing God through knowing his ways. “If I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways.”

We may not assume that conditions of being in God’s favor in the future cancel out the truth that we are already in his favor, and that this is how we are able to meet the conditions of future favor.

Nor may we assume that the presence of conditions makes our future insecure! As if God’s prior unconditional favor will not guarantee that we meet the conditions.

O how precious are the strange and wonderful verses like Exodus 33:13!

And even more, how precious is the electing, calling, regenerating, all-providing, favor of God’s unconditional grace!

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.