If I am responsible for my salvation then I make it happen; I gain it by my own initiative. Without me it doesn't happen. I am the key element. God and Jesus are powerless if I choose to thwart them.
In the midst of this type thinking, unconditional love will appear unthinkable, worse than unthinkable really. It will appear repugnant. It challenges every assumption and would lead inexorably to a complete overhaul of thinking. The popular expression, "There is no free lunch", says it all. Something "free" is either not really free, or it is worthless.
The man, however, who wasn't "raised in the Church" or been a "solid Christian" for decades is not generally so bold as to think that an earned Love will be adequate for them. On several occasions I have heard preachers and speakers suggest that the best Christians are often the ones who experienced the most sin in their lives, and therefore can appreciate the magnitude of God's Love best.
Those raised in the church may well think that they are loved because they have been God's own practically from birth, whereas the man who has sinned woefully knows from whence he has come with God's help. The heavy "sinner" labors under no illusion about the kind of Love God must give in order to meet his need. Unconditional Love is the only answer for that kind of wounded heart.