Book Part 3

Continued......


I just found this and it is very good - David Platt puts it better than I can:


4)  ‘So’ loved, is not ‘Soooo loved’.

 

The Spirit Of The Reformation study Bible, in its notes on John 3:16, tells us:

 

so. - Means “in this way” or “thus.” Jesus again pointed to the parallel with Moses’ situation. He did not use “so” in the sense of “so greatly” or “so dearly.”

 

So the scholar is saying it does not mean ‘God soooo loved’ but rather ‘God in this way, loved…’ by giving His Son to die.

Or in the same sense that one could say ‘the man so treated her, because he was a kind man.’ It was not saying that the man loved her soooo much. He probably does, but that is not what it was said.

 

The notes on John 3:16 also describe God’s primary way of showing love:

that He gave his. . . Son. - Jesus defined the love of God in terms of the atonement, as is frequent in the New Testament (15:13-14; Ro 5:8; Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2; 1 Jn. 3:16; 4:9-10; Rev 1:5).

 

Meaning that John 3:16 is saying that God showed His love by the one act, of sending His Son to die, not that God loves us soooo, soooo much; and neither is it saying that this great love is like constantly flooding waves over us, every second of every day.

No, it is saying that the love is described in terms of atonement – by a single act of God.

These are the mentioned texts for making this claim:

John 15:13 The greatest way to show love for friends is to die for them.     CEV

 

Rom 5:8 But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.                                            CEV

 

Gal 2:20 I have died, but Christ lives in me. And I now live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave his life for me.     CEV

 

Eph 5:2 Let love be your guide. Christ loved us and offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God.                                          CEV

 

1 John 3:16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other.                  CEV

 

1 John 4:9 God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10 Real love isn’t our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven.                                   CEV

 

Rev 1:5 May kindness and peace be yours from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. Jesus was the first to conquer death, and he is the ruler of all earthly kings. Christ loves us, and by his blood

he set us free from our sins.  CEV

 


[1] Philippians 2:12

[2] Luke 18:1-6

[3] Rom. 1:20 God’s eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That’s why those people don’t have any excuse.  

[4] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-15.html

Ver. 14. Let them alone] A dreadful doom; like that, Hos_4:14; "I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom," &c. No so great punishment as not to be punished. And, Hos_4:17; of that same chapter, "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone:" q.d. he hath made a match with mischief, he shall have his belly full of it. Never was Jerusalem’s condition so desperate as when God said unto her, "My fury shall depart from thee, I will be quiet, and no more angry," Eze_16:42. A man is ever and anon meddling with his fruit trees, paring and pruning, &c.; but for his oaks, and other trees of the forest, he lets them alone, till he comes, once for all, with his axe to fell them.

[5] https://goo.gl/gvGD9Y

[6] https://goo.gl/7P9DBS

[7] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-15.html

[8] http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/15-14.htm

[9] http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/15-14.htm

[10] http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/15-14.htm

[11] Luke 14:27 You cannot be my disciple unless you carry your own cross and come with me.

28 Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? 29 Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. 30 They will say, “You started building, but could not finish the job.”   

[12] Regeneration vs Decisionism DEEPER Conference 2008

http://www.sermonaudio.com/viewtranscript.asp?sermonid=1021081230111

[13] http://babylonbee.com/news/progressive-believer-ensures-survival-of-christianity-by-denying-every-major-christian-doctrine/

[14] https://www.livingwaters.com/evangelism/letter-from-an-atheist

[15] 1Ti 2:4 God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth.    ERV

 

[16]  devangelise verb (used with object)

1. to attempt to spread Christianity (evangelical or otherwise) so poorly that it has the opposite effect to what is intended.

2. to cause, or attempt to cause, someone to leave the Christian faith. verb (used without object)

3. to lose interest in the Christian faith.

[17] https://carm.org/what-did-jesus-come-do

[18] http://www.teachinghome.com/em-elements/christmas/21reasons.cfm

[19] https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/don_stewart/don_stewart_806.cfm

 

[20] http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_timothy/3-16.htm

[21] http://bibletimelinechronology.com/

[22] John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.              CEV

[23] 1John 1:5 Jesus told us that God is light and doesn’t have any darkness in Him. Now we are telling you.                                 CEV

[24] 1John 2:15-16 Don’t love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world, you cannot love the Father. 16 Our foolish pride comes from this world, and so do our selfish desires and our desire to have everything we see. None of this comes from the Father.                                     CEV

[25] Col 1:12 I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you[a] have part in what He has promised His people in the kingdom of light. 13 God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of His dear Son, 14 who forgives our sins and sets us free.

15 Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation.

[26] John 6:44 No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me makes them want to come. But if they do come, I will raise them to life on the last day. CEV

[27] John 6:37 Everything and everyone that the Father has given me will come to me, and I won’t turn any of them away.   CEV

[28] John 6:39 and he wants to make certain that none of the ones he has given me will be lost. Instead, he wants me to raise them to life on the last day.                                                 CEV

[29] Eph 1:4 Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. CEV

[30] Rev 3:21 Everyone who wins the victory will sit with Me on My throne, just as I won the victory and sat with my Father on His throne.                                       CEV

[31] https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/1-john-4.html


[i] Word Pictures in the NT - Robertson:

First pure (pro¯ton men hagne¯). First in rank and time. Hagnos is from the same root as hagios (holy), old adjective, pure from fault, not half-good and half-bad, like that above.

Then peaceable (epeita eire¯nike¯). Old adjective from eire¯ne¯ (peace), loving peace here, bringing peace in Heb_12:11 (only N.T. examples). But clearly great as peace is, purity (righteousness) comes before peace and peace at any price is not worth the having. Hence Jesus spurned the devil’s peace of surrender.

 

Philip Schaff's Popular Commentary on the NT:

the wisdom which is from above is first, in the first place. Purity is its primary quality; all other qualities of heavenly wisdom are subservient to this. We must, however, beware of perverting this remark in the interests of intolerance and party-strife; these are the bitter fruits, not of heavenly, but of earthly wisdom.

 

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:

This is put, "first of all," before "peaceable" because there is an unholy peace with the world which makes no distinction between clean and unclean.

 

The Biblical Illustrator:

The sequence is that of thought, not of time. It is not meant, e.g., that purity is an earlier stage of moral growth in wisdom than peace, but that it is its foremost attribute. (Dean Plumptre.)

Primarily and mostly, God’s love was shown by sending His Son to die for our sin – a single act.

 

The Concordant Literal New Testament translates it:

John 3:16 For thus God loves the world, so that He gives His only-begotten Son, that everyone who is believing in Him should not be perishing, but may be having life eonian."                    CLV

 

A. E. Knoch translator of the Concordant Literal NT states:

SO—MANNER, NOT MEASURE

Often, in my early days, did I revel in the word so, and in my preaching, I expatiated on the magnificent extent of God’s love to the world. But one day I thought I would look it up in my Greek concordance. I am ashamed to say that for a while I was disappointed to find that it was not “so,” in the sense of quantity or size. But it was not long before I began to see that the quality of God’s love is here displayed by the way in which it expresses itself to His creatures, and this is far more precious than its abundance. It is the manner of God’s love which is here revealed, not alone its measure. This Greek word is usually rendered thus, not so. Its true force is seen in the preceding verse, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus must the Son of Mankind be lifted up.” In other places the Authorized Version translators have it on this wise ( Matt.1:18), after this manner ( Matt.6:9), likewise ( Matt. 17:12), in like manner ( Mark 13:29). Thus is a closer rendering, as in its next occurrence. Our Lord “sat thus on the well” ( John 4:6). “Thus God loves the world...” The word “so” really calls attention to the manner rather than the measure, yet, in this connection it has become blurred, and is always taken as an adverb of size, hence it should be replaced by a clearer expression.[1]

 

We shall look into this a little more in the next chapter.

 

5) So ‘loved' = past tense.

 

Notice here that verse 16 explains God's love for His creation of man, by using the term 'sent His Son'.

The emphasis is on something that has been done, not something that is to occur in the future. Obviously Jesus is going to die for the sin of man in the future and that is inferred in the term 'sent His only Son' but the main  emphasis is on what has been done already.

 

Think of all the preparations of preparing the world and Israel to bring His Son into the world. Covenants with or involving Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, Israel, David; the great testings of God over four thousand years, with tens of thousands of deaths, all to send His Son at this specific time in history. 

 

So, when Jesus states that 'God loved' (past tense) the world (His creation, not the spirit of this world, not the rebellion of man), His emphasis is on what God has done. It is not a simplistic all encompassing statement of a glorious unlimited love for all people.

What every person deserved was hell, even the good people, so, anything less than that is grace - God's undeserved acceptance. Or you could say, a 'general' love for all people. Just allowing mankind to live on, in rebellion to God is a great grace of God in itself. 

 

Let us look at what some of the scholars say about this.

Meyer's NT Commentary - John 3:16:

?G???S??] loved, with reference to the time of the ?d??e?[he gave].

 

We also find this 'past tense' use of God’s love for us in 2 Thess:

2 Thess 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.                          NIV

 

Meyer's NT Commentary:

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17. The apostle rises from his evangelical activity (2 Thessalonians 2:15) up to Christ, the Lord and Ruler of the Christian church, and concludes with the mention of God, who is the final reason and contriver of the Christian salvation . . . . .? ??ap?sa? ?µ?? ?a? d???] refers exclusively to ? Te?? ?a? pat?? ?µ??. Baumgarten-Crusius incorrectly refers only the second participle to God, and the first to Christ. But the participle aorist ??ap?sa? must not be weakened into “qui nos amat et quovis tempore amavit” (so Schott, after Flatt and Pelt), but refers to the divine proof of love already belonging to the  past,—accomplished, i.e. to the fact by which the love of God to mankind is ?at' ?????? proved,—to the mission of His Son in order to rescue sinners from destruction.[2]

John 3:16 is basically saying that, God's love for us is shown by what He 'did' - not what He will be doing daily. There are other verses that speak of God watching over us, but not here in John 3:16. We exaggerate it's meaning.

We should be a little more careful in how we view what John says about His love. It is not constantly focused on our every need.

 

Just to add an interesting side note here, a few theologians believe that verse 16 were John’s own words, as general sum up or commentary on how he understood what Jesus was teaching, rather than the very words of Jesus. This could be.

Theologians all agree that the conversation with Nicodemus were the words of Jesus, but then at some point in the chapter, the written text becomes John’s own thoughts and words. What they do not agree on, is at what point, John’s words take over.

If verse 16 were John’s words, it also helps to explain why the ‘so loved’ is in the past tense. Which reveals that John was emphasizing here, that God’s ‘so loved’ was in the Cross rather than day to day.

 

6) This interaction was a private meeting. At night. In secret.  Maybe Nicodemus was afraid of the Jewish leaders, or maybe he just wanted an in-depth discussion with Jesus without the interruptions from the other leaders. But, it was a private meeting that was only recorded in one of the gospel accounts – John’s.

 

As far as we know, Jesus did not publicly preach God's love for people - there is no record of Jesus ever publicly preaching about God’s love for us.

That will be a shock for many. Why? Because we have assumed Jesus did. We based our great emphasis on His supposed preaching of this very thing. Often. Again it's one of those things that we 'kind of, sort of remember’ the Bible says. But we do not verify it, because being so loved is very appealing to our sin nature.

 

As I was searching online for the views of recognized ministries, I found this by David Pawson and it made me wonder if I needed to write this book, because someone has already written and spoken about it:

 

What About John 3:16?

There is currently tremendous and growing interest in the impact of the familiar verse John 3:16. The relevance of the surrounding verses is explored, and many fascinating insights equip the reader to understand the true meaning and significance of the passage and its proper application.
Difficult and controversial issues are not avoided, and we are shown how powerful this passage is.

 

David Pawson has recently been questioning whether we have been scriptural or sentimental in focusing evangelistic preaching on the love of God and, more recently, His ‘unconditional‘ love. He has drawn attention to some surprising biblical data:- that Jews in the Old Testament and Christians in the New only talked about God’s love among themselves; that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever preached it publicly; and that the book of Acts contains not a single reference to it in common with most other books in the Bible.

 

By contrast, the early evangelists focused on God’s righteousness (e.g. Romans 1:16-17). People normally respond with: ‘What about John 3:16?’ which is widely assumed to be the best summary of the gospel we are able to preach. Yet it maybe a classic example of text out of context becoming a pretext, even one of the most mistranslated, misunderstood and misapplied.[3]           Emph. added

 

I have not listen to this series by Pawson as yet.

Christianity, unlike some other religions is a revealed religion - we were given the truth to share as is. It was in no sense of the word, an 'evolutionary' message.

It was not something subject to the change and would develop into something different as the centuries went by.

God declares this many, many times:

The Bible says more than 3,000 times “thus saith the Lord.” And the words which follow are quotes from God.[4]

And:

'The writers claim a supernatural origin for their writings. Nearly 4,000 times expressions like "Thus says the Lord," "The word of the Lord came unto me," etc., are recorded in the Bible.'[5]

 

It was revealed and to be preached as is.

Revealed truth is to preach, not modify. Why have we taken it upon ourselves to soften the gospel message with a lot of talk about God’s love?

 

Jesus declared truth, He did not entertain a lot of silly, all-inclusive discussions. Group chat is not how He or the disciples did it. Sure the rabbinic custom was to ask questions and the teacher would teach, but not an ‘everyone has a right to share their view, type attitude. But in the post-modern era, everybody needs to be an executive and have a say, or somehow they are a victim and the church is so unkind.

The Church belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ. He decides what happens and we stop sooking about minors things and get on with our job. Why should we be arguing 'our rights' when we are called to focus on our responsibilities? Basically we need to grow up.

 

Recently I heard a discussion with a divorced man arguing with a friend that the divorce was not his fault and it was unfair that he was ineligible to be an elder. What? So what! Life is not fair for anybody in one way or another. Who do we think we are, to be arguing for 'something personally better' in the Church, when it is not our Church. We did not die to save it. Our sin made it necessary for Him to die and even after He has wonderfully redeemed us. We continue to sin, but we think that somehow in some parallel universe, we have a right to expect beyond His commands.

 

In fact when we look a little deeper into what God's love really is, we realize that it cannot be separated from His holiness, justice or His wrath. We cannot truly understand His love without understanding how evil sin is, how holy God is, and the great hatred God has for sin.

 

Think of it this way - if you owe a huge moral debt to someone, and your reasonable punishment is fifty years of hard labour.

Even the slightest act of forgiveness, is seen as so wonderfully gracious, without the person doing anything else for you.

Hence, 'God loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us' without Him needing to do anything more at all. Or if God had said, "Ok, you can get into heaven, but I will not do anything else for you on earth despite terrible calamities" even this would be so wonderfully gracious.

 

But, if there is no moral debt, then being saved into heaven is no great gift in the eyes of the receiver. We have lost sight of the very great moral debt that our sin really is. Sure, we are forgiven, but then we act in a presumptuous way, as though we ourselves are 'special' despite our daily sin.

His wonderful grace to us, is supposed to give rise to a deep humility, not conceit.


As in the story of Luke 7, the one forgiven more - we forget just how much we are forgiven. When considering our moral debt to God, in reality, everyone of us is the sinful, immoral woman. We ought to be extremely grateful to God, just for being forgiven of our sin, let alone expecting Him to do anything else for us. But this is exactly what we do. We feel elevated by the His amazing grace for sinful creatures and we want, even demand, that God does more and more to ease our every little burden. Jesus dying on the cross for us should not be internalized, it is not about us, it is about how great God is.

A proper Kingdom perspective is more like this:

Sproul here presents the starting point in understanding God and life in a sinful world.

Think of it this way - Queen Elizabeth requests your company for afternoon tea. You go to Buckingham Palace and the staff instruct you on the correct royal etiquette - how you are to present and conduct  yourself, before the queen. We enter and comply with the necessary protocols, but halfway through our cup of tea, we think how unfair life is and start complaining to the queen "How come I don't have a palace too?" You grumble.  There is an awkward silence, you have just embarrassed yourself dreadfully before  Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. But, you are so self-centred that you do not even notice. Your social self-awareness in this setting, is all but non-existent. So you continue to complain. A royal attendant leans over and tersely whispers in your ear "You forget your place."

We truly have 'forgotten our place.'

We can confidently declare how saved we are through life, but it does not change the fact that we are still sinners before a Holy God. He chooses to relate to us as cleaned, but that does not change the fact that we continue to sin daily.

It reminds me of:

Jer 6:15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!

 

God is also our King, and fortunately for us, He is very patient and longsuffering(2 Peter 3:9[6]), but instead of being grateful for that, we forget our place and presume on His good nature and patience by not being content. We become demanding, spoilt children.

Every time we complain and say "Why is this happening to me?" We show again that we have forgotten our place. We are sinful(sin is utterly vile), God is holy, He did nothing wrong, we did, but we complain about the effects of sin in the world as though Almighty God is letting us down or not taking proper care of us. We expect so much more than His love by sending His Son to die.

Anything in the slightest that God does for us is a wonderful blessing.

 

2 Tim 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

 

7) Being 'loved' by God, should be no more emphasized in John 3:16 than 'perishing' for not believing.

 

Loved by God in verse 16 should be no more emphasized than being ‘condemned if you do not believe’ in verse 18.

Why do we emphasize 'love' without emphasizing 'perishing if we do not live for God'?

Yet pastors will not preach on hell and judgment any more.

Why emphasize God's love for us so much on the basis of John 3:16, but not hell, when Jesus publicly taught about hell and judgment but not 'God's love for you?'

Oh how presumptuous we are, how spiritually conceited we are shown to be.

To help keep a better balance, when we quote John 3:16, we could also quote:

John 3:18 ……..but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

 

Understanding any Scripture is done by and with, other Scripture, not by collecting all the nice Scriptures we like.

Of course we know that and even preach that principle, but we do not do it.

 

One of the problems in understanding John 3:16 is the shallow appreciation of words like ‘judge/condemn’ which is used in the next verse:

 John 3:17 God did not send his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them!    CEV

 

So many times I hear Christians say something like “See, even Jesus does not condemn us, so who are you to judge?”

The word ‘condemn’ is translated in different ways in the Bible – i.e. to condemned to death, or to carry out judgment, or to condemn/expose as sin, etc…

Jesus most certainly does condemn the things we do as wrong, but obviously He did not come to condemn us to death. He was constantly judging the hearts, attitudes and actions that were wrong, as wrong. But, not He did not condemn people to death, He will do that the second time He comes.

 

Let me ask a simple question: How could Jesus save people if He did not judge/discern/expose/declare them as sinful so they could repent? How can anyone call people to repentance if they do not first judge/discern/expose them as sinners and tell them they have sinned?

Of course we are not to “judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” John 7:24 CEV

 

So many would outright reject any evidence of the things I am saying in this book, just 'because we KNOW God loves us' type thinking. And that is despite them not having the evidence from Scripture. They only have their traditions and 'special' verses by which to judge every prophetic word.

Jesus also says to you:

 "You are completely wrong! You don't know what the Scriptures teach. And you don't know anything about the power of God.'  Matt. 22:29    CEV

 

We have not sought God in brokenness to really know what His Word says and who He is. Our opinions come from our contemporaries, popular books of the day and a shallow reading of God's Word.

The only way we will truly know the heart of God even in the slightest, is by seeking Him in His Word in complete humility and brokenness.

Hey, everyone knows some things about God, but they do not truly KNOW Him.

 

Many claim to have a good relationship with God, but they do not. They only have some vague recollection of a salvation experience a long time ago and now go through the motions of being a 'good Christian' in a church with bright modern music and lots of activities.

It feels like they are a good Christian. Of course they know that they are falling short in many things, but that's normal to them, that's just like everyone else.

They really do think that they are a good Christian who understands the deep things of God.

If they ever stopped long enough to genuinely seek God whatever the cost, they would KNOW God, and would be so broken and ashamed with the realization of what a farce their Christianity was.

 

I say again: the only way you will truly know the heart of God even in the slightest, is by seeking Him in His Word in complete humility and brokenness. And it must be continuous.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x John 3:16 = no it does not promote any over-emphasis on God's love for us. It was a private discussion, not a public teaching, only recorded in John.



 

Chapter 17. The Love The Father Lavishes On Us
This Scripture seems to have an emphasis on God's love for us at first sight:

 

1John 3:1  Think how much the Father loves us. He loves us so much that he lets us be called his children, as we truly are. But since the people of this world did not know who Christ is, they don't know who we are.                                       CEV

 

I like the NIV wording of this verse:

1John 3:1  See what great love the Father has lavished on us.........                                  NIV

 

But, when we take a second look at this wonderful verse, we realize that God 'lavished' His love on us (past tense) in that Jesus died (past tense) for our sin and therefore He allows us to be called His children.

 

Those who have ‘an ear to hear’ will realize that the spirit of the message of this passage simply reveals that the great love spoken of in this verse, is simply that He allows us to be called His children. Daily.

Being His children is enough. Why do we twist God's Word and intentions by building a theology of 'God constantly running after us', that puts 'me' at the forefront of His concerns and the centre of His universe?

Rather, we need to understand that God is so holy and our sin is so evil, that for God to merely save us from our sin and hell, is to show extreme love. Lavish love.

To continue to accept us (grace) each day, though we be sinful, is indeed a ‘lavish’ love. Daily.

He does not need to do anything more for us, to be seen as to have 'lavished' His love on us.

 

Here it is in a nutshell:

Rom 5:8 But God showed how much he loved us by having Christ die for us, even though we were sinful.                                                    CEV

 

God’s great love was shown by Jesus DYING for us. EVEN while we were sinners.

Yes this, is the extreme love of God, NOT some perceived constant flow of comfort, healing and protection. As sinful people, we get to walk and talk with God just as Adam did. Wow, what wonderful grace that is, from a Father God who loves us. I demand not more comforts. But I do request His Holy Spirit, His power, His strengthening, His wisdom when I am lacking.

Primarily and mostly, God’s love was shown by sending His Son to die for our sin, which is different from the way we perceive God as being loving us with attentiveness to save us from any little pain.

 

Back to 1 John 3, John goes on in verse 8 to describe anyone who is not obedient to God:

1John 3:8 Anyone who keeps on sinning belongs to the devil.  CEV

 

Well that's not very lavishing in His love or 'unconditional acceptance.' That's what we really think when we use the term 'unconditional' love if we are honest.

You think this is too extreme?

What does the Bible say?

James 5:11 . . .You remember how patient Job was and how the Lord finally helped him. The Lord did this because he is so merciful and kind.  CEV

 

James says, God did not help Job while Job lost his wealth. His servants who were minding the livestock were killed along with the livestock. Then his sons and daughters were killed. Then his body was covered in very painful sores.

James says that God finally helped Job and this is evidence of God's great mercy and kindness.

To view 1John 3:1 in context - yes, ‘that God lavished His love on us, yet, merely saving us is the full result of that love’ helps us keep it all in balance, in a proper perspective.

If we understand this, we can indeed 'come boldly to the throne of grace'Heb 4:16 but we come in boldly, to worship Him in humility. (Not to celebrate how special we are.)

 

So, rather than seeing God lavish His love on us and expect a constant flow of blessings, (which is really living the 'prosperity doctrine' if you think about it) we should instead be content and grateful that God would notice a sinful creature, stoop down to save us from sin - the grace of God.  

 

Oh, how many times I have had Heb. 4:16 thrown in my face to soften, to diminish any talk of God’s holiness and justice - 'Yes but God said to come boldly into His presence.'

 

Again, we confidently quote something we sort of, kind of, remember from Scripture while ignoring the context:

Heb 4:16  Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.       NET

 

To receive mercy!

We come boldly into His presence to humbly receive mercy from a very gracious Holy God, who owes us nothing. We do not come boldly into His presence to loudly and adamantly declare that we are special or ask God to run after our every little want.

The only prosperity doctrine in the New Testament, is ‘righteousness, peace and joy’ in Christ Jesus.

 

One could reasonably ask the proverbial question: How do you know when a Western Christian is taking a verse out of context?

Answer: Only when they quote a Scripture verse.

Somehow, we must come back to the simple understanding that, God's great love was shown in that

He sent Jesus who died for our sin. That's the most of it.

Not the constant flow of trimmings we long for. It can well be argued that, God granting all those trimmings is not love, for it causes humans to be spoilt and lose focus: 

1Tim. 6:9  People who want to be rich fall into all sorts of temptations and traps. They are caught by foolish and harmful desires that drag them down and destroy them. 

10  The love of money causes all kinds of trouble. Some people want money so much that they have given up their faith and caused themselves a lot of pain.                                                                       CEV

 

The more we get, the more we lose focus on God and  His Kingdom’s work. So a god who did, wonderfully prosper us financially, takes away our problems, and gives us a comfortable life, is NOT a god of love.

The God of the Bible is so much higher than those selfish, carnal, earthly aims.

I am reminded of something profound that John Wesley frequently warned his followers about:

"I fear, wherever riches have increased, the essence of religion has decreased in the same proportion. Therefore I do not see how it is possible, in the nature of things, for any revival of true religion to continue long. For religion must necessarily produce both industry and frugality, and these cannot but produce riches. But as riches increase, so will pride, anger, and love of the world in all its branches. How then is it possible that Methodism, that is, a religion of the heart, though it flourishes now as a green bay tree, should continue in this state? For the Methodists in every place grow diligent and frugal; consequently they increase in goods. Hence they proportionately increase in pride, in anger, in the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the pride of life. So, although the form of religion remains, the spirit is swiftly vanishing away. Is there no way to prevent this-- this continual decay of pure religion? We ought not to prevent people from being diligent and frugal; we must exhort Christians to gain all they can, and to save all they can; that is, in effect, to grow rich."[7]                                                  John Wesley

 

We prosper just by hard work and not being wasteful, why would God throw us continual temptations to be self centred as well?

 

Getting back to the point, notice in these verses also, the idea that God's great love, was sending Jesus to die for us:

Jude 1:21  And keep in step with God's love, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to show how kind he is by giving you eternal life.          CEV

 

Indeed we need to walk in step with God’s type of love - just humbly grateful to our Father, not like self centred demanding children.

God is so wonderfully kind to give us eternal life, without any other gift:

Col. 1:22  But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.                                 CEV

 

He lets us stand in His presence. That is great love. Great grace:

Titus 3:7 Jesus treated us much better than we deserve. He made us acceptable to God and gave us the hope of eternal life.           CEV

 

Yes, Jesus treated us so much better than we deserve, and what was it He did? He made us acceptable to God.

Christians need to reject the post modern spiritual conceit and be like King David:

 

Psalm 5:1  (A psalm by David for the music leader. Use flutes.) Listen, LORD, as I pray! Pay attention when I groan. 

2  You are my King and my God. Answer my cry for help because I pray to you. 

3  Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests to you and wait for your reply. 

4  You are not the kind of God who is pleased with evil. Sinners can't stay with you. 

5  No one who boasts can stand in your presence, LORD, and you hate evil people. 

6  You destroy every liar, and you despise violence and deceit. 

7  Because of your great mercy, I come to your house, LORD, and I am filled with wonder as I bow down to worship at your holy temple. 

8  You do what is right, and I ask you to guide me. Make your teaching clear because of my enemies.                                  CEV

 

Paul puts it this way:

Gal. 6:3 If you think that you are too important to help someone in need you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody.    NLT

1Cor 3:7 So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.

So, it can be said that ‘we are nothing.’

And Jesus spells it out here:

Luke 17:10 “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, `We are unworthy servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’”                             NKJ

And John the Baptist understood his position:

John 1:27 Though his ministry follows mine, I'm not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandal."

 

Most would argue with this and say something like "God is not oppressive, you make Him sound strict,  unloving and harsh."

No, He is the Holy God. And I would answer from the best Scriptural understanding of God I could, by saying "No, God is not oppressive, though His real self would seem to be very strict to the Snowflakes of today. Yes, He is strict, but He can be no other - the basic realities of the cosmos dictate it so and God is also confined by these. No, I do not make out God to be unloving.  God is merely being consistent with His own nature and cosmic laws.

And harsh? “Well, yes, in a way His demands are harsh because we live in a sinful world, but pretending God to be only nice, does not prepare us for living in that sinful world."

 

Yes, God lavished His love upon us, though we were deeply sinful. Our response must be to humbly obey such a wonderful holy God, not to be feeling wonderfully special and expecting more and more.

 

True joy is found on our knees, humbly before our Lord and Master. True joy is not found basking in our hyper-love construct, it is fleeting and eventually unsatisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x 1 John 3 = does not portray an over-emphasis on God's love for us within it's context.

Chapter 18. God Loves Everyone?
Let me ask you a question. Does God hate anyone?

 

Most will say 'No'.

 

The Bible clearly says He hates the wicked, you see what I mean when I say that you do not know God?

 

If you were to know only the nice side of a person but not the unpleasant side, you do not 'know' the person, you only know some things about them. So too, we no longer know God, we only know some things about Him. The demons know God better than we do and they shudder. (James 2:19)[8]

Yet we pride ourselves on really knowing God in a way that former generations did not.

 

God hates the evil doers:

Lev. 20:23  The nations I am chasing out did these disgusting things, and I hated them for it, so don't follow their example.                           CEV

 

Dictionary of NT Theology:

hated - Heb. qûts . . . weariness with something that is so intense it occasions revulsion (Gen 27:46; Num 21:5; cf. Job 10:1, qût) as well as the loathing Yahweh manifests toward a rebellious people that occasions rejection (Lev 20:23; cf. Ps 95:10, qût)

 

Word Biblical Commentary, Vol 4:

Hated -Heb. qûts communicates deep feelings of repulsion met contempt produced by continuous irritation.[i]

 

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament:

2002   (q??)  I. be grieved. loath. (ASV and

RSV frequently translate differently, with

RSV introducing the idea of “fear” or

"dread" [Ex 1:12] and probably [at least

in- part] because of the seeming parallelism

with g?r III].)

 

q?? denotes the deep emotional reaction of the

subject issuing in a desired repulsion (or destruction) of the object. Compare the following

synonyms: ba'ash “to be or become stinking,

odious," ga‘al “to cast away as unclean, to

loathe." shaqa? "to detest as unclean," ta‘ab

to treat as an abomination “in a ritualistic and,

also, a moral and general sense. dera’ôn “object

of contempt," and q?t, a variant spelling of our

root. The root occurs nine times:

 

Understanding the state of mind denoted by

this root enlightens many passages. Rebekah

complained to Isaac that she loathed her life because of Esau's wives (Gen 27:46).

 

If she is telling the truth perhaps their strange ways had so irritated her that her life had become unbearable. At least this is probably what Isaac believed. It is such an irritation and loathing that it is forbidden toward God's fatherly reproof (q?? is parallel to ma'as, q.v.).  This word describes God's feelings toward the Canaanites (Lev 20:23) and toward all idolatry (cf. q?t).  Israel used it to describe their feelings toward manna after prolonged feeding on it (Num 21:5). Several peoples are described as having such an irritating abhorrence of Israel (Ex 1:12; Nu 22:3; 1Kgs 11:25), and Israel felt the same toward her enemies (cf. Isa 7:6, 16).

 

'Hate' to be read as God's hate for people, according to:

- Pett's Commentary

- the Pulpit Commentary

- Matthew Henry's Commentary on this verse[ii]

 

Psalm 5:5  Arrogant people cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who behave wickedly.

6  You destroy liars; the LORD despises violent and deceitful people.                               NET

 

Strongs Concordance:

Hate = Hebrew s´a^ne^'

to hate (personally)

Translated in the KJV: - enemy, foe, (be) hate (-ful, -r), odious, X utterly.

 

'Hate' to be read as God's hate for people, according to:

- Expositors Bible Commentary

- Bible Knowledge Commentary

- Complete Commentary

- John Trapp; Notes on the Bible

- Albert Barnes

- Adam Clarke Commentary

- Exposition of the Bible - John Gill

- The Biblical Illustrator [iii]

 

Psalm 11:5  The LORD approves of the godly,

but he hates the wicked and those who love to do violence.                                        NET

 

Psalm 26:5  I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.                       ESV

 

Prov. 6:16  There are six or seven kinds of people the LORD doesn't like(hates): 17  Those who are too proud or tell lies or murder, 18  those who make evil plans or are quick to do wrong 19  those who tell lies in court or stir up trouble in a family.                                                                            CEV

Jer. 12:8  My people have turned against me and roar at me like lions. That's why I hate them.                                                                            CEV

Hos. 9:15  Israel, I first began to hate you because you did evil at Gilgal. Now I will chase you out of my house. No longer will I love you; your leaders betrayed me.                                                      CEV

 

Of course there are many who disagree and believe that God does not hate anyone. They believe that the word 'hate' in these Scriptures should be read, not literally, but figuratively as in 'hate means they will go to hell' at the end.

It is hard to maintain the view of deferred  judgment in the light of the many times that it shows God's action in the here and now.

And what of Scriptures like this?:

 

John 14:21 “If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like……” 23 Jesus replied: “If anyone loves me, they will obey me. Then my Father will love them, and we will come to them and live in them.”              CEV

 

John 15:10 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.                CEV

 

Love them IF they are obedient?

And notice that Jesus repeats it a second time in John 14, even though that was not was Judas was asking about. Obviously it was important to Jesus.

 

Love us IF we are obedient? This is so contrary from what we have always been taught and will be very difficult to accept for most.

When I hear a preacher say “If you were the only person in the world, Jesus would die just for you” it troubles me greatly. How can someone make such a grandiose statement as though they know the mind of God?

Anyway, the idea that God loves everyone soooo much, is not sustainable when you take ALL Scripture into account.

 

The Bible says quite a lot about the anger of God too:

 

The 'anger of the Lord burned against them' and He:

Num. 11:33  But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, the anger of the LORD burned against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very great plague.                                                           NET

 

2Chron. 36:16  But the people only laughed and insulted these prophets. They ignored what the LORD God was trying to tell them, until he finally became so angry that nothing could stop him from punishing Judah and Jerusalem. 

17  The LORD sent King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia to attack Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar killed the young men who were in the temple, and he showed no mercy to anyone, whether man or woman, young or old. God let him kill everyone in the city.                               CEV

 

But, even for those that determinedly believe that God does not hate anybody at all, they must surely see that at least they cannot be so adamant, and say that 'God loves every single person soooo much' in the bland way that we do.

 

Mind you, just for clarification, I believe we should never presume to know who are those ones that the Lord hates. Unfortunately, we judge these things from our own subjective theologies, whereas the Lord knows all things:

1 Cor. 5:12 Why should I judge outsiders? Aren’t we supposed to judge only church members? 13 God judges everyone else. The Scriptures say, “Chase away any of your own people who are evil.”                                                              CEV

In 1 Cor Paul makes a curious statement that our current theology is not equipped to interpret or explain.

If someone said this today, they would be condemned by all:

1Co 16:22  Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed. Our Lord, come!                             NET

 

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth not to some particularly evil person of the world.

 

God loves His truth more than He loves us. God hates the Church to be compromised with people who are not true Christians. Really, He seriously does.

I have said numerous times, we do not know the God of the Bible anymore, and this is an example of that.

If we properly understand the fearful truth of God’s holiness; and the preciousness of His truth, we would not dare tolerate anyone in sin in the church. Not only that, we would challenge the lukewarm too. But we are too busy consoling our congregations and ourselves with God’s kindness, that we cannot even see the verses we read that contradict our beliefs. Or, we skip over them; no need to meditate on those negative verses.

Do you want to really know God or not?

 

Considering all this, do you really think that God never hates anyone, or that God is never angry with believers?

 

The Anger or Wrath of God is His Love Too

 

We also need to address the idea that, God is never angry with us and dispel the myth:

Rom 9:13  As the Scriptures say, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.”.                                              ERV

 

God was angry with the Northern Kingdom - Esau.

 

Rom. 5:10  Even when we were God's enemies, he made peace with us, because his Son died for us. Yet something even greater than friendship is ours. Now that we are at peace with God, we will be saved by his Son's life.                               CEV

 

Psalm 7:11  You see that justice is done, and each day you take revenge.                                         CEV

 

John 3:36  He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides upon him.                                                     MKJV

 

Morris - New Inter. Commentary on the NT:

"'The wrath of God' is a concept that is uncongenial to many modern students, and various devices are adopted to soften the expression or explain it away. This cannot be done, however, without doing great violence to many passages of Scripture and without detracting from God's moral character. Concerning the first of these points, . . . there are literally hundreds of passages in the Bible referring to God's wrath, and the rejection of them all leaves us with a badly mutilated Bible. And with reference to the second, if we abandon the idea of the wrath of God we are left with a God who is not ready to act against moral evil. . . . We should not expect it [God's wrath] to fade away with the passage of time. Anyone who continues in unbelief and disobedience can look for nothing other than the persisting wrath of God. That is basic to our understanding of the gospel. Unless we are saved from real peril there is no meaning in salvation"[9](Emp added)

 

Other commentaries on John 3:36 – in the endnotes[iv]

 

Psalm 79:5  Our Lord, will you keep on being angry? Will your angry feelings keep flaming up like fire?                                                                   CEV

Psalm 85:3  You stopped being angry with them.

    Your terrible anger has gone away.            ERV

 

Psalm 88:16 Your anger is like a flood!

And I am shattered by your furious attacks   CEV

 

Psalm 7:11 God is a righteous judge,

    a God who displays his wrath every day.     NIV

 


God loves His perfect laws. If He is not consistent with His own holiness, then He lacks love. He loves the Truth. If He does not judge error, He cannot love His own Truth.

Simply put, God cannot be untrue to Himself.

 

J.I. Packer:

“God’s wrath in the Bible is never the capricious, self-indulgent, irritable, morally ignoble thing that human anger so often is. It is, instead, a right and necessary reaction to objective moral evil.”[10]  (Emp. added)

 

Exactly. God's justice is an inevitable action, of cosmic values. One would more easily push the earth out of its orbit, than stop this process.

 

R. P. C. Hanson:

Most preachers and most composers of prayers today treat the biblical doctrine of the wrath of God very much as the Victorians treated sex. It is there, but it must never be alluded to because it is in an undefined way shameful. …God is love; therefore we must not associate him with wrath. God is love; therefore he is indefinitely tolerant. Presumably it is for such reasons that the Christian churches of the twentieth century have in practice turned their backs upon the biblical doctrine of the wrath of God.[11] (Emp added)

 

And again,

 

R. P. C. Hanson:

. . .the contemporary rejection by Christians of the biblical doctrine of the wrath of God is a typical example of our allowing secular, non-Christian ideas to creep into our understanding of the Christian faith in such a way as to distort it.[12] (Emp added)

 

Just to clarify, in case one wants to accuse Hanson of an extreme reading of God's wrath:

It must of course be acknowledged that belief in the wrath of God in the past has often gone hand in hand with cruel and inhumane human behaviour, whether in war or in penal systems. But those wishing to blame the latter practice on the former belief would do well to consider the inhumane cruelties of atheistic regimes in the twentieth century.[13]

 

Once we begin to move back to the Bible and away from what we 'sort of, kind of, remember the Bible says' the truth begins to shine through.

Observe that very phenomena in this example in a master’s thesis:

A Critical and Comparative Analysis Of Recent Contributions Towards The Concept Of God's Wrath

                                           by Thunga Banda

ABSTRACT

I began researching for this dissertation to prove that most biblical expositors are wrong, God is not wrathful at all and He has been misrepresented. However, the more I read, the more I uncovered evidence contrary to what I believed and thought I knew. I was very shocked and upon rereading the Bible with this new evidence, I indeed found out that God is wrathful. So the question arose in my mind, how could this be, how can a Being that is love be wrathful? How does it work?. . .

 

The Biblical Accounts Concerning

Divine Wrath in the NT

 

Most commentators, scholars and preachers seem to have relegated divine wrath as occurring in the OT only and not NT. They have a tendency to depict the NT as Jesus only preaching the messages of love and salvation, without any hint of God's wrath as consequences or in reference to the OT.

 

 However the doctrine of the wrath of God is not limited to the OT, as some have falsely imagined. We read in John 3.36, 'He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.'

 

Paul says, 'For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men'.

Many more NT verses also indicate God's wrath[14] against sin. [15]         (Emp. added)

It is rather foolish to believe that God is never angry with you, me, a church, a city or a country. After all that the Bible has to say of His anger toward His own disobedient people through history.

 

And yet, most Believers have never been taught that God is angry with you at times. And they cannot accept the concept or the principle.

Because our own anger is usually so carnal, we cannot imagine God having any anger toward us like that.

But, God's anger is a perfect anger – perfect in discernment, perfect in truth, perfect in measure and perfect in harmony with His own character.

 

As J.I. Packer says, ‘God's anger is merely a moral response against evil.’ It is not reactive as we are, but like an automatic, controlled, measured response. In a way it could be compared to Newton's 3rd Law of motion - for every action (force) in nature there is an equal and opposite reaction.

I do not suggest that God is merely an indifferent force. Nor that God, after creating the world with governing principles, no longer has any involvement with His creation (Deism). None of those. It's just the way things work in the universe that God created.

God is a personal, relational, active God, but His laws are universal, cosmic and eternal. He acts and feels in perfect coordination with His own laws.

You could say that He is the perfect parent - He acts on sin without compromising His holiness, consistency and love.

 


Most pastors will not preach the truth about God's anger for fear that it will turn people off, causing them to think God is an angry old God. And, because people will think badly of them, so they focus on God's love, care and encouragement instead.

 

Interview with D.A. Carson:

I suppose there are few theological topics that are more unacceptable to the contemporary, Western world than the theme of the wrath of God. Yet the fact remains that the wrath of God is spoken of something like 600 times directly or indirectly in the Old Testament alone, quite apart from New Testament usages. And that is in addition to passages where the expression — “the wrath of God” — or anything analogous is not actually found, but the narrative carries the same theme.[16] (Emp. added)

 

Sin is so evil it requires decisive confrontation and punishment. That is simply the eternal laws of the universe. I believe that the usage of the terms like 'avenging' is a clumsy description of the fact that God must judge sin, but not because He feels as though He needs revenge.

 

Being an object of God’s anger is entirely our choice:

Jude 1:21 keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.                 

 

Col. 1:21  You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.

 

We see that God was indeed angry at times with His people and with individuals.

Even most genuine Christians fail to understand God's justice and anger because, unlike the love of God, they have not thought or heard a lot about it. They have not a developed theology about it, nor do they want to.  Their world view prevents them from thinking about it too much - God is love and we should not dishonour Him by focusing too much on negative things.

 

Consider this, was Jesus ever frustrated with His followers?

Was Jesus ever angry with his own?

Yes.

Of course the Father would be, and would administer discipline as well.

So if Jesus was angry at times with his disciples, why wouldn’t He be angry with us at times?

 

Jesus to the disciples:

Mar 10:14  When Jesus saw this, he became angry and said, "Let the children come to me! Don't try to stop them. People who are like these little children belong to the kingdom of God.                                                              CEV

 

Of course!

Could the Father be angry with the Western Church now?

Yes.

Is He?

I believe so.

When we refuse to preach the 'full' gospel, His Word in His way, we rebel against God, of course He would. Who do we think we are?

 

Yes, God is angry with us, and we need to repent before we are shattered. Does that mean God does not loves us now? Of course not. Can a mother be angry with her child for being rebellious, yet continue to love her child? Of course. Why, when it comes to God, do we have such an aversion to the idea that God can be angry with me or angry with you, yet continue to love us?

Well, because we believe that ‘God loves us soooo much.”

 

Remember at the beginning of this chapter, I said that if you were to only know about the nice side of a person but not the unpleasant side, you do not 'know' the person? You only know some things about them. So too, we no longer know God, we only know some things about Him.

And that without anger, the love of God cannot exist?

Consider then that God's love caused Him to :-

 

·       save Joseph in Egypt

·       warn people of hell

·       give a child to Hannah, Sarah and Rebekah

·       judge Ananias & Sapphira to death

·       punish the unrepentant to hell

·       send His Son to die for us

·       discipline us when required

·       allows terrible suffering throughout the world

·       allow us to be called the children of God

·       etc….

 

When we understand that God holds affection and anger in perfect balance, we begin to know God -  

the God of the Bible, rather than the god of our traditions.

 

CONCLUSION:

x God Loves Everyone = Scripture says no.

 

 


Again, yes God love us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

See how Scripture does not show an emphasis on God's love for us, unlike what ‘we sort of, kind of remember’ it does.

 

 



 

Chapter 19. Unconditional love of God
We say that God loves us unconditionally.

 

Really?

Then how do we interpret these verses:

John 15:10 If you obey me, I will keep loving you, just as my Father keeps loving me, because I have obeyed him.                                               CEV

 

Psalm 5:5 No one who boasts can stand in your presence, Lord, and you hate evil people.   CEV

 

John 16:27 God the Father loves you because you love me, and you believe that I have come from him.                                                                         CEV

 

1John 3:24 If we obey God’s commandments, we will stay one in our hearts with him, and he will stay one with us. The Spirit that he has given us is proof that we are one with him.                   CEV

 

John 14:21 If you love me, you will do what I have said, and my Father will love you. I will also love you and show you what I am like.         CEV

 

Heb. 11:6 But without faith no one can please God. We must believe that God is real and that he rewards everyone who searches for him.  CEV

 

John 15:14 And you are my friends, if you obey me.                                                                       CEV

 

Psalm 11:5 The Lord tests honest people, but despises those who are cruel and love violence.                                                                                           CEV

Sure, there is a general grace extended to all people (we know this from experience - up until now, God has not yet destroyed all non Believers and we who were non Believers) but to say that God has unconditional love for all people is taking it way too far.

 

If we are honest, 'God's unconditional love' became and is now code for 'God's unconditional acceptance' even if we live in sin. Everyone must be accepted now, even those living in lifestyles that Scripture clearly condemns as vile sin.

 

This has become just another tradition of men that we came up with to make the offensive gospel, more acceptable.

 

Some try to argue that these verses only mean that at the end God will send people to hell, rather than rejecting them now. That is not consistent with all the Bible says, nor with the character of God.  God really IS holy in a way that makes us very uneasy. But most of us are not prepared to truly acknowledge the depth of His holiness. Again, we want to try and make the Holy God more acceptable to ourselves and the non Believers.

 

God is demanding, His holiness demands it and there is no way around that.

Here is another insight into the God of now, not only the God who will judge all at the end of the age:

Heb. 10:38 The people God accepts will live because of their faith. But he isn’t pleased with anyone who turns back.”               CEV

 

As I was looking for something online, I found this, thank you to who ever made it.

As the idiom goes 'a picture paints a thousand words' and this cartoon so aptly exposes one of the main reasons we use the concept of God's 'unconditional love'. We just gotta get them in.

 

We really do not want to preach 'repentance from sin and Christ crucified' as it sounds a bit weird in the Post modern era. It is so much easier to tell people that God loves them unconditionally. The problem is, it does not work - it brings in people who 'came to get something' rather than 'came to give up all'.

 

Paul Washer hits the nail on the head here:

 

David Pawson says it so well here:

The idea that God loves everybody unconditionally, wants them all to come to him just as they are, and everyone can then be happy – that is not the gospel, or the God that we are to present to the world. It implies when we emphasize to unbelievers that God is love that we are lovable. Because we measure His love by ours…. God had to tell the Jews, ‘I don’t love you because you are special; you are special because I love you’. And that is the biblical emphasis. God doesn’t love us because we are lovable, but because He is love. That’s a very different thing. And so we have had an overemphasis on a God of Love in our preaching to unbelievers – something that the New Testament apostles never did.[17]

 


 

Even W. Craig Reed who is not a Christian, in his book  7 Secrets of Neuron Leadership questions the logics of this concept of an 'unconditional love' :[18]

 

Now obviously he is not speaking of God, but the idea of love being without any conditions whatsoever.

Here is a little of what he says about it:

 

 


 

This from Marie, a dear sister in the Lord:

Would we agree that more and more churches are falling away - becoming apostate daily? If I asked the question, "Is this current apostasy due to "politically correct theology," how would you define the "politically correct theology," that is infecting the churches and individual Christians? I see it as the erroneous notion that "God's unconditional love accepts everyone 'just as they are'."

 

From Dennis a dear brother in the Lord:

The erroneous understanding of God's "unconditional love" has been a huge problem and stumbling block, but let's be clear: it is not this specific and tragic error but instead the entire rewrite of the identity of God that has brought the church to this sad state. When all of the threatening, scary, and terrible aspects of God are removed, we have left only a caricature of God, one that Lucifer is glad to fill and energize. We have all been deeply affected by this Great Substitution, and it is incumbent upon each one of us to keep coming out of it lest we be likewise deceived.

 

Profound.


CONCLUSION:

x Unconditional Love Of God = it is hard to argue for God's 'unconditional love' in the light of so many conditional Scriptures in the Bible.

 



 

Chapter 20. Great Commission
You would expect that if telling non Believers that God loves them is so important, then surely Jesus would specify this to the disciples in the final commissioning just before he left:

 

Matt. 28:19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,

20  teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age."                NET

 

Mark 16:15  He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

16  The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.

17  These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages;

18  they will pick up snakes with their hands, and whatever poison they drink will not harm them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well."

 

No! Nothing about how they were to preach 'God's great love for people and having a wonderful plan for their life.'

 

What about the commissioning of Paul?

What did Jesus tell Paul to do?

 

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my Name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”     NIV

 

Acts 26:6 And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?....................

...14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’

15 “Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’

“ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. 16 ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.

17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

19 “So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds.   NIV

 

No! As you can see, nothing even hinting at preaching God’s love for people.

 

Later we shall look at what the disciples did preach, through the book of Acts, after hearing this command.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Great Commission = no emphasis on preaching God's love, it is not even mentioned.


Again, let me categorically state that God has a great love for us. It can rightly be said that everything God does, is through love. All I am saying is that we talk about and focus on God's love for us far, far more than God does.

 

 

Let us take a look at what the New Testament reveals from a number of different perspectives.

Chapter 21. Any NT Books Written On This?
Is there a book of the New Testament that was written specifically to tell or teach us that God greatly loves us?

 

In a word, no.

 

There are various opinions, but as I see it, the New Testament books were generally written for these reasons:

Matthew    - A record of Jesus' teachings & deeds                         proving his Messiahship to the Jewish                                   mind.

Mark            - A record of suffering servant Jesus and                    His teachings and deeds, He is the Great                      Leader God to Roman mind.           

Luke            - A record of the man Jesus, His teachings                 and deeds to the Greek mind.

John             - A record of Jesus a man who is Messiah                  God and man.

Acts              - the record of the acts of the Holy Spirit                   through apostles and believers, fulfilling                Acts 1:8.           

Romans     - Paul's preparatory teaching letter                             before he arrives in Rome.                 

1 Corinthians        - Paul disciplines the Corinthian                              Church for many errors.

2 Corinthians        - Paul restores relationship and                               reiterates his apostolic call.

Galatians - Paul disciplines and warns the church of                Galatia about accepting teachings of                                     Judaizers.

Ephesians               - Paul warns about false teaching.

Philippians            - Paul thanks Philippians for gift                              and asks two ladies to work in                                       harmony.

Colossians              - Paul warns Colossian church, of                            whom he had not met, about false                                teachings.

1 Thessalonians  - Paul corrects Thessalonian                                     church's wrong eschatology and                                   encourages them in persecution.

2 Thessalonians  - Paul again corrects wrong                                                     eschatology and comforts them in                                strong persecution.

1 Timothy - Paul's pastoral letter to Timothy.

2 Timothy - Paul's second pastoral letter and request to see Timothy while he (Paul) was suffering in prison under Nero's persecutions. 

Titus            - Paul's pastoral letter to Titus.

Philemon  - Paul appeals to a friend to forgive his                      runaway slave.

Hebrews    - The author encourages Jewish believers.

James          - James calls Christians around the                              empire to return to proper conduct.

1 Peter       - Peter encourages Believers during time                 of great persecution under Nero.

2 Peter       - Peter warns about false teachers.

1 John         - John warns about false teachers.

2 John         - John warns about false teachers.  

3 John         - John writes to Gaius, a church leader to                  support visiting preachers and warn of                   self-important Diotrephes.

Jude             - Jude warns of false teachers.

Revelation - Jesus' vision of the times, to encourage                  believers.

 

This book has, as its aim, to find where 'preaching God's love for us' was to be part of the coming of the New Covenant, so the books of the Old Testament are not really relevant. But if they were, the Song of Solomon - a grouping of love poems, is considered by many as a book of God's love for us. Although this was not a universal understanding for Israel.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Any New Testament book about this = No, none of the NT books were written for the purpose of teaching about God's love for us.

 

 


Again, yes God love us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

See how Scripture does not show an emphasis on God's love for us, unlike what we ‘sort of, kind of remember’ it does.

 

 

 

 



 

Chapter 22. Any NT passage With This Title?
Many Bibles have passage titles, that sum up what the passage is about, like this:


Let us see how many of these, address this topic specifically.

 

These headings are not Scripture, they are merely the learned translator’s view of the passage in a nutshell. They  are not a precise measurement and sometimes they seem to be inaccurate, but it does give us a general idea of the content.

I will use the headings from two different Bible versions:

 

The Net Bible contains 653 passage headings in the New Testament:

Only 2 of them are about God's love:

- God is Love                            (1John 4:7-5:4)

- God Is Love So We Must Love One Another

(1John 3:11-24)

That's     0.31%    about God's love

                 99.69% about other subjects

 

The English Standard Version (ESV) is more detailed and contains 907 passage headings in the New Testament:

Only 3 of them are about God's love:

- For God So Loved The World (John 3:16, 21)

- God’s Everlasting Love      (Romans 8:31-39)

- God Is Love                             (1John 4:7-21)

That's     0.33%     about God's love.

                 98.77%  about other subjects

 

This deception we carry, is worse than you think, because it is so deep, it affects every word we hear.  Think about this; even when we do preach on 'worry' it is very different from how Jesus or the Bible does.

 

We say things like “Don't worry, God is always with you, He loves you and will not forsake you. God does not want you to worry, He wants you to rest in Him, just enjoy His presence, don't you remember that Jesus said "I came to give life and life abundantly" so try not worry.”

We might preach on holiness, but then we add the special ‘nice’ sauce to make it less challenging, well, less convicting really. We might preach on persevering but then add a ‘spoon full of sugar, to help the medicine go down.’

What about preaching like Jesus did “Stop worrying! Have you no faith after all you have seen me do?”

This way urges one on, the former merely pampers one into a ‘social welfare’ state of thinking where I do not have to really try for myself or grow.

 

Even when we DO NOT preach about 'God's love for you' or even add the special ‘nice sauce’, we are still reinforcing the concept. Why? Because Christians, after hearing about it so much for so long, it has become our paradigm - we all believe that's how God works, it is our assumed worldview. It is the foundation supporting every sermon, it is what our church believes. It is the impression behind our every sermon, it is the assumed overriding truth by all the people. It is just a split second away from being declared yet again, in case one may think or say we are too hard. It is the constant 'greatest fact' that our everything is built on. It is the great deception of the Post-modern Church.

When people come to church assuming something false as truth, they interpret everything that is said through that belief or prism - they incorrectly interpret the preaching and reading of the Bible, even without anyone stating it.

And of course, if hell or hard things are raised, the instinctive and immediate response, is ‘what about God’s love?’ There is no time to consider or reason toward a more Biblical assessment.

We just do not realize the depth and reach of this deception.

 

CONCLUSION:

x New Testament passages dedicated to this = no, evidence in the passage headings to support any over-emphasis.

 



 

Chapter 23. Total Verses Saying 'God Loves Us?'
How often does the New Testament state that God loves us, what percentage of all the verses?  1%, 5%, 10%, 18%, 25% or 35%?

 

Back to that small survey of 28 people from 3 different church groups on 'what percentage of the verses in the New Testament state that God loves us?':

 

Very large conservative Pentecostal church

Baptist

Well known mission group

100%

 

 

90%

 

 

80%

 

80%

 

70%

 

60%  x  2

60%

 

 

50%

 

33%

 

30%

20%

20%

 

15%

15%  x  2

15%

10%  x  2

10%  x  4

10%   x  3

 

5%  x  2

 

 

The way we Christians talk and preach, you would think that God's love for us was talked about all the way through the New Testament. And indeed, that is many do think.

 

But when you take the time to go through the NT and count up how many verses actually say or strong infer this, you find that only about 1% of all the NT even mentions it.

Wow, that is a huge difference from our assumptions.

 

- Why then do we talk about it so much?

- Why is it the main thing by which we measure God?

- Why is it that if one talks about how the Church needs to expose sin, there is a chorus of, "But God loves us too you know and He wants us to focus on loving one another"

Whenever one briefly speaks of God’s wrath and is accused of ‘not keeping it in balance’ in fact it is they who hold an extreme position on God’s love and are not in balance. How can 1% be a foundation on which to call anybody ‘back into balance’ about anything?

 

This survey exposes our extreme belief in something that is wrong. Of course it is going to then skew and compromise our ability to understand who God is, who Jesus is, what the Bible is saying, how to live, how to evangelize, how to minister, how evil sin is, how holy holiness is, etc.... 

You can see how we have a huge discrepancy here, a huge problem because it greatly changes our view of God and the Bible.

It MUST be addressed and it MUST be corrected or we cannot honestly claim to serve the God of the Bible, but rather a god of our own making.

This is a huge ‘paradigm-framing’ concept?

Pastor? Why haven’t you alerted your congregation of this huge paradigm-framing concept? Why haven’t you warned about this value system flaw? Why haven’t you addressed this ‘frame of reference’ skewer, with Scripture? Your people have built this into their basic assumptions and you did not warn them. This ‘point of reference’ has been anchored in the wrong location and you were too afraid to expose it for the glory of God.

 

Tozer is correct:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I too, endeavor to stand up for the real Jesus of the New Testament. How about you?

We can totally change the way we view God. It would enable us to serve Him so much better, even to 'please' Him as we have not done before.

Do you want to please God?

 

Continuing on.   Interestingly:

7942 verses in the New Testament.

87  or 1.1%  love of God for us.

7855  or  89.9%  General teaching & narrative.

 

It looks like this:


 

And even then, when the love of God is spoken of, it is mostly a ‘by-the-way-mention,’ for instance:

Jude 1:1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.

 

Rom. 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

So many times when I am talking or writing about God, I have well meaning Christians stop me and say, ‘Well yes, God does want to mature us, but He loves us too you know. We have to be careful not to go to the extreme and only talk about maturing. We need to keep it in balance by talking about God's love too.'

It makes me want to weep.

We already talk more about God's love and care for us, and how He restores our hurt emotions, etc... so much of the time, but if one talks a little about going on to maturity, they are going to the extreme.

We have just seen that the NT only mentions God's love for us in 1% of all the verses, yet when talk about challenging on to maturity for maybe 5% of the time, we are being extreme.

No, if we take our cue from Scripture, we should be talking, teaching and challenging each other 99% of the time and teaching about God's love only 1% of the time.

So, if we talk more than 1% about God's love, we are being extreme, right? That is if we believe Scripture is the Word of God, as we say we do.

We need to stop it and truly grow up.

Our Christian life is supposed to be 'missional' being that we have a focus on the Great Cause - making disciples for the King, but we have more of a 'nice Christian existence' mentality. This nice Christian existence mentality encourages us to look for and dwell on everything nice that God has for us, while being missional in mentality causes us to forget about ourselves, sacrifice the inward looking, in order to further the Great Mission.

 

What we do not realize is that the way we view God and His Word through our manmade prism of 'He loves us soooo much' does the very opposite of what we are wanting to achieve. And it certainly is contrary from what God wants.

 

Let me explain.

I just mentioned that following Christ (being a Christian) is the 'Great Cause'. There is no cause like it, nothing that can compare in any way, to the eternal value of His unfolding plan.

When we amplify God's love so much, over His truth and justice, we remove the dynamic in it, of the deepest most meaningful cause that is worth dying for. We have turned it around, into a ‘comfortable life for me.’ Yet, mankind knows intuitively that a ‘Great Cause’ is not self-centred and so there is something missing. It leaves one feeling somewhat empty.

Now in this era, people are so bombarded with superficial, plastic, empty experiences, which leave many who are looking for something more meaningful, feeling empty. These are those who want a genuine cause and would be very committed to that cause. We see young people getting caught up in radical causes and I believe this is part of the attraction to Islam in the West and Leftwing social justice activists.

However, when we dumb down God's great cause with self-centred traditions of men, we take away the very thing that cause-seekers are looking for and we attract instead, those who want to be self-centred.

We repel sheep and attract goats.

We are in fact, devangelizing[19] not evangelizing.

We give them enough of the Gospel to make them far more accountable before God, but not enough to truly be saved. We give them enough of the gospel to make them spiritually sick. We bring in another goat and pat ourselves on the back.

Deep down we know this, but we do not want to think about it enough and bring it into our full consciousness, for then we might need to change.

You know what Jesus called that? Hard hearts.

We certainly do have hard hearts, we will turn away from anyone taking the Bible literally and insisting that we live by the Bible.

 

Getting back to the subject of this chapter - how many verses state that God loves us in the New Testament? Let's go a little further.

Here is the process of how we arrive at this problem:

All at the same time, we combined '..God IS love..[20]' with  '..the greatest of these is love..'[21] and '..love is kind..'[22] in order to come up with this 'God IS kind and only kind' concept.

Or what could be called the Sola Tenere gospel - God  only tender.

It outworks in life something like this:

God is love + greatest of these is love = God IS love.

God IS love + Love is kind = God IS kindly.

Therefore:  Kindliness = love

Therefore:  Love = kindliness

Therefore: anything that appears unkind is NOT love.

Therefore: anything that appears unkind is NOT of God.

Therefore: anything that appears unkind is sin.

Therefore: anything that appears unkind is not being like Jesus.

Therefore, if one corrects sin in the camp, they are judgmental and evil.

Therefore, you may break the one last law we have, of 'not judging' by judging this person as wrong, and that their very  'Christianness' is in serious doubt for all to see. 

We have an unshakable belief that God's love is ONLY kindly, and we get very angry if anyone challenges that particular tradition of men.

 

Of course we would never say out loud, that God is only kindly, because we know that is wrong, but we do believe it, and live by it, and judge all things by it. We are very happy to keep any suspicion about this tradition of men in our 'peripheral thoughts' - don't ever let them come to the surface where they might be questioned or exposed. We are on a good thing, and don't let anyone challenge it.

 

If, God were only kindly, why would He say, "Do not grieve over my rejection of Saul?"

1 Sam 16:1 One day he said, “Samuel, I’ve rejected Saul, and I refuse to let him be king any longer. Stop feeling sad about him.

Put some olive oil in a small container and go visit a man named Jesse, who lives in Bethlehem. I’ve chosen one of his sons to be my king.”      CEV

 

And God instructs Israel to show no pity, not even to your dear wife if she tries to entice you to worship idols:

Deut. 13:6-10 Someone else may say to you,

“Let’s worship other gods.” That person may be your best friend, your brother or sister, your son or daughter, or your own dear wife or husband. But you must not listen to people who say such things. Instead, you must stone them to death. You must be the first to throw the stones, then others from the community will finish the job. Don’t show any pity.                 CEV

 

And it is not just the OT that speaks of God in this way:

2 Peter 2:4 God did not have pity on the angels that sinned. He had them tied up and thrown into the dark pits of hell until the time of judgment. 5 And during Noah’s time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth.

6 God punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and this is a warning to anyone else who wants to sin.

7-8 Lot lived right and was greatly troubled by the terrible way those wicked people were living. He was a good man, and day after day he suffered because of the evil things he saw and heard. So the Lord rescued him.

9 This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the day of judgment.

10 The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and don’t think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven.                                        CEV

 

Again, this is the very image of the 'God of the Old Testament' that people try to pretend is not the 'Jesus of the New Testament'.

If you do not know God, you will not understand such a command. Under the New Covenant, we are supposed to have the same fervor against sin in our lives.

 

Why 'stop feeling sad' and 'show no pity'?

Because it will affect one’s judgment and they will not be strong enough to follow through on what God commands.

Our immediate response to a perceived victim is to show pity, while God's first response is, 'what is true and righteous?’ God's integrity is protected by His justice.

Our sentimental ideas prevent us from following through on God's commands.

We are called to expose sin, but we excuse sin, and we  employ all sorts of sentimental, comforting encouragements. Why?  Because this sinner 'had a bad childhood' or 'is so offended by something' or ……

Like Samuel, we feel more sad for the sinner than for God's broken law. Contrary from the OT pattern, we show great pity for the sinners and leave God to 'get over it.'

Oh, how arrogant we are.

This is one of the main reasons that our law and order is breaking down so badly now – judges too, have taken on the sentimental idea of showing so much ‘pity’ that they hand down woefully inadequate sentencing. 

 

It now matters little to us that God is deeply offended by the sin. What is really important to us are people's feelings.

Billy Graham is right and he is talking about the world!

But what is far more tragic, it's true in the Church too.

It starts with the pastors who refuse to offend their members but do not mind offending God.

The God they preach about each week is the God who gave His one and only Son to be brutally treated and killed for us. I find it difficult to understand how they can even call themselves Christians - followers of Christ, let alone pastors and shepherds of His flock.

 

Our favourite verse in the Bible surely is John 3:16, but it seems that God's favourite OT verse is something quite different and only focused on Christ, certainly not us.

OT verse most quoted in the NT.

God’s Favourite Bible Verse -Dr Joel McDurmon:

Most students of the Bible realize that the New Testament quotes from the Old quite often. It does so several hundred times, actually (2,300 if you count allusions and paraphrases). From this we can rightly infer that God takes God’s word seriously. But did you know there is one verse God quotes from himself far more than any other? I mean way more.

Just for comparison, the second most frequently-quoted verse is this important doozy: “love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 19:18). This shows up in seven different places in the NT. The vast majority of other verses quoted appear a couple times, or only once. But there is one that blows even Leviticus 19:18 away in frequency. It is this:

The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool” (Psalm 110:1).

Not only may that seem surprising, but the numbers will, as well. This verse is quoted or alluded to 23 times in the NT. It is quoted in 11 out of 27 NT books, and by 7 of the 9 NT authors.

Indeed, if we may take just a little license and judge by such frequency, we may say that Psalm 110:1 is indeed God’s favorite Bible verse.

And since this verse appears over three times as often as something so important as “love your neighbor as yourself,” we may consider that its repeated emphasis has some great importance—perhaps that we’ve overlooked. . .[23] (Emph. Added)

 

Thank you Dr McDurmon. You can read more of this piece here:

https://americanvision.org/1909/importance-of-psalm/ This is a great observation and one on which the Church needs to take note.

 

Jesus is the Centre of all things. God’s focus, is rightly, on God, His Kingdom and His unfolding plan. That is where our focus ought to be too.

So not only is John 3:16 NOT God’s favourite verse, but most - about 99% of the New Testament verses do NOT clearly state that God loves us.

 

Let us take ourselves down off the pedestal and put God truly at the centre of our lives. It is only natural. It is abiding by cosmic, eternal laws.

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x New Testament Statistics = does not show any particular emphasis on God's love for us. In fact it is dramatically lower than what we think. Rather, we see an urging on to holiness, maturity and mission.




[1] https://www.concordant.org/expositions/the-evangel/john-316/

[2]http://biblehub.com/commentaries/meyer/2_thessalonians/2.htm

[3] http://davidpawson.org/resources/series/what-about-john-316

[4] 1) https://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-amazing-bible-facts/#ixzz448CTyS2F

2) http://ordinaryadventure.com/2016/06/fact-or-fiction-are-the-bibles-claims-true/

[5] http://www.believers.org/believe/bel191.htm

[6] 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.    NASB

Num. 14:18  that you love to show mercy and kindness. And you said that You are very patient, but that You will punish everyone guilty of doing wrong—not only them but their children and grandchildren as well. 

19  You are merciful, and you treat people better than they deserve. So please forgive these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.                      CEV

 

[7] goo.gl/yQkkMQ

[8] James 2:19 You surely believe there is only one God. That’s fine. Even demons believe this, and it makes them shake with fear.

[9] https://goo.gl/9iCzkX

[10] Knowing God, 151, J.I. Packer. http://www.amazon.com/Knowing-God-J-I-Packer/dp/083081650X/?tag=desigod06-20

[11] "R.P.C. Hanson, God: Creator, Saviour, Spirit (London: S.C.M., 1960), 37." https://goo.gl/fdkgUg

[12] R. P. C. Hanson, God, p. 38. https://www.uniontheology.org/resources/doctrine/god/the-wrath-of-god-as-an-aspect-of-the-love-of-god

[13] R. P. C. Hanson, God, pp. 37-38; Stott, The Cross of Christ, pp. 108-9.

[14] See Romans. 1:18; cf. 2:5, 8; 5:9; 9:22; Col. 3:6; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2:16; 5:9; Heb. 3:11; Rev. 6:16Ð17; 19:15). Wayne Grudem,

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine

, First Edition (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, Mich.: IVP, 1994), p. 206. Defining what is meant by God's wrath is important, but so is accepting the reality of God's wrath. There are several mentions of God's wrath in the New Testament passages that speak of God's wrath: Matthew 3:7; Mark 3:5; Luke 3:7; 21:33; John 3:36; Romans 1:18; 9:22; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:6; Revelation 6:16; 11:18; 14:10; 16:19; 19:15.

[15]http://www.academia.edu/24983385/A_Critical_and_Comparative_Analysis_Of_Recent_Contributions_Towards   

[16] http://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/the-bible-often-mentions-god-s-wrath-why-does-it-matter

[17] https://billmuehlenberg.com/2014/11/12/hating-sin-loving-holiness/

[18] goo.gl/xEQ9c6

[19] devangelise - verb (used with object)
1. to attempt to spread Christianity (evangelical or otherwise) so poorly that it has the opposite effect to what is intended.
2. to cause, or attempt to cause, someone to leave the Christian faith. verb (used without object)
3. to lose interest in the Christian faith.

 

[20] 1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God....16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.       NLT

[21] 1 Cor. 13:13 Three things will last forever--faith, hope, and love--and the greatest of these is love.           NLT

[22] 1 Cor. 13:4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud.                   NLT

[23] https://americanvision.org/1909/importance-of-psalm/



[i]

Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 4:

 22-23 Cf. 13:’3-5, 24-30.  God points out that he is the one who is going to expel the nations that are in the land, because he qûts, “loathes,” their de?ling practices. Qûts communicates deep feelings of repulsion met contempt produced by continuous irritation (cf. Gen 27:46; Num 21:5; 22:3.)

23.a. Some Hebrew manuscripts Samaritan Pentateuch , and versions have a plural noun; both the singular and plural appear in 18:24-30, especially, v 28.

23.b. The direct object appears before the verb for emphasis.

23.c. Masoretic Text *** is imperfect qal(stem) of qûts, "feel a loathing, sickening dread” (cf. Exod 1:12; Num 21:5, 22:3; 1Kgs 11:25; BDB, 880-81).

 


[ii]

Matthew Henry Commentary: Lev 20:23

The. Canaanites were to be expelled for these very sins:

'They committed all these things, therefore I abhorred them' V. 23. See what an evil thing sin is; it provokes God to abhor his own creatures, whereas otherwise he delights in the work of his hands. And, if the Israelites trod in the steps of their impiety, they must expect that the land would spue them out (v. 22), as he had told them before, ch. 18:28. If God spared not the natural

branches, but broke them off, neither would he spare those who were grafted in, if they degenerated. Thus the rejection of the Jews stands for a warning to all Christian churches to take heed lest the kingdom of God be taken from them. Those that sin like others must expect to smart like them: profession of relation to God will be no security to them.

Pett's Commentary:

They are to be careful not to behave like the nations who are already there, whom God will drive out before them. They in fact did all these things that he has forbidden to Israel. That is why God hated them, that is, had an aversion towards them because of their sinfulness.

Pulpit Commentary:

The fact of the nations of Canaan being abhorred by God because they committed all these things shows that the Levitical code forbidding all these things was no part of any special law for that nation alone, but a republication of that Law which is binding on all nations because written on the conscience. The prohibited degrees in the Book of Leviticus form a part of the moral, not of the ceremonial, law, and are, therefore, of permanent and universal, not only of temporary and national, obligation.

 


[iii]

Expositors Bible Commentary Psa. 5:4

l]. Af?rmation of God‘s Hatred of Evil (5:4—6)

4—6 Deeply ingrained in Israel’s belief system and developed in the wisdom literature is the conviction that, the God of Israel hates evil in any form. Whereas other religions brought together good and evil at the level of the gods, God had revealed that evil exists apart from him and yet, is under his sovereign control. The

religion of Israel was revelatory. The psalmist shows a clear conviction that God hates in the most radical way any form of evil and denies lawless persons any (present or future) right to his presence (v. '4). Whoever expects his own people to dissociate from evildoers (Psa 1:1-2; Amos 5:15) and encourages righteous and holy living (Pets 15:2-5; 24:4-6) cannot betray them by having a double standard himself.

 

The verbal phrases “[you are not a God] who takes pleasure” (hapes v. 4), "you hate” (sane'th a, v5),  and “[the LORD] abhors” (yeth a ‘eb v. 6) affirm three times God's absolute hatred of evil. In Malachi's days some argued that God “delights” in evildoers (Mal 2:17) But. in response, the Lord revealed how he will quickly judge unfaithful people as well as those who oppress the poor (Mal 3:5). Similarly, the negative statements "cannot dwell” and "cannot stand" (cf. 1:5) are complemented by the phrase "you destroy,” having the same root ('-b-d) as the verb

in 1:6: "but the way of the wicked will perish."

God hates both the sin and those who sin against him (V. 5). The particular sins are examples of a way of life. The liar is only a hairbreadth away from the murderer (v. 6). Though the liar may claim that he only goes so far with his deception. when he is caught, the liar is a dangerous man, because he may attempt

to cover his tracks. Deception and greed mark the man who is unfaithful to God and man; he is a potential candidate for murder. The "bloodthirsty" man is, therefore, not necessarily one who is guilty of murder, but one who no longer knows the limits between "mine" and "thine" and thus twists and perverts justice, even at the cost of human lives or dignity (cf. Isa 3:13—15; 5:8—10;Amos 6:12).

Instead of "taking pleasure” in evil, the Lord "abhors" all who practice wickedness.

Bible Knowledge Commentary:

 5:4-6. The psalmist expressed his con?dence in approaching a God who hates iniquity (evil). An evil person cannot dwell with such a God. People who are presumptuous and boastful, who do not shrink from murder or deceit, God hates and will destroy. They are totally detestable to Him.

Complete Commentary - John Trapp:

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity] Though they not only act it, but art it, polish and trim their sin, that it may seem less heinous, as hypocrites do, who hide their wickedness with no less subtle sleights than Rachel hid the idols, Rahab the spies. But God will detect and detest them.

Notes on the Bible - Albert Barnes:

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity - All that do wrong. He refers here, also, to a general characteristic of God, but still with an implied and immediate reference to his enemies as sustaining this character, and as a reason why he appealed to God to defend his cause. Nothing is more constantly affirmed in the Scriptures than that God hates all forms of evil.

Adam Clarke Commentary:

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity - Some sin now and then, others generally; some constantly, and some labor in it with all their might. These are the Workers of iniquity. Such even the God of infinite love and mercy hates. Alas! what a portion have the workers of iniquity! the hatred of God Almighty!

Exposition of the Bible - John Gill:

thou hatest all workers of iniquity; not all that have sin in them or do sin, for there are none without it; but such who give themselves up to work wickedness, who make it the business of their lives, and are slaves unto it, living in a continued series and course of impiety; and this character does not only belong to openly profane sinners, but to some professors of religion; see Mat_7:22; and these are the objects of God's hatred. Which does not so much intend any past act of his, the preterition or passing them by, when he chose others in his eternal purposes; in which sense the word is used in Rom_9:13, as his continued aversion to them, denying them his grace and favour, and rejecting them from all nearness to him and communion with him; and may include the everlasting punishment of them, by which his displicine and hatred will be made manifest: and he is impartial in it, without any respect to persons, high or low, rich or poor; indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, will come upon every soul of man that does evil. God's love to his own people was antecedent to sin, and was placed upon them in Christ, in whom their persons are always well pleasing to him; and though they sinned in Adam, and became actual transgressors of his law, yet such was his love to their persons, that he saves them from their sins by the blood and righteousness of his son.

The Biblical Illustrator:

Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

God’s hatred of sinners

Here is a plain declaration.

I. That God does hate the persons of impenitent sinners. It is often said that God hates sin, but not sinners. The point now to prove is, that God hates sinners themselves, as vile and odious creatures. It is allowed that God loves all that love Him, and it is equally true that He hates those who hate Him. The Old Testament abounds with passages in which God expresses His displeasure, His wrath, and His indignation towards sinners.

II. Why does God hate the persons of sinners? Many consider sin in the abstract, and God as hating it in the abstract. But who can conceive of sin without a sinner? Or of sin that no person ever committed? Every sin is a transgression of the law, and renders the transgressor both criminal and hateful. The transgression cannot be separated from the transgressor, any more than his reason, or conscience, or any other property or quality of his mind can be separated from him. The apostle represents sin as corrupting all the powers and faculties of sinners. This moral corruption of sinners he represents as rendering them vile and hateful, even in their own sight. Their evil hearts render their persons morally evil and hateful in the sight of God. It is holiness of heart that makes saints lovely, and the reverse is equally true of sinners.

III. How God’s hating the persons of sinners is consistent with His loving them. Some have attempted to evade this difficulty by supposing that all the Scripture says about the displeasure, the hatred, the wrath and anger of God, is to be understood figuratively; and that no such exercises or emotions of heart can exist in the mind of an absolutely perfect and immutable being. But to suppose that God does not really hate sinners is evading rather than solving the difficulty. Others say that God loves sinners themselves, and only hates their sins. But it is abundantly evident from Scripture that God does really and literally love and hate sinners at the same time. What kind of love does God exercise towards sinners? They are not proper objects of approbation or complacence, but of disapprobation and hatred. It is only the love of benevolence that God exercises towards totally depraved sinners. He loves all His creatures, whether rational or irrational. If He loves them with the love of benevolence, He cannot love them with the love of complacence. Benevolence hates selfish and sinful creatures, as much as it loves holy and virtuous creatures. Holiness in the Deity produces love to the holy, and hatred to the unholy. There are two things in sinners which render them objects of both love and hatred. Their capacity to enjoy happiness and suffer misery renders them proper objects of benevolence, and’ their sinful character renders them proper objects of displeasure, disapprobation, and hatred. God views them in both lights. His love towards them is benevolent love, and His hatred towards them is benevolent hatred. Improvement.

1. If God’s hatred of impenitent sinners is consistent with His love of benevolence towards them, then it is consistent with His benevolence to hate them as long as they continue impenitent.

2. If God loves and hates sinners in this world at all, then He loves and hates them more than any other being does in the universe.

3. If impenitent sinners themselves are as much the objects of God’s hatred as of His love, then it is very important that they should be made sensible of it.

4. If it be consistent with the benevolence of God towards sinners to hate them, then it is consistent with His benevolence to express His hatred towards them.

5. If God’s hatred of impenitent sinners flows from His benevolence, then His punishing them must flow from His benevolence.

6. If it be the benevolence of God that disposes Him to hate and punish impenitent sinners forever, then it is extremely absurd and dangerous for sinners to rely on His mere benevolence to save them in the eleventh and dying hour. This subject calls on all to inquire and determine whether they are saints or sinners. (N. Emmons, D. D)



[iv]

Preachers Complete Homletical Commentary:

John_3:36. The wrath of God abideth.—It is not specially meted out; it is there already, and simply remains for all who remain in their sins (Eph_2:3).

Vincent Word studies:

Abideth (µe´?e?)

The present tense. As the believer hath life, so the unbeliever hath wrath abiding on him. He lives continually in an economy which is alienated from God, and which, in itself, must be habitually the subject of God's displeasure and indignation.

F.B. Meyer - Through The Day:

Note the present tenses of the last two verses. They are as true today as when first uttered. Our eternity dates not from our dying moment, but from that in which we first trust in Jesus Christ. If you can do nothing else, be willing to trust Him as soon as He is revealed to you, and in the meanwhile obey Him; that path will bring you into the open.

Tenney:

“The word does not mean a sudden gust of passion or a burst of temper. Rather, it is the settled displeasure of God against sin. It is the divine allergy to moral evil, the reaction of righteousness to unrighteousness.”

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges:

the wrath of God] This phrase occurs nowhere else in the Gospels. It is the necessary complement of the love of God. If there is love for those who believe, there must be wrath for those who refuse to believe. Comp. Mat_3:7; Luk_3:7; Rom_1:18; Rom_9:22; Rom_12:19.

abideth] Not ‘shall come to him:’ this is his portion already. He is under a ban until he believes, and he refuses to believe: therefore the ban remains. He, like the believer, not only will have but has his portion; it rests with him also, whether the portion continues his. He has to struggle, not to avert a sentence, but to be freed from it.

The Companion Bible (E. W. Bullinger):

wrath = [permanent] wrath. Greek orge; as in Mat_3:7. Luk_3:7; 1Th_2:16, &c. Not thumos, which = [temporary] wrath.

abideth. Present tense. See note on Joh_1:32.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible:

The wrath of God - The anger of God for sin. His opposition to sin, and its terrible effects in this world and the next.

Abideth on him - This implies that he is “now” under the wrath of God, or under condemnation. It implies, also, that it will continue to remain on him.







 

Chapter 24. Holy Spirit's Work
Now let us take a look at the work of the beloved Holy Spirit. Does the Bible describe His role as telling of  God's great love for us?

Succinct sum up by Jesus:

John 16:7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.       NLT

 

Think about this.

Conviction is exposing your wrong thinking and actions. It is discipline by the Holy Spirit. It is not 'lovingly nice' of the Holy Spirit by our estimation.

Yet it is true love.

 

Notice that Jesus does not just say 'convict the world of sin?' He specifies the three important aspects or stages that a person needs to clearly understand in order to be truly saved. It is a mini gospel message:

Step 1 - convict of sin

Step 2 - show them the righteousness of God

Step 3 - show them the punishment of sin

 

But we want to emphasize to people how much God loves them and has a wonderful plan for their lives.

You can see that it is here in black & white. I am not making anything up or twisting Scripture.

But, we take away the clear Scripture, and dumb down the unpleasant parts, so the Holy Spirit cannot convict people!

In fact, much of the time, we are an obstacle to what God is trying to do in a person's life. True, when someone is suffering in some way, we rush in to tell them that God loves them, that they are special and God has a wonderful plan for their life. In the midst of their problems where God has an opportunity to break things down and reveal Himself, we rush in and remove any pain and suffering we can, protecting them from God's maturing work in their lives, with our 'Sunday school theology.'

 

 Let us look at a very brief summary, from the extensive study by Rev. Dr. Kevin Conner. He is a wonderful student of the Word and teacher:

 

The Foundations Of Christian Doctrine [1]:

B. The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer

The life of the believer follows that example of the Lord Jesus.

1. The new birth is brought about by the Spirit.

2. The Spirit indwells the believer's spirit.

3. The Spirit gives assurance of salvation.

4. The Spirit fills the believer with Himself.

5. The Spirit, by the baptism in the Spirit.

6. The Spirit speaks to the believer.

7. The Spirit opens the believer's understanding to the things of God.

8. The Spirit teaches the believer, and guides him into all truth.

9. The Spirit imparts life.

10. The Spirit brings about renewal.

11. The Spirit strengthens the believer's inner being.

12. The Spirit enables the believer to pray.

13. The Spirit enables the believer to worship in spirit and in truth.

14. The Spirit leads the believer.

15. The Spirit enables the believer to put fleshly deeds to death.

16. The Spirit produces Christ-likeness in character and fruit in the believer's life.

17. The Spirit gives a calling to the believer for special service.

18. The Spirit guides believers into their ministry.

19. The Spirit empowers the believer to witness.

20. The Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to the believers as He wills.

21. The Spirit will bring about the resurrection and immortality to the believers bodies in the last day.

 

4. The Holy Spirit performs personal acts:

a. The Spirit works

b. The Spirit searches

c. The Spirit speaks

d. The Spirit testifies

e. The Spirit bears witness

f. The Spirit teaches

g. The Spirit instructs

h. The Spirit reproves

i. The Spirit prays and makes intercession

j. The Spirit leads

k. The Spirit guides the believer into all truth

1. The Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ

m. The Spirit brings about regeneration

n. The Spirit strives with men

o. The Spirit convicts men

p. The Spirit sends messengers from God

q. The Spirit calls men into ministry

r. The Spirit directs men in the service of Christ

s. The Spirit also imparts spiritual gifts to the members of the Body of Christ[2]

 

Of course the Holy Spirit does everything in love, we know that, but it is not the kind of ‘love’ that we attribute to Him.

He administers all God does for man in love, but we do not see any emphasis at all on telling or giving some kind of kindly love in the way we speak of it today.

On the contrary, by our new traditions, the Holy Spirit is ‘not very Christ-like’ or even very nice:

He wants to:

‘convict (discipline) the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment’          John 16:7

 

“Thank you Father for Your most precious gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth. To discipline and help us grow in You.

Thank you most precious Holy Spirit for all you do.”

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x Holy Spirit's work = no emphasis on telling man of God's love for them at all.

 

 

 

 


 

Chapter 25. Acts Preaching
We saw that Jesus commissioned the disciples to:

"Go and make disciples . . . baptizing them . . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you . . . remember, I am with you . . ."

 

And then when we observe what the disciples then did as apostles in Acts, we find that they copied this command. They did NOT go and preach that 'God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.'

 

Some years ago, I wanted to know this for myself, so I went through the book of Acts and noted down every instance of the apostles preaching, teaching or sharing with unbelievers and believers, to look for each time that they spoke of 'God's love for you.'

I found there were 45 instances of preaching and NOT one instance even mentioned God's love.

That is: 0 - 45

This is the meme I put on Facebook to highlight our error:


As I was finishing this book, a friend I had been talking with, sent this to me:

W.E. Best – Born Again Phenomenon:

The book of Acts records all the missionary journeys of the apostles, the establishment of many local assemblies (churches), and Peter’s famous sermon on the day of Pentecost. Not once in the entire book is anything said about God loving you and Christ dying for you. [3]    (Emph. added)

 

Best makes a correct observation about what the apostles preached in the book of Acts.  Better than I, he even observed that the apostles did not declare that ‘Christ died for you’.  The apostles were fully Christ-focused, not man-focused, with God serving us, as we are.

Mike Perry also makes this observation:

In all of Paul’s travellings in Acts, and his letters, and Peter as well – not once did they say to any individual ‘God loves you’ not once!

 

Look how Paul typically shares the gospel:

Acts 10:42  "He commanded us to preach to the people and to warn them that he is the one appointed by God as judge of the living and the dead."                                                NET

Acts 24:25  While Paul was discussing righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for now, and when I have an opportunity, I will send for you."               NET

 

Paul preached on righteousness, self-control, and the coming judgment in a way that frightened Felix?

Why do we consider such a thing to be wrong and that 'we might scare people off if we do that?'

Because we believe in this over-emphasis on God's love for us, we try to get them in the church first, and then later tell them the harder things. That is NOT what Jesus did. Jesus preached the hard things and as a result, those who refused to die to self would not accept His word and not come in.


What are we declaring the Gospel to be?

Sadly, quite a lot of what will just get them in.

If we care to admit it, we do think that 'we just have to get them in and have them make some confession of faith’ and that's enough. Next!

And if anyone says anything about your sin being vile to a holy God and it causes a new prospect to back off, they are scolded because they have done the wrong thing and chased that person away.

 

Peter, is a friend who founded Go the Extra Mile which unapologetically raised money for Christian missions.  A ‘good’ Christian leader from one of our ‘good’ churches came to Peter and advised him to dumb down the clear declaration on the website of it being a Christian charity because 'if you do, you will get a lot more people in.' Peter refused to do it.

Just like what the Church does. It ‘dumbs down’ the true message and required commands, while preaching God's love, just to get more in. And to keep them in.

No wonder the Western Church is full of unbelievers - those who came in because ‘God loved them so much,’ but their sin was never dealt with.

It reminds me of the young couple with the Children of God sect, I met in the 1970's. They told me that they used sex to get people in. Really! We are not much better and the result is virtually the same - a Church full of ‘Christianize non-Christians.’

We preach all the advantages of being a Christian - that's preaching idolatry! We are to be telling people that they have sinned against the Holy God of the universe and need to repent.

We must introduce people to the Holy Creator and Divine Judge, so that they recognize their sin, repent and are saved. If we emphasize God's love for them, they come in to be loved by God, this is a selfish reason. It could well be argued that this is a form of idolatry - 'self wants to be loved by the Great God' but not serve God.

Why do we think preaching God’s love is the basis of our evangelism when the apostles did NOT? Think about that! Why have we made it the major element in evangelizing?

We need to completely overhaul our evangelism mentality, tactics and gospel tracts.

 

Consider the words of J. M. Boice:


Yes, that is a far more Biblical perspective.

Can you now see that this is NOT what the Bible tells us to do? God specifically told us to preach 'repentance.'

 

David Pawson states this:

'Christians in the New Testament only talked about God’s love among themselves; that neither Jesus nor the apostles ever preached it publicly'[4]

 

Christians ‘talked about it among themselves’.

Just like in John 3:16; and ‘God is love’ and ‘lavished His love on us’ in 1 John, is John writing to ‘the church’.

 

No, when you share the gospel with an unbeliever, don't tell them that God loves them(unless maybe they are a very broken person) that only reduces your effectiveness and encourages that person to 'buy into a good deal' something that is focused on them rather than on the Holy Gracious God.

Tell them about the great Creator God who is totally holy, who calls them to repent of their rejection of  Him, and the evil things they do daily. God was so good that He even sent the Only possible sacrifice that could save mankind – His only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

CONCLUSION:

x Acts preaching = no mention of preaching God's love for you.

Chapter 26. Paul's 'Important Points’ - Gospel
Did Paul Preach God's Love?

No, he basically taught repentance, just as he reminded the leaders of the church at Ephesus:

Acts 20:20 As I drew back nothing being Essential, not declared to you, and to Teach you publicly, and even in homes, 21 Testifying both to the Jews and also the Gentiles Repentance toward God and Faith of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Pure Word

 

He emphasized the rulership of God:

Acts 28:23 And when they assigned him a day, there were many more now coming to him to whom he was Expounding in the lodging, emphasizing the Kingdom Rule of God, and also Persuading them about Jesus, both from the Law of Moses, and the Prophets from early in the morning until after the evening hour…... 

31 Preaching the Kingdom Rule of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, no one forbidding.                      The Pure Word

 

23 expounding, testifying fully the reign of God,

31 preaching the reign of God

 Young's Literal Translation

23  he explained the Reign of God to them

31 preached the Reign of God

                                              Moffat’s NT

 

There are only 32 times that I could find that Paul mentions God's love for us.  He did not preach or teach about the love of God for us, as a subject or a teaching of  itself.

Here are a few examples of Paul mentions:

In a general letter greeting:

Rom. 1:7 To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.                                                      NIV

 

While describing growth through perseverance:

Rom. 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.                                                                NIV

 

Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.                                         NIV

 

While speaking of joyful victory in persecution and love for one another:

Phil. 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion..     NIV

 

While speaking of walking in unity:

Col. 3:12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.                                       NIV

 

As part of the salutations or Christian greeting in a letter:

1Thess. 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you         NIV

 

Included in his request for them to stand firm in the faith:

2Thess. 2:16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope…                                                   NIV

 

In a description of how God had taken us from a sinful life and washed us clean for Himself:

Tit. 3:4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared…                       NIV

 

Do you notice how these are all ‘a mention’, when speaking on another subject?

 

The complete list of 32 instances are in the endnotes here[i]

 

What Did Paul State Were The More Important Aspects Of The Gospel?:

1Cor. 15:1  My friends, I want you to remember the message that I preached and that you believed and trusted. 2  You will be saved by this message, if you hold firmly to it. But if you don't, your faith was all for nothing. 3  I told you the most important part of the message exactly as it was told to me. That part is: Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say. 4  He was buried, and three days later he was raised to life, as the Scriptures say.

5  Christ appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.

6  After this, he appeared to more than five hundred other followers. Most of them are still alive, but some have died. 7  He also appeared to James, and then to all of the apostles.

 

Nothing about God's love for us, let alone 'great' love for us and ‘a wonderful plan for our lives.’

 

To Timothy, Paul also says:

1Tim. 2:4  God wants everyone to be saved and to know the whole truth, which is, 

5  There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and he gave himself to rescue all of us. 6  God showed us this at the right time.   CEV

 

The 'whole truth' that Paul states here, that he puts in it's barest form, does not include what we believe to be THE most foundational truth - God loves us.

Why?

 

And in the next chapter, Paul describes the 'Great Mystery' of our religion:

1Tim. 3:16  Here is the great mystery of our religion: Christ came as a human. The Spirit proved that he pleased God, and he was seen by angels. Christ was preached to the nations. People in this world put their faith in him, and he was taken up to glory.     CEV

 

And in the next chapter, Paul says to Timothy:

1Tim. 4:6  If you teach these things to other followers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus. You will show that you have grown up on the teachings about our faith and on the good instructions you have obeyed.    CEV

 

So, Paul in this letter of instruction for Timothy doing pastoral work, says nothing about 'God loves you' as part of the instruction for Timothy or for his congregation. But says 'If you teach these things to other followers, you will be a good servant of Christ' and ' You will show that you have grown up on the teachings about our faith.'

 

The only reference to God's love in this letter, was in the introduction(1:14) where Paul mentions only, that God loves him.

There are however, about 24 verses where Paul says something that is hard or unpleasant - you know, the kind of things that would provoke a reaction from us like 'well, that's not a very nice thing to say' or 'that was unnecessary' or ' we need to encourage people' or 'we need to be more Christ-like'. Ignoring of course, the fact that Paul was being completely Christ-like in this way. Which is unlike us. 

Let us look briefly at those 24 harsh or unpleasant things that Paul says, so that you get a clear idea of how you have believed a lie about how much the Bible says that God loves us, but at the same time, have failed to see not-nice things clearly stated.

 

I will use the NIV for these because so many people use that version, so these are the very words they read but do not see:

1Tim. 1:3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer

1Tim. 1:7 They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm.

1Tim. 1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

1Tim. 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.

1Tim. 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

1Tim. 2:9 I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,

1Tim. 2:11 A woman should learn in quietness and full submission.

1Tim. 2:12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

1Tim. 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

1Tim. 4:11 Command and teach these things.

1Tim. 5:6 But the widow who lives for pleasure is dead even while she lives.

1Tim. 5:8 If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

1Tim. 5:9 No widow may be put on the list of widows unless she is over sixty, has been faithful to her husband, 10 and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the saints, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.

1Tim. 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.

1Tim. 5:20 Those who sin are to be rebuked publicly, so that the others may take warning.

21 I charge[command] you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism.

1Tim. 6:4 he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

1Tim. 6:9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

1Tim. 6:13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge[command] you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

1Tim. 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.                                                                      NIV

Paul does a lot of commanding here, that would not be tolerated by Christians these days.

How gutless and weak we are, especially pastors and elders.

He hands people over to Satan to be taught a lesson(that too sounds very much like the 'God of the OT').

He would be sacked today, by us, the gutless, politically correct Christians of the 21st century.

 

Consider the words of Dr Michael Brown who wrote about the weakness of pastors recently in an article titled:

Too Few Pastors Spoke Up. It’s the Real Reason We’re in This Mess Today

 

...But I am talking about pastors and leaders becoming prophetic. I am talking about us speaking the truth in love, regardless of cost or consequence. Confronting sin in the church as well as in the society. Conforming to the image of God rather than the image of the world. Concentrating on obedience more than relevance, on pleasing God more than entertaining people...

I’ve had publishers tell me, “Your book is great, but we can’t possibly touch it.”

I’ve had PR firms tell me, “This is too hot a topic for us today.”

I’ve had major Christian ministries say, “There’s no way we can go near this. It’s way too controversial.”..Yet so much of this has happened because the Church has been largely silent.[5]

Emph. added

 

Continuing on with Paul.

He tells women to be submissive and generalizes terribly by saying that women with free time are prone to gossiping. Whoa! That would tear our snowflake churches apart, sending people scuttling off in all directions in search of their ‘safe places.’ (I make no comment on the two sides of the debate about women preaching in the Church, I only highlight some things Paul said that would not be tolerated today.) Women would leave (along with a bunch of sissy men whose main aim in life is to protect the rights of every seemingly victimized group, rather than confront the affront to God.) Paul would be condemned for being so sexist and so offensive. Oh, and not being 'like Christ.'

 

To those who sin, he says to rebuke in public.

We are virtually forbidden from rebuking a sinner in private, but he says do it in public. This is now the ultimate sin in the modern Church. We are far, far from this

He confesses to being the worst of sinners, which by our measure is so negative - putting himself down and failing to understand how special he is, which might offend someone who struggles with a low self-esteem. 

 

And then Paul says that some are conceited and ignorant. That is, those:

1Tim 6:3  . . .people will teach what is false and will not agree with the true teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

That is you.

Paul is speaking to us. We change the true teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ and replace it with a Sola Affectus gospel. We teach and push things that are not in the Bible. Paul is speaking to us.

 

So, getting back to the original question - why is God's love missing from what Paul preaches, when we believe it is so very important?

The simplest answer and a reasonable assumption surely would have to be that, either, Christians do not read their Bible or they are so conditioned by the traditions of men, that they cannot even see what is written in black and white. Even most pastors.

Or they are people who know the truth but dishonestly push a 'nice gospel' just to get more people into their church. Oh, what lengths we will go to, to get more people into 'MY' church.

 

Beware pastors and church leaders.  

People, beware of your leaders, of pastors who give up on obeying their conscience in the seemingly small things. They are far more likely to sin in greater things simply because their hardened heart is less restrained over all.

2Cor. 4:4  The god who rules this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers. They cannot see the light, which is the good news about our glorious Christ, who shows what God is like. 5  We are not preaching about ourselves. Our message is that Jesus Christ is Lord. He also sent us to be your servants. 

 

Paul preaches 'Lord’, not ‘love'.

Yet, we preach ‘love’ and ‘barely Lord’. Why?

We have believed the god of this world and dumbed it down to become 'more acceptable' to the masses. You may find it hard to accept, but that is why. We reject the nagging doubts, because surely it could not be wrong, everyone else does it too, even the pastors.

 

Moving on, Paul says he is called to do what?:

Rom. 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life was a descendant of David, 4 and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. 5 Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.                    NIV

 

Again, nothing about God's love for us.

And further on in verse 16, Paul says it is this gospel that saves:

Rom. 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

 

So, we do not come to God because He loves us and accepts us, we come to repent and die to self - a life dedicated to God.

And in verse 17 we are told it is by faith (not just a 'relationship with God'. )  

Rom 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

 

Oh, how we are fixated on 'a relationship with God'. We love to elevate it as the only really important thing or the most important aspect of being a Christian.

We reject the idea of having a 'church-going head knowledge' but go on and live that very way, even with a little daily prayer and Bible reading thrown in  - it allows us to live relatively freely from any real demands. We do not really have to give up sin and BE holy, we watch filth and rubbish on TV, we hold onto the unforgiveness as long as it is not obvious to others etc.......

Where is it really at for Paul?:

1 Cor. 2:1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

 

We need to be like Paul and resolve to know nothing else and preach nothing else, not even 'love' but Christ and Him crucified.

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x What Paul said were the important points of the gospel = no emphasis on God's love for us at all but a certain emphasis on repentance , the rulership of God and Christ crucified..

 

 


Again, yes God love us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other essential attributes and realities of God.

See how Scripture does not show an emphasis on God's love for us, unlike what we ‘sort of, kind of remember’ it does.

 

 

 


 

Chapter 27. Basic Doctrines Of Hebrews 6
The outlined doctrines of Hebrews 6 are often held up as the basic doctrines to be taught to new Christians.

What do they tell us about this question?

 

Heb. 6:1  Therefore we must progress beyond the elementary instructions about Christ and move on to maturity, not laying this foundation again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2  teaching about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.                                                                   Net Bible

God's love for us is not even mentioned here - it is less than a basic teaching. Hear that? Less than elementary teachings. It is so basic that it is not even listed in the baby food section.

 

But we keep going back to it, over and over again - it's an addiction.

Even when we are not talking or preaching specifically about God's love for us, we keep coming back to it, when we preach about most everything else - troubles, trials, worship, servanthood, church, ministry......

This is not discipleship! Discipleship challenges people to grow up. This is weekly therapy for those whom you want to keep coming.

We somehow came to the strange belief that everyone is fragile and must be handled with kid gloves. Jesus and Paul did not. Yes indeed, we have been ‘conformed to this world’ and it’s ‘victim mentality.’

 

We are teaching things to our people, even those 50 years in the faith; that is less than the most basic foundations.

We think we are spiritual people, but we teach and dwell on things that are lesser than the ‘milk of the Word.’ We expect this 'Sunday school theology' to grow them in Christ and maturity?

 

We need to do what the next verse tells us:

Heb. 6:3  Let's grow up, if God is willing.   CEV

 

And that means the pastors and leaders, before we even think about the congregation.

 

CONCLUSION:

x Basic doctrines of Hebrews 6 = no mention of God's love for us, let alone an over-emphasis.

Chapter 28. Early Church Fathers
Let's look at, just the early Church Fathers’ writings to see if they taught of 'God's great love for us.'

Obviously, these writings are not Scripture and many of the Church Fathers had some less than evangelical positions, but it will give us an idea of how important they thought this kind of thinking was.

 

The Apostolic Fathers:

Clement of Rome, Mathetes, Polycarp, Ignatius, Barnabas, Papias (95–120AD), Justin Martyr, Irenaeus:

 

·       Clement                                                         80-140AD

·       Letters of Ignatius of Antioch             105–115AD

·       Polycarp to the Philippians                110 –140AD

·       Letter of Barnabas                                    80-120 AD

·       Martyrdom of Polycarp                        150-160 AD

·       Letter of Mathetes to Diognetus       130-200 AD

·       The Didache                                                 50-120 AD

 

I bought Early Christian Writings, a book of these writings many years ago.

It has 199 pages. When I remove all the pages of the introduction of the book, the background descriptions of these works, added notes, maps and blank divider pages, we are left with 125 pages.

 

I have not gone through these works meticulously to find all references to God's love for us, but I did a basic word search on the term 'love' and read the context of each, to find those related to God's love. 

 

1 in 125: Out of the volume of these writings - 125 pages of small text,  all that I could find was one reference to God's love for us:

 

Letter of Clement to the Corinthians:

CHAPTER 49 -- THE PRAISE OF LOVE.

Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love bears all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls[6].

 

So even for the Early Church Fathers, the rate seems to be around: 1 in 125 = 0.8%

That rather simplistic method of calculation gives us a similar percentage to the NT occurrences - which was 1.1%.

 

What about  The Didache?

 

The Didache also known as ‘The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles’ 50-120AD, is a brief anonymous early Christian treatise, dated by most modern scholars to the first century.

It outlines the basic rules for the Christian way of life:

 

The Didache:

Chapter 1. The Two Ways and the

                       First Commandment. 

Chapter 2. The Second Commandment:

                       Grave Sin Forbidden. 

Chapter 3. Other Sins Forbidden. 

Chapter 4. Various Precepts. 

 Chapter 5. The Way of Death. 

Chapter 6. Against False Teachers,

                       and Food Offered to Idols. 

Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. 

Chapter 8. Fasting and Prayer

                       (the Lord's Prayer). 

Chapter 9. The Eucharist. 

Chapter 10. Prayer after Communion. 

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers,

                       Apostles, and Prophets. 

Chapter 12. Reception of Christians. 

Chapter 13. Support of Prophets. 

Chapter 14. Christian Assembly on

                       the Lord's Day. 

Chapter 15. Bishops and Deacons;

                       Christian Reproof. 

Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming

                       of the Lord. 


Again, these writings and teachings are not Scripture, but they give us a general idea of 1st century Christianity.

 

Most certainly there is no emphasis on God's love for us, it is not even mentioned, but there is plenty about our responsibilities, just like Scripture.

 

The Didache = 0%

 

 

 

CONCLUSION:

x  Apostolic Fathers = No emphasis on God’s love for us.

 

 

 

 


 

Chapter 29. Church History
Here are just a few thoughts from prominent preachers and scholars through-out Church History:

 

Notice here that Ignatius while mentioning God's love for us twice, then goes on to warn of mixing our own ideas of who Jesus is with heresy/poison.

The very thing we do.

 

THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS - (c. 35 – c. 107)

TO THE TRALLIANS

CHAPTER 6

ABSTAIN FROM THE POISON OF HERETICS

 

I therefore, yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ, entreat you that ye use Christian nourishment only, and abstain from herbage of a different kind; I mean heresy. For those [that are given to this] mix up Jesus Christ with their own poison, speaking things which are unworthy of credit, like those who administer a deadly drug in sweet wine, which he who is ignorant of does greedily take, with a fatal pleasure leading to his own death.

I therefore, yet not I, out of the love of Jesus Christ, “entreat you that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” For there are some vain talkers and deceivers, not Christians, but Christ-betrayers, bearing about the name of Christ in deceit, and “corrupting the word” of the Gospel; while they intermix the poison of their deceit with their persuasive talk, as if they mingled aconite with sweet wine, that so he who drinks, being deceived in his taste by the very great sweetness of the draught, may incautiously meet with his death. One of the ancients gives us this advice, “Let no man be called good who mixes good with evil.” For they speak of Christ, not that they may preach Christ, but that they may reject Christ; and they speak of the law, not that they may establish the law, but that they may proclaim things contrary to it.[7]

 

Yes, we preach a 'nice' Christ who is all caring in order to reject his wrath. We do indeed preach 'another' Jesus and reject the divine Jesus.


1600's


1700's


1800's


1792 - 1875

 

"The man whose little sermon is ‘repent’ sets himself against his age, and will for the time being be battered mercilessly by the age whose moral tone he challenges. There is but one end for such a man – ‘off with his head!’ You had better not try to preach repentance until you have pledged your head to heaven."

Joseph Parker (English preacher,1830 – 1902)

 

 

1829 - 1912


 

1829 – 1890

 

1856 –1892

Charles H. Spurgeon:

"Learn, then, that if you take Christ out of Christianity, Christianity is dead. If you remove grace out of the gospel, the gospel is gone. If the people do not like the doctrine of grace, give them all the more of it! Whenever its enemies rail at a certain kind of gun, a wise military power will provide more of such artillery. A great general, going in before his king, stumbled over his own sword. "I see," said the king, "your sword is in the way." The warrior answered, "Your majesty's enemies have often felt the same." That our gospel offends the King's enemies is no regret to us."

 

 

1862-1935


 

1865-1942

J. D. Jones said, “All the calls of the gospel are calls to hardship, to sacrifice, to battle. Christ would have no man follow him under the delusion that he was going to have an easy time of it.”


1886- 1952

"The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from Hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived,

for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness."

A.W. Pink

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