GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

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mayflower
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Lid geworden op: 23 Sep 2004, 08:19

GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

Berichtdoor mayflower » 09 Jul 2008, 09:22

Here are 3 articels were it explains the "hatred of God". Iam posting this, because for a further explanation on the topic we hath "God haat de verworpenen".
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GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

In What Sense Does God Hate Esau & Love Jacob?

by BOB L. ROSS

C. H. Spurgeon —

"As for our Arminian brethren, it is wonderful to see how they hammer away at the ninth of Romans; steam-hammers and screw-jacks are nothing to their appliances for getting rid of election from that chapter. We have all been guilty of racking Scripture more or less, and it will be well to have done with the evil forever. We had better far be inconsistent with ourselves than with the inspired word. I have been called an Arminian Calvinist or a Calvinistic Arminian, and I am quite content so long as I can keep close to my Bible." [from Heart-Disease Curable, MTP Vol 27, Year 1881, pg. 346, Isaiah 61:1]
Please open your Bible —> read and study Romans 9:9-18

DOCTRINE

The context in which the word "hated" is here used can leave no doubt in the reader's mind as to what is being taught: namely, that God has elected some to Himself ...and reprobated others — that is, rejected them and fitted them to damnation.
Paul's questions anticipate the very objections heard today to the same doctrine —
(vs. 14): "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid."

(vs. 15): "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy."
Paul does not do as objectors would do — "explain away" the strong force of these words — but appeals to the sovereign will of God as an answer to the question.

(vs. 19): "Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?"
This is the very objection that we continually hear from Arminian ["theologically" — not the Russian province] sources: "If God does such-and-such a thing to men, why does He condemn them?" That is the same cavil that Paul answered as follows:
(vs. 20): "Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why has thou made me thus?"

Paul deemed it a sufficient answer in reminding the vain caviller of his utter insignificance and the glorious Sovereignty of God who does what He will with His own. Christ asserts this same principle in Matthew 20:15, where He teaches the parable of the laborers and the vineyard. He answers the objector by saying:

"Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good."

This illustrates election, "for many be called but few chosen" [Matthew 20:16]. If He intended to teach by the parable that man's works makes the difference, then He certainly set forth a confusing parable; for notice, the laborers went into the vineyard at different hours, yet Christ did not reward one more than the other. The caviller thought He should have done so. This He meets with the sovereignty of God.
DEFINITION

Now, let us examine the word "HATE" (Greek — miseo).

The word comprehends two chief thoughts —

(1) rejection, and (2) results or actions toward the object rejected.

It should be understood that the word does NOT refer to passion, but it comprehends the evil passion of man as a motive for his rejection of the person or thing rejected. Illustration: John 3:20 — "For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."

The thing rejected here is Christ, who is called the light (a metaphor). The action or result of this rejection is their not coming to the light, Christ Jesus. The motive back of the rejection is man's passion or love for evil, called darkness.

Let us notice an illustration where evil passion is NOT a motive for rejection: Luke 14:26 — "If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Christ is here emphasizing that if a man's own family would hinder him from following Christ, he must part with them. He uses the term "hate." This term, as I have stated, means that the individual is to reject his family in preference to Christ, and to depart from that family, if necessary, to follow Christ. This does not involve evil passion.

It has been said by many Arminians that the term hate means "love less." But why should a man love his family less, now that he is a follower of Jesus Christ? When the Arminian was "saved," did that mean that he now loved his family less? I dare say he will not say so! If there were any change in the man at all, he would have loved his family more. But if they did not follow Christ, he would have to reject them and depart their company, if that were necessary.

Another illustration: John 12:25 — "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal." Certainly, the word here does not involve evil passion. It simply means that one is to reject a life of serving self, and lose his life in the service of God. And this, Christ says, is finding the life, keeping it unto life eternal.

It could not mean that we are simply to love our sinful life less than at some time in the past, for we are forbidden in God's moral law to love self at all. David said in Psalms 139:21-22 — "Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies."

This was not a passionate hatred, arising from the evil nature of a man, but it was a definite rejection by David of the wicked, and the result being that he counted them his enemies.

So when hatred is passionate, it arises from the evil nature of man; when it is godly, or righteous, or as David says, "perfect," it arises from a definite motive of love for God and the determination to please Him.

ROMANS 9:13

"As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."

Now for the word as in Romans 9:13. Here it is God's hatred that is the subject. We know, then, that this hatred is not motivated by any unholy principle, but God's rejection of Esau and the results of that rejection are attributed by Paul to the sovereign choice of God.
Let us notice when the rejection took place: "(For the children being not yet born, nether having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." [Romans 9:11-13]

In what manner was Esau the servant of Jacob? NOTICE —

(1) All the rights of the firstborn were transferred from Esau to Jacob [Genesis 27:27-34]

(2) Esau had to leave the land of Canaan, when the riches of both Jacob and Esau were so great that they could not live together (Genesis 30:6-8) and Esau dwelt at Mount Seir, or Edom, fathering the nation of Edomites.

(3) The blessing of the father, Isaac, as recorded in Genesis 27, was stolen from Esau by Jacob, causing both Esau and his father, Isaac, sorrow, but fulfilling the purpose of God (Genesis 27:34-41). In Genesis 27:37 we read, "Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept." And in vs. 40 — "And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother."

Notice that Esau hated Jacob, motivated by evil passion, because God had given the blessings to Jacob — "And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob." [Genesis 27:41].

So also do the non-elect today hate the chosen of God because we have the blessing of free grace, without our own merits, and you who strive to have the blessing by your efforts, cannot obtain it! So you hate us!

There are other things which could be noted that reveal how Esau was the servant of Jacob. But Malachi 1:1-5, which looks back upon the whole posterity of Esau, very well covers the matter —

"The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the Lord of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever. And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel."

These illustrations in Romans 9 clearly reveal that God elects some and rejects others as an act of His sovereignty, not because of men's works. Notice in verse 24 that his teaching does not merely apply to Jews, as some foolish cavillers and perverters have asserted, but the vessels of wrath and vessels of mercy are "not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles."
Laatst gewijzigd door mayflower op 09 Jul 2008, 09:27, 1 keer totaal gewijzigd.

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Re: GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

Berichtdoor mayflower » 09 Jul 2008, 09:23

JACOB I HAVE LOVED,
BUT ESAU I HAVE HATED"
Romans 9:13

GOOD NEWS FROM THE REDEEMER

November 2, 2003 MESSAGE #500

I. Objections to the truth "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Few if any texts in all the Holy Scriptures are as objectionable in the eyes of many as this one.

1. Some object that "hated" does not mean hated. They aver instead that "hated" means loved less. They usually use for the "proof text" the requirement set forth by Jesus Christ in Luke 14:26: "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." They compare this to the parallel text, Matthew 10:37: "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." They deduce from these texts that Christ does not require His disciples to "hate" other people. Rather, they aver, Christ requires them to love those other persons less than they love Him. Accordingly, they would change Romans 9:13 so that it would read, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have loved less"; or, "Jacob I have loved, and Esau I have loved, but not as much as Jacob."

They err! When God speaks of hatred, he means "to hate", not "to love less". But we need to realize that hatred is manifested in two different ways. The first is positive hatred, which has for its object sin and sinners, and manifests itself in showing to them the abhorrence they justly deserve (as in Psalm 5:4-6; 7:11-16; 11:5- 7; 139:22). The second is negative hatred, which may have for its object anyone, and manifests itself in neglecting or bypassing such a person in favor of someone else.

This second meaning is that which applies in Luke 14:26. To hate relatives and friends and self in order to come to Christ as a disciple means only to forsake everything in order to embrace Him as Master. Christ therefore adds in the context, "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has [in an act of negative hatred] cannot be My disciple." (v.33).

They who would change "hated" to "loved less" in Romans 9:13 would do great violence to Holy Scriptures if their principle were applied elsewhere. For example, it is said of God in Hebrews 1:9, "You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness." But if "hated" means "loved less", this text may read, "You have loved lawlessness, but less than righteousness." (See the same misapplication in also Psalm 97:10; 119:113, 163; Ecclesiastes 3:8; Isaiah 61:8; Amos 5:15; Micah 3:2.)

Furthermore, he who takes to himself the right to change "hated" to "loved less" must in turn grant to others the right to change "loved" to "hated less". Accordingly, our present text would read not only "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have loved less," but also "Esau I have hated, but Jacob I have hated less."

Words mean things! When God says, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated," He means exactly what He says. He does not mean "Esau I have loved less." His sentiments toward Jacob and Esau respectively are exact opposites.

2. Some object that "Esau" does not mean Esau. Some of these say God did not hate the person Esau, but rather the sins of Esau, because they believe "God hates sin, but loves the sinner." This contradicts Scriptural statements such as "You hate all workers of iniquity" (Psalm 5:5), not merely their works.

Others object to any intimation that God hates one person while loving another person. They therefore reject the doctrine of God choosing one person to be the object of His love and to be the recipient of His spiritual and eternal blessings, but leaving another person to be the object of His hate. But they accept the doctrine of God choosing one nation to be the object of His love and to be the recipient of His material and temporal blessings, but leaving another nation to be the object of his hate. They recognize that the nation Israel descended from Jacob (Genesis 45:8ff), and that the nation Edom descended from Esau (Genesis 36:1ff), and that God loved Israel but hated Edom (Malachi 1:1-5). Therefore, having found what is to them a great malady in the statement "Esau I have hated"; they would cure it by having the statement to read instead "Edom I have hated."

Their proposed remedy is worse than the supposed malady! What is a nation but a body of persons! If they object to God hating one person such as Esau, they should object all the more to God hating all the persons in Esau's nation!

Their proposed remedy also violates the context of our present text. When God speaks of Jacob and Esau, He refers to the two children - not nations - who had been twins in the womb of Rebecca (vv.10-12; cp. Genesis 25:20-28). And when God elsewhere says, "Jacob I have loved; but Esau I have hated" (Malachi 1:2f), He identifies of whom He speaks by asking, "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?"

Furthermore, the subject of the context of the present text is indeed personal election to spiritual and eternal blessings, not merely national election to material and temporal blessings. In the immediate context, Paul was proving that "the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls" (v.11). In the broader context, he declares that the nation Israel under the Old Covenant was comprised of national children of God, and that this nation had been loved by God above all other nations; but all those of Israel who rejected His gospel would not be His spiritual children, and would be hated by Him instead (9:1-8; 10:1-4). On the other hand, he declares that many people of the unloved nations, and who were not national children of God, would through believing the gospel become His spiritual children, objects indeed of His saving love (9:25-31). All rejecters of the gospel, whether Jew or Gentile, are hated as "vessels of wrath prepared for destruction"; but all believers of the gospel, whether Jew or Gentile, are loved as "vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles" (9:22-24).

II. Proofs of the truth "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." The only proof required by children of God is the fact that God said so. However, because this is not enough for others, we here present some historical evidence.

1. God blessed Jacob over Esau. God in eternity decreed, and in time declared, even while these twins were in their mother's womb, "The older [Esau] shall serve the younger [Jacob]" (vv.10-12). In fulfillment of this prophecy, God permitted Jacob to obtain Esau's birthright (Genesis 25:29-33) and blessing (27:1-38) - including mastery over Esau (25:37). And God spared Jacob from Esau's malevolent intention to kill him (27:41-45).

2. God blessed Jacob with privileges He withheld from Esau.

i. God blessed Jacob at Bethel to behold Him, and to receive from Him the unconditional promise of both personal and national blessings in both the physical and spiritual realms (28:10-17).

ii. God at Bethel confirmed to Jacob the Messianic prophecy previously made to Abraham (22:18) and confirmed to Isaac (26:4), that "in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (28:14).

iii. God at Mahanaim blessed Jacob by sending a host of angels to protect him (32:1f).

iv. God at the brook Jabbok blessed Jacob to behold Him face to face and to prevail against Him in prayer (32:22-32).

v. God blessed Jacob by sending Christ His Angel to redeem him from all evil (48:15f).

vi. God blessed Jacob by permitting him at death to be gathered with his fathers Abraham and Isaac (49:29-33) – in whose presence Christ says Jacob is, in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 8:11).

vii. God blessed Jacob by repeatedly calling him "My servant" (e.g., Ezekiel 28:25; 37:25).

viii. God blessed Jacob by permitting him to die in faith as did his believing forefathers, and confesses "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them" (Hebrews 11:8-16).

ix. God blessed Jacob by greatly blessing his descendants (Deuteronomy 10:15): They were told, "The LORD delighted only in your fathers [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob], to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day." On the other hand, Esau and his descendants were cursed by God forever (Malachi 1:3f): "... they shall be called the Territory of Wickedness, and the people against whom the Lord will have indignation forever" (cp. Jeremiah 49:8-10; Obadiah).


The blessings God bestowed unto Jacob are typical of the blessings he bestows unto all who believe in the God of Jacob, those whom He loves. On the other hand, His withholding them from Esau is typical of His withholding them from all who refuse to believe in Him, those whom

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Re: GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

Berichtdoor mayflower » 09 Jul 2008, 09:24

"JACOB I HAVE LOVED,
BUT ESAU I HAVE HATED" (2)
Romans 9:13

GOOD NEWS FROM THE REDEEMER

November 9, 2003 MESSAGE #501

II. Reasons for the truth "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated." Why did God love Jacob but hate Esau?

1. God hated Esau because God acted in justice toward him. Holy Scriptures are very plain regarding the justice and righteousness of God, and of His consequent hatred of sin and sinners. "God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11). "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, ... so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:18-20). "For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, nor shall evil dwell with You. ... You hate all workers of iniquity. ... The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man" (Psalm 5:4-6). "The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain coals; fire and brimstone and a burning wind shall be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous" (Psalm 11:5-7). "God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies" (Nahum 1:2). He will send "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil" (Romans 2:8f).

Esau was the sort of person God in His justice hates. As the consequence of his identification with Adam his federal head, and even while he was yet in his mother's womb - "not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil" (Romans 9:11) - he was a sinner under the judgment of condemnation (Romans 5:12-21): "Therefore, ... through one man [Adam] sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned .... by the one man's offense many died .... the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation .... by the one man's offense death reigned through the one .... through one man's offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation .... by one man's disobedience many were made sinners .... sin reigned in death."

Consequently, Esau was "in sin ... conceived" and "brought forth in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5). He therefore was of those of whom it is written, "The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies" (Psalm 58:3). He was, like all the Adamic race, born "dead in trespasses and sins, in which you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others" (Ephesians 2:1-3).

As for Esau personally, he proved himself worthy of God's hatred. He is characterized as a "profane person ..., who for one morsel of food sold his birthright" (Hebrews 12:16; cp. Genesis 25:29-34). That which is profane is the opposite of that which is holy: it is outside the realm of sanctity, and debarred from sacred privileges. He who is profane is classed with the worst sorts of people: the "fornicator" (Hebrews 12:16); the "lawless" and "insubordinate", "ungodly" and "sinners", "unholy" and "profane" (1 Timothy 1:9).

What was so profane about Esau selling his birthright? Among the Hebrew patriarchs, the birthright was very special: It conferred preeminence to the firstborn and a double portion of the inheritance. And the birthright was very sacred: It conferred to the firstborn the privilege of priesthood, and made him the custodian of the divine promises, and placed him in the lineage of the coming Messiah, and made him typical of those who are in the "church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven" (Hebrews 12:23).

"Esau despised his birthright" (Genesis 25:34). And he was unrepentant about doing so (Hebrews 12:26): "For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it [the blessing, not repentance] diligently with tears." Esau despised and rejected the things of God; God therefore despised and rejected Esau.

Esau furthermore grieved his parents by marrying heathen women (26:34f), thereby violating the principle of holy marriage observed by his grandfather Abraham (24:3f). For this reason, Esau may also be the "fornicator" of Hebrews 12:16. He also resolved to murder his brother Jacob (27:41).

It therefore is with good reason that God says, "Esau I have hated." There was nothing ever in Esau meriting God's love; God therefore in justice withheld love from him. There was everything ever about Esau meriting God's hatred; God therefore in justice hated him.

The question therefore should not be "Why did God hate Esau?" He deserved to be hated!

Rather, the question should be "Why did God love Jacob?" He also deserved to be hated! All that we have here said regarding Esau as identified with Adam (in Romans 5:12-21) applied also to Jacob. Furthermore, Jacob also, like Esau, was "in sin ... conceived" and "brought forth in iniquity", "estranged from the womb; ... speaking lies", "dead in trespasses and sins", and among those who are "by nature children of wrath". As for the character he exemplified in his life, "Esau said, 'Is he not rightly named Jacob [supplanter, heel-catcher]? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!'" (Genesis 27:36).

Nevertheless, even when he was in his mother's womb - "not yet being born, nor having done any good" - God said, "Jacob I have loved" (Romans 9:11-13).

Why would God love Jacob?

2. God loved Jacob because God acted in grace toward him. God dealt with Esau in justice. But God dealt with Jacob in grace (as in vv.15f). God in justice hated Esau even before he was born, because God viewed Esau in Adam as a sinner. But God in grace loved Jacob even before he was born, because God viewed Jacob in Christ as righteous (as in Ephesians 1:4-6). God in justice gave to Esau the damnation he deserved. But God in grace gave to Jacob the salvation he did not deserve (as in Titus 3:5-7).

~~~~~~~~~~

Interestingly, we never read of Esau objecting or complaining of being hated by God. Nor do we read of Esau objecting or complaining of God loving Jacob but not himself.

But such objections and complaints are often heard from religious people denying the sovereignty of the God of Jacob!

Paul the apostle, in the verses following our present text, has anticipated and answered their objections.

The first objection from unbelievers implies that it is unrighteous of God to love one person who has done no good, but to hate another who has done no evil (v.14a): "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God?"

Paul's reply to their first objection is in the negative, coupled with an appeal to Holy Scriptures (vv.14b-18): "Certainly not! For He says to Moses [in Exodus 33:19], 'I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.' So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh [in Exodus 9:16], 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.' Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens."

This reply is sufficient for the Christian.

The second objection from unbelievers rises from their mistaken belief that if God sovereignly shows mercy to one, but sovereignly hardens another, He is severe and cruel if He finds fault with the transgressor (v.19): "You will say to me then, 'Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?'"

Paul's reply to their second objection is again in the negative, and again coupled with an appeal to Holy Scriptures (vv.20-24): "But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, 'Why have you made me like this?' Does not the potter have power over the clay [as God declares in Jeremiah 18:1-4ff], from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction [as He did to both Esau and Pharaoh], and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"

This reply also is sufficient for the Christian. God said it. That settles it. We must believe it.

The child of God will join Christ in confessing, "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight" (Matthew 11:26).

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Re: GOD's HATRED — Romans 9:9-19

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 09 Jul 2008, 19:46

http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_25.html

GOD'S SOVEREIGN LOVE, OUR COMFORT
Prof. Robert D. Decker
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The subject as assigned to me by the committee was put in the form of a question: "Does emphasis on the love of God lead to Arminianism or to comfort for God's people?" At first I did not understand the question. How could emphasis on the love of God lead to Amninianism? Upon a bit of reflection, however, I think I know what the committee had in mind.
There are those who emphasize the love of God. God is love, they say. And the Bible does indeed say that God is love. But these people say this means that God loves everyone, all men. It belongs to God's very nature to love all. Because He is love, God cannot hate. God cannot and does not reprobate people, determine to condemn them to everlasting punishment on account of their sins. God in His love gives everyone a chance to be saved. Only when a person obstinately and persistently refuses to repent of his sins does God condemn. God offers His love to everyone. And some even go so far as to say that God actually saves everyone -- even unbelievers. Hence the church, according to this view, is called to preach the love of God in the form of a "well-meant offer." The church must tell people everywhere, God loves you; God has a wonderful plan for your life; God wants to save you! It's all love, love, love! And one must never talk about hatred or the wrath of God.

This extremely popular conception of the love of God not only leads to Arminianism - it is Arminianism, if not outright universalism. And, this conception provides absolutely no comfort at all for the people of God. It may sound like a comforting doctrine to say that God loves everyone and hates no one, but in reality it makes the love of God depend upon the fickle and sinful will of man. If man accepts the offer of God's love, God will save him. In other words, God cannot love unless man loves! There is nothing certain about that! A man may love one day and hate the next. There is no comfort in that. Besides, if that be true, who is God? According to the Arminian conception, man is really God for his love must be first. That is blasphemy. From this point of view Arminianism is just as destructive of the Christian faith as liberalism.

Out of all this comes a fear on the part of Reformed people, a fear that emphasis on the love of God will lead to Arminianism. I can well understand that Arminianism is the last thing we want! But in reality the fear is groundless. Why? Because the Arminian conception of the love of God is not a conception of the love of God, but is a distorted, corrupted conception of God's love. Emphasis on the Biblical conception of the love of God (as that is expounded in our Reformed Creeds) does not lead to Arminianism, but is the death-blow to Arminianism. At the same time it is the sure, abiding comfort of God's people. Therefore the church must emphasize the love of God. It must, in order that the truth may be known and defended, in order that God's people may be comforted, and in order that God's name might be glorified!


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Consider this subject with me under the topic:

God's Sovereign Love, Our Comfort.
Notice:
1) What It Is,
2) Its Characteristics, and
3) Its Comfort For God's people.

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What It Is
Before anything else we must understand that love, all love, is of God. This means that love is not what the world calls love. The world speaks of love: parental love, marital love, love among friends, etc. The world talks about love in many senses. In fact the world speaks of love as the cure for all of its problems. All the world needs, so it is said, is a little bit of love. That is not love. At best it is only a certain natural affection or attraction. For the rest it is only earthly, sensual, and devilish; it belongs to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. The world's love, in fact, is the very opposite of God's love. The world's love is hatred against God and His Christ and against His people. That is all it ever can be. No matter how sweetly the world may talk about love, the world, when it comes right down to it, hates God and His cause. This is not merely my opinion; it is God's Word. The Bible teaches that "the carnal mind (literally, the mind of the flesh, R.D.D.) is enmity (hatred) against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Romans 8:7).

Positively, love is of God. God is the only source of all love. There can be no love outside of God. This means that the only love there is, is God's love. Love is an attribute of God, a characteristic of His divine being, along with other characteristics such as holiness, grace, mercy, etc. And if we may indeed make comparisons, love is the chief characteristic of God's being. In I John 4:8 we read the utterly amazing statement: "God is love." God is love. We do not read that of the other virtues of God, to the best of my knowledge. We read that God is the God of all grace, that He is merciful, holy, full of lovingkindness, etc. But in I John we read that God is love. That means that, whatever else God may be, He is preeminently love. Love belongs to the very essence of God's being. In all that He is and in all that God thinks, wills, determines, and does, He is love. God as God, the Almighty, sovereign Creator, Sustainer of all things, and the Redeemer of His elect in Christ - in all that, God is love.

What is that love? In Colossians 3:14 we read that: Charity (love) is the bond of perfectness." Love is a bond. It unites or makes one. In love, two become one. They are united in a bond with one mind, one will, and one desire. Love is a unity in fellowship. What is more, love is the bond of perfectness - that is, moral perfectness. It is what the Bible calls holiness. That is the kind of bond love is. This, by the way, is precisely why love cannot exist in the world of sin and unbelief. Love unites in a bond of righteousness and of moral goodness. And again, let it be emphasized, love is first of all in God. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live in an intimate bond of fellowship, a bond based upon the perfection of God's own righteousness and holiness. God loves Himself and has no need of any being outside of Himself. God lives in the bond of perfectness.

The wonder is that God loved and still loves us! He loved us in eternity. Before the foundation of the world God in His love predestinated us to be conformed to the image of His Son ( Ephesians 1). God, Who has no need of us, determined to set His love upon us and take us into His covenant fellowship. This love of God is of course especially manifest in Christ and His cross. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). "But God commendeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to the cross, to the agonies of hell, to death and the grave for us. Looking at that amazing love of God and considering our worthlessness as depraved, filthy sinners we can only exclaim with the inspired Apostle: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the children of God...." (I John 3:1). That is the love of God! Behold that love of God! Marvel at it and be thankful for it.

The question is, how do we receive the love of God? The answer is: from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, poured out by the ascended Christ, sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts. The Bible says: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Galatians 5:22, 23). Note that the text does not say the fruits of the Spirit, but the fruit of the Spirit. Hence, there are not many fruits but only one fruit. That one fruit of the Spirit is the love of God. And that love-fruit of the Spirit is composed of many virtues and blessings. Joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, etc, all belong to the love of God which is the fruit of the Spirit. It is indeed a rich fruit!

That love of God which we receive from the Holy Spirit is seen in us. We manifest that love of God exactly in loving the brother, our fellow saints. This means that we never hurt them or speak evil of them. Always we seek their welfare. We are willing even to lay down our lives for the brethren. This is emphasized very strongly in Scripture. I John chapters three and four make the point that we cannot love God if we love not the brother. Jesus said: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love for one another" (John 13:35).


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The Characteristics of Love
That love of God has two main or chief characteristics. It is first of all a sovereign love. That is written on almost every page of Scripture. In Deuteronomy 7:7, 8 we find Moses addressing Israel: "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the Lord loved you." God's love did not depend upon anything in Israel. As a matter of fact, Israel was repeatedly manifest as a rebellious and a stiff- necked people. There was nothing in them which made them worthy of God's love. The Bible teaches (cf. Ephesians 1:3-11) that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world and predestinated unto the adoption of children by Christ And God did all of this in love, in His sovereign love. There is no other reason, therefore, for our election into Jesus Christ than the sovereign love of God. According to this same passage of Scripture, that love of God is according to the good pleasure of His will! God freely determined to love us in Christ. Then there is the classic passage, I John 4:10: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us." Literally the text reads: "In this is love. . ." all love: God's love to us and our love to God and our fellow saints. All love consists in this, not that we loved God, but that He loved us. God's love is always first. Apart from that there could be no love.

That is the sovereign character of God's love. Negatively this means that God's love does not depend upon anything outside of God Himself. God set His love upon Israel and chose them to be His people, not because of Israel's worth or love, but simply because God loved them. In love God chose His elect in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world. That was not because of anything in the elect. In order to love us God does not need our love. His love is sovereign. He loved us according to the good pleasure of His will, His own sovereign determination. Positively this means that God's love is always first. It is always the fountain of all our love both to God and the neighbor. In fact the love that is in us is not ours but God's.

This is the death-blow to all Arminianism. Arminianism makes God's love second. God loves all men, according to the Arminian, but He cannot save unless man loves Him. Hence, according to Arminianism, man's love must be first and then God can love him. God's love according to this does not sovereignly produce man's love, but is dependent, bound and limited by man, a response to man's love. That is the opposite of the Bible's dear teaching and it makes all comfort for the child of God impossible.

The second main characteristic of God's love is that it is particular. This too is written on nearly every page of Scripture. The classic is Romans 9:13: "Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated." Some, many in fact, have tried to explain that away by saying it means, "Esau have I loved less." That is sheer nonsense. The word is hate. God hated Esau, while His love was for Jacob. This became very obvious in the history of the two nations which came out of Jacob and Esau. Israel was God's chosen and precious, while Edom appeared as the reprobate enemy of God's cause. Jesus taught the same truth repeatedly. In John chapters six and ten our Lord tells us that He comes and lays down His life for those whom the Father loved and gave to Him: His sheep. He tells the unhelievers that they are not of His sheep and, therefore, they do not hear Him and follow Him. In John 17 Jesus prays for and loves those whom the Father has given Him out of the world and He does not pray for the world.

All this means that God's love is particular. It is for His elect in Christ Jesus. God's wrath abides upon the rest who are vessels of wrath fitted unto destruction ( Romans 9). One can trace that, too, throughout the history of the Bible. According to Genesis 3:15 God puts enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. That seed of the woman is Abel, Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem (with Japheth dwelling in his tents), Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel, David, Christ. Galatians 3 teaches that that one seed is Christ and all who are in Him by faith. That one seed is the beloved of the Lord.


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The Comfort for God's People
This precious truth of God's sovereign and particular love affords a marvelous comfort for God's people. Let us return to our question for a moment. Does emphasis on the love of God lead to Arminianism, or to comfort for God's people? To Arminianism? Never! God's love is sovereign and particular. Arminianism cannot stand that! To comfort for God's people? Most assuredly. This is all of our comfort. Knowing that God's love is sovereign and particular I am assured of my election into Christ; God's love does not depend upon me. Looking at that love of God as manifest in the cross of Jesus Christ, I am assured of my redemption. Considering that that love is always the same and never changes I am assured of my Preservation unto glory. That is my comfort. It is a comfort grounded in the Almighty Sovereign God.

This is precisely the thrust of that victory song of Romans 8. After speaking of eternal predestination, the Apostle issucs the challenge: who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus? The answer is this: nothing! In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord! That same Apostle has this prayer recorded in II Thessalonians 2:16, 17: "Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."

That is the love of God. It must he emphasized because Scripture emphasizes it. Only, the love of God must he emphasized, not some distorted, corrupted notion of it. And that is, indeed, all our comfort.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.


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