My God Doesn't Hate. P1
You know you want to read it.
Today’s guest post is by a friend of mine Rev. Ed Soto. You can visit his website here:
I’ve heard it said by too many professing Christians that the God they worship hates no one. I’ve also heard it said by too many professing Christians that God just hates the sin but not the sinner. To these I respond, if the God you worship does not match up with the God of the Bible, then you are worshiping an idol; and God doesn’t send sins to hell, but sinners. The correct expected rebuttal is straight from the Scriptures where 1 John 4 speaks boldly that God is love. This is indeed a truth that no Christian can deny. In fact, that’s John’s point in that passage. To deny love is to deny God. However, to take “God is love” out of the context of 1 John 4, and certainly that of the entire letter, is to prove one has never read First John or one does not care; both are grave errors.
John begins this chapter by calling believers to “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits.” (1 John 4:1) It seems, then, that the church John is writing to has, to some degree or another, failed to test the spirits—that is the witness and teaching of false teachers—to discern whether what is spoken is truly of God. We see something similar in Paul’s ministry, when a group of people of Berea sat under his teaching not only “with great eagerness” but also “examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) Quite frankly, Christian, if what is preached in pulpits, printed in devotions, and discussed in studies does not jive with Scripture, then it is not of God. John is setting this truth into place before he dives into the God of love because even in his day there were those with the “spirit of error.” (I John 4:6) It is in this “spirit of truth” that John tells us “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God.” (I John 4:7) Many objectors to any notion of God’s hatred point to passages like First John and say, “Ah ha! See, right there ‘love is from God!’” Correct, love is from God, but notice the Apostle qualifies that love in the same verse. He continues by affirming, “and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” (Emphasis mine.) Now, I ask you dear Reader, given the context of John’s three epistles, is he suggesting that anyone who experiences love is born of God and knows God? Quite frankly we know that is not true and is never supported in Scripture. Our human experience of love is certainly a communicable attribute of God that, out of His common grace, mercifully gives to saints and sinners, to believers and pagans, to those who love Him and those who hate Him.
It is clear, John has a particular, narrow view of love in mind. That is made known in the 9th and 10th verses, where the Apostle rightly points to Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, sent into the world “to be the propitiation of our sins” that those who believe “might live through Him.” To know this extent of love is to know its cost. This is, of course, the love that nailed Jesus to the cross. That is the love John has in view here and that is the love with which God loves only His elect.
“The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:35-36)
“‘But there are some of you who do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. And He was saying, ‘For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.’” (John 6:64-65)
This concludes Part 1 of the article.
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