Where is the Saving love of God?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Iconoclast, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
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    In another thread we were discussing...where is the Saving love of God?

    How is the Love of God presented in scripture?
    So here is a part of that discussion;
     
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  2. Scarlett O.

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    I'm not going to give you the answer you are looking for, but this is the answer that I hold to.

    Romans 5:6-11

    For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—
    but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.


    The saving love of God is IN and THROUGH Christ, obviously. But according to this passage, it is FOR us and more importantly WHILE we were sinners, while we were enemies with God.

    Yes, God is a God of wrath - and that wrath must be satiated. Otherwise, we all go to hell - deservedly so. God is also a God of love - God IS love. He loved use WHILE we were sinners. I have no problem reconciling the two.

    Because God is a God of wrath (meaning sin must be put to death) and is holy and is perfect combined with the fact that he loved us while we were yet sinners is not a conundrum for me.

    I could never approach someone and lead them to an understanding of how UNholy we are and how grossly a stench in God's nostrils we are WITHOUT telling them that the answer is in Christ BECAUSE of what? Because of the love of God - a God who does not take pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (even though because of God's holiness wickedness must be destroyed), a God who must pour out his wrath upon sin, who must judge us guilty and deserving of hell and yet who loves us enough to send Jesus to the cross.

     
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  3. agedman

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    I found it! (looking for the thread) :)

    So the reader may understand, I do hold to much of the D. of G., however, there are certain aspects in which I do not.

    For example, in the OP, the love of God is mentioned.

    There are some who would (as with atonement) limit God's love to only his elect. To do so (as the argument is sometimes presented) the word "kosmos" in John 3 (English translation - world) is taken as typical Jewish hyperbole. The foundation for that rendering is that the religious righteous used the same expression when stating the "world" was chasing after Jesus. (John 12) But John is merely quoting heathen thinking and not that of expressing either the love nor the righteousness of God.

    My argument has always been that the nature of Apostles accounts (most specifically that of John) throughout the NT are not given to hyperbole as it relates to statements by or about Christ either by Christ or by the apostles (disciples at the time). Therefore, John accurately records that God loves the world, and gave His Son. And the same occurs when John uses the the word "world" in 1 John 2:2.

    For if one is to enlarge the word "world" to "hyperbole" in John 3, there is no remedy offered to not use it in the same manner throughout the NT, rendering even the charge of carrying the Gospel or that the Gospel will be preach throughout the "world" as just exaggeration.

    So, I take the statement "God is love" of 1 John 4:8 to accurately reflect the character of God, just as I do the use by the writing of the apostles to accurately use the word "world."

    Another aspect that those who place a limit upon the "love of God" would put forward is that throughout the OT the love is towards the people of Israel.

    For example 1 Kings 10:9
    "Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice."
    Because in the reformed view the church is Israel, it follows, in some of that view, that God loves to exclusion only the redeemed.

    However, such is not the presentation of Love given by John (1 John 4:10).

    Rather, while the humankind remained unrepentant, unredeemed, unloving, God loved.

    "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
    Now, of course, the reformed folks, will point to the "us" and attempt to place the whole as specific only to the "us." But what was STATE of the "us" before redemption?

    Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6 that "such were SOME of you." So, the capacity of God to love is not bound.

    Another problem when the reformed desire to demonstrate God's love is limited is that the only Scriptures that can be raised about love being limited are those given to either the Israel or the believing church. For example, the Scriptures specify that God "set His love upon" the people entering the land of Canaan. (Deuteronomy 7)

    And all such passages of expressions are true, however there are statements given to the Israel in which they are to follow that show love is unbounded. For example:
    7 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
    18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.
    19 Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.​

    The principle of love is this. HE first loved us, then WE can love others - even strangers of the promise.

    One final aspect offered in this post.

    Often folks deal in black and white, inclusive and exclusive, love and hate.

    But there is a practical side of God's love for all humankind. With that love also comes justice and judgment.
    Throughout the Scriptures there are statements emanating from humankind a response to God which state "I love Thy law," and of God that "He loves righteousness and judgment." (Psalms 33)

    It is also true that such statements can be taken by those who desire to limit the love of God as exclusionary.

    But one verse that rings what may be the toll of exclusionary thinking is found in Romans 5:

    6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
    7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
    8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
    11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.​


    What is important about this small section is that first, the death of Christ was for the ungodly. ALL are ungodly for "all have sinned."

    Second, God entrusts (commends) as praiseworthy His love toward "US." Who are the "US?" The "ungodly." Who are the "ungodly?" Sinners ALL sinners

    So, the love of God mentioned in John 3 is not only to some exclusive holy huddle, but to the world.

    Finally,

    That there is a love in which the Holy Spirit plants within us that is to be carried throughout the whole world is just as God did upon the Cross. It is that same love of God, that reaches out not just to the Godly, but the ungodly, that emanates from the Father, through the Son and is a direct work of the Holy Spirit.

    It is that love which John speaks.
     
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  4. Iconoclast

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    Hello Scarlett,

    Scarlett....good thinking, and partial agreement....and some disagreement

    lets look;
    5 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

    2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

    3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

    4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

    5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

    7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

    8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

    10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

    11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

    Scarlett-

    Here is another way to see this truth;

    The bolded portions are speaking of Christians only......before and after WE are saved

    1] being justified by faith, we

    2] we in verses......1,2,3,6,11

    3] the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

    note...the unsaved are not given the Holy Ghost, so if that is how we get the love of God in our heart, they cannot have it unless they get saved.

    4]were yet without strength

    5]while we were yet sinners,

    notice it is past tense..... take a few minutes and read and re read this great section of scripture and see it.

    Once you see it then it is just a small adjustment to present the love of God as being where scripture says it is...In Christ.

    I offer it to sinners that to Know the great love of God they must come through the door.

    Let me know what you think on this.

    then look at romans 8 doing the same thing, who is it spoken to? what are they told?
     
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  5. Iconoclast

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    agedman,

    I guess the question is not what some would do, but rather what has God declared He has done?

    I think everyone agrees that God is love.God has revealed many things about Himself.
    He is Holy, He is righteous, He is merciful, etc.

    Again....where do you see the love of God expressed in the OT?
    Was it In THE ARK or was it outside the Ark?
    0Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    Was it in Sodom, or outside?
    4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

    5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;

    6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;

    7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

    8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

    9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:


    God is long suffering enduring the wicked acts of wicked men;
    How do you explain the OT revelation of how God viewed the heathen before the gospel?



    You know this verse is not going to work....​
    The passage is speaking of Christians...not non Christians.

    This passage does not address the question...God saves sinners...Those he has intended to save...they WERE all sinners, until God saved them.

    This is not a problem at all...in fact it proves the position without any doubt.
    Where is any record of gentiles being saved outside of Israel?
    This does not describe salvation does it?
    We are to show love by speaking truth and doing good....

    This does not speak to the question.
    In my answer to Scarlett O...I answered this....I do not think you will find fault with my answer.


    No the context is those justified by faith Rom 5:1...it is not speaking to all men everywhere.

    No...this is answered in the other post.
    God has set His love on a multitude. God has not set His Love on everyone, scripture is quite clear.
    I would not speak of God's wisdom in saving all He could save as a "holy huddle"
     
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  6. agedman

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    So, let's look briefly at what God has done.

    As I have pondered this basic aspect of God, the question that comes to my mind is, "Would God require from the believer what He did not require of Himself?"

    For example:
    We read in the Scriptures that God is holy, and the command goes out to believers to be holy.
    We read in the Scriptures that God is righteous, just, and merciful, and, again, the believer is to reflect those values.

    So, the question of Love may also be reflected in the principle that God expects of the believer.

    The statement of Christ given in Luke 6 attends to the character that a believer should reflect.
    But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. “Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. “Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. “If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
    Does God expect from the believer what He does not place as a priority of Himself?

    The above passage shows that one is to love, unconditionally those who are considered enemies, and to do good and lend expecting nothing in return.

    Is it to be considered correct that God doesn't live up to His own standard?
    Is this in accordance with that which some attribute of God only loving those who first loved Him, or only loves those who are His children, the elect, the believers?

    Can anyone doubt that the attributes of God are to be reflected in the believer, and that one of those attributes is to love even the unlovely, the ungodly, the ones who would take advantage?

    What attribute is the believer to display among each other that marks them to the world as a follower of Christ? Love

    Can "love" be held to only those who belong, or is it an attribute character in which no restraint or law can be made to regulate? Who is your neighbor? Only other believers?

    Is it not a command that we are to love our neighbors?

    Did not Paul say that the fruit of the spirit is, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."

    Is such fruit of the Spirit limited? Or is it to be extended even to the enemies and those who would take advantage of the believer?

    Is the "Spirit" also God?

    Is He not required to meet the expectations of the fruit of the Spirit?

    Peter places emphasis upon Christian character by making a stair step approach of how one acquires the attribute of the Love of God.
    Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence,
    in your faith supply moral excellence,
    and in your moral excellence, knowledge,
    and in your knowledge, self-control,
    and in your self-control, perseverance,
    and in your perseverance, godliness,
    and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,
    and in your brotherly kindness, love.
    For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

    Is Peter's statement of believers being short-sighted, fruitless, and lacking the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, only displayed among other believers? Or, is the statement of Peter also what the world would see as opportunity to mock, and ridicule because no Godly love is that believer's testimony?

    See, in my opinion, God is not going to require of the believer what He does not attribute, Himself.
     
  7. agedman

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    I forgot to mention, that "holy huddle" is how I "pigeon hole" those who would be exclusive in such topics as is being discussed. It is meant to emphasis that some folks group around a scheme as if it is the answer to all matters rather than recognizing that there may be some need to examine and address issues.

    Rarely is there any great love shared between huddles, and even less ground found for cooperation and communication. This was evident in the early days of the church when the women complained that portions were not distributed equitably. Later, we read were Peter was rebuked by Paul, for switching huddles when the Jews arrived.

    We see it on the BB, were huddles rage against something, and show great intolerance for any view but their own.

    Rather than "camps" or person (Darby Dispensation comes to mind), I use the term "holy huddle" but, if it is derogatory, I will do my best to not use it again.

    Let me know if you think it is.

    :)
     
  8. Scarlett O.

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    Yes, I agree that the love of God is in the past tense. But I fail to understand why that matters?

    And I agree that sinners cannot experience or know that great love until they "come through the door" as you call it.

    As far as Romans 8 is concerned, what has always moved me to great spiritual humility is that - in verse three - sinful flesh has to die and God sent his own Son in that "likeness". Jesus was not sinful, but had to come here in that likeness. What a great testimony to the epitome of the sacrifice he made.

    And yes, the life is in the Spirit. And the Spirit of God doesn't dwell in us until he saves us.
     
  9. Iconoclast

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    agedman

    When you depart from clear teaching and look to speculate and "suppose" what God "should do" I do not think that can end well.

    Agreed...there are communicable attributes that we are given and are to employ.
    God has incommunicable attributes that are beyond our capacity.

    Every attribute of God can have the preface...HOLY...placed in front of it. That is primary.
    Isa 6 does not say.....love love love....but Holy, Holy, Holy.

    More than a principle...it is a command;
    8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

    9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

    Law keeping is fulfilling the law toward others

    yes...​
    God is love, a Holy love...He is also perfect in His wisdom. The fact is...In His Holy wisdom He has determined to save a multitude in His Son.....but that does not mean all men who ever lived.

    I am not going to begin to question what is revealed as that would be to question God's wisdom.
    I do not think you are intentionally trying to do this, I think you are reasoning emotionally , rather than making a scriptural judgment.

    The path of reasoning that you are offering as I read it....suggests that unless God saves all men, or unless God has chosen to elect all men unto salvation...it is unloving?
    God's Holy attributes are not conflicted or uncertain;

    9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

    10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

    11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

    12 Hearken unto me, ye stouthearted, that are far from righteousness:

    13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.

    All of God's Eternal purpose happens. All men are not going to know the Saving love of God which is found only in Christ. God is going to love and save all He can save according to His infinite and Holy wisdom.

    So.....again... are you then by implication , inference , or anything else suggesting that God must indeed save everyone with an Everlasting love???
    31 At the same time, saith the Lord, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.

    2 Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.

    3 The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.


    I
    God has always and only revealed a special saving love for HIS people. He loves them because he loves them.

    Everything has a context. A Christian policeman , or soldier,can love his neighbor on one hand, but execute an evildoer also.
     
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  10. Iconoclast

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    Hello Scarlett O,

    It is in the past tense because at one time when we were apart from Christ...we were even as others...
    But now in Romans 5 Paul is explaining that our relationship to God and His saving love has changed,

    here;
     
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  11. agedman

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    Ok, somewhere we got lost, or perhaps I missed the intent.

    If you look back over my posts, I was directing them to God expressing love to every person.

    I was not posting about "saving love" or really anything to do about salvation.

    The posts were that God's love is not bounded or limited to ONLY those whom He saves.

    So, when you post of the love God sheds into the heart of the believer, we are in total agreement.

    What I attempted to prove as disagreeable is the exclusionary view that some have (Jay Adams) that all others are unloved and that saying "God loves you" to an unbeliever is a lie. I think such thinking is not supported in Scriptures.
     
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  12. Iconoclast

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    agedman

    Yes... But here is the OP-
    Where is the Saving love of God?


    As we should beThumbsup
     
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  13. SovereignGrace

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    God loves no one outside of Christ.
     
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  14. agedman

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    I disagree.

    Is not the command "love your enemies" indicating that God loves those "outside of Christ?"

    Or, do you assume that the instruction is expected out of believers but not out of God, that God demands an attribute of His children that He does not require or display Himself?
     
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  15. agedman

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    I noticed you disagreed.

    What then is the answer. Is God demanding of believers and attribute that He does not display?
    For is not the statement of Christ, "Love your enemies..."

    Or, are you thinking that no one is "outside of Christ?

    I am unsure why you would disagree.

    Could you express why?
     
  16. SovereignGrace

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    Yes I did mon ami.

    God told Jeremiah "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they will be my people." This is what the LORD says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel." The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, O Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful. Again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria; the farmers will plant them and enjoy their fruit. There will be a day when watchmen cry out on the hills of Ephraim, 'Come, let us go up to Zion, to the LORD our God.'[31:1-6]

    Here you can see where God's focus, God's love is set upon Israel. It is an everlasting love, per verse 3. There was no love shown to Pharaoh whilst Moses dealt with him before he let Israel go. God told Moses what to do, and not one time did God command Moses to express God's love towards Egypt. To prove this let us move up into the same chapter, 33, of Jeremiah where God said...

    “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”[vss 31-34]

    This is going on right now as each and every believer is added to Israel, which is Christ, who is the true Israel. We are grafted into the natural vine, being a wild shoot, and Jesus the true Olive vine. See Romans 11 and John 14 for reference. Then is God loves everyone, then He chastens everyone, too. It says He disciplines those that He loves.{Heb. 12:6]


    God commanded many things from us we could not do, and yet, punished us for failing to do so. He commanded the Israelites to keep the Law, knowing they could not, and they died for failing to keep it. We are commanded to be holy, even as He is holy. He commanded Lazarus to "Come out!" and by his own volition he could not, but Christ enabled him to do it. He commanded the man with the withered hand to stretch it out, when he could not. Peter told the crippled man to raise up. The bible is full of these examples. We are commanded to 'Love our enemies" because we are not sinless like God is. God hates all workers of iniquity[Psa. 5:5], His is angry with the wicked every day[Psa. 7:11], His wrath abides upon the disobedient[John 3:36, Eph. 2:3].

    Everyone was outside Christ when Adam fell. When he sinned, the whole race because polluted by sin. But God, rich in grace and mercy, chose a people in Christ from the foundation of the world. Positionally, we were outside Christ in time, yet, God saw us in Christ from the foundation of the world. That is why He sent His Son to bear our sins, our guilt, our sentence of death for us, so that we would not have to.

    I just did. :D :) ;)
     
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  17. agedman

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    There is much of the post in which I agree.

    However, the question remains as to the Love of God to folks outside of Christ. I will "snip" what we agree, and spend a bit or two on areas which perhaps can be explored more.

    All the above is most evident in Scriptures. Your statement above is that God requires of believers knowing they are incapable of delivery or inconsistent in delivery. That is most certain.

    However, God does not command from a believer, what He does not require of Himself. That is the point, not the other way around.




    Again, there is agreement in that part in which God certainly did select those that would be his.

    However, just because God selected, does not mean that previous to that selection He did not love. In fact, the typical thinking expressed of God not loving those outside of his own, would invalidate any selection process, for God would not express love to those outside of his own. He, in effect, at the very start of redemption before the world was spun into place, by not being capable of expressing love "outside his own" would have no "his own" to select and express love.

    I am not certain that makes a lot of sense in writing as it does in the mind before I type.

    Ultimately, from the very start, either God loved everyone as He did fallen Adam, and selects from those who will come to be endowed in a special relationship as His own, or God loved no one, and cannot by the fact that He loved no one endow anyone, because he has no concern nor care to share with anyone "outside."

    I recall the Scripture statement, "That while we were YET sinners (outside) Christ..." So, it seems that verse would invalidate the thinking that God shows no love to those "outside" of Christ.

    The Scriptures present that God is love.

    The Scriptures present that God shows concern and even warnings of judgment upon folks "outside" of the chosen. (Examples: Nineveh, Babylon, Jerico, Sodom, Ai, ... were each outside of the chosen, and yet God warned and brought judgment - chastised those outside of the family)

    So the question remains unanswered by those that would contend that God only loves those who He claims as His children.

    Does God expect out of the believer what He does not display as His character?
    The believer is to Love enemies. Does God not to love enemies, yet require believers to love enemies?
     

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