Friday, December 2, 2011

God's Love and Election

Let me try to make two points concerning the way God loves and the way he elects.  It seems most errors come about when we take a biblical teaching and go to one extreme or the other when the doctrine wasn't meant to be taken to either extreme.  The Bible teaches that God loves different things and people in different ways.  In one sense he loves all his creation and all humanity and in another sense he loves his chosen ones in a different way.

The Arminian assumes that if God loves one, he must love all  and love them equally.  Some Calvinists assume that if God loves any he must also choose to save them also.  But both of these assumption assume too much.  We certainly have no problem when men love differently.  I don't expect my neighbor to love his cat like he loves his wife like he loves me!  And yet it seems we want to pigeon hole God's love to be the same for everyone.  The problem is that this isn't supported by the Bible.  Let me prove this by just quoting two verses since it should be rather obvious anyway.

Rom 9:13  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.  
Deu 7:6-8  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.  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.

I use these verses for two different reasons.  First of all they show that God loves people differently.  It is not my intention here to elaborate further but when one can accept this truth he is well on his way to understanding the sovereignty of God.

The other reason was to prove my second point; this is found in vss. 7-8.  One of the standard arguments against election is to say that God looks forward in time and sees who would choose or elect him and he elects them first.  This fails for several reasons but the above verses show one basic reason why such an argument holds no water.

Deu. 7 is one of the classic biblical illustrations of divine, saving election in the Scriptures.  God's very point in vss. 7 and 8 is that his election is not based on anything found in Israel that would cause him to set his love on them to be a special people for him and that calling was unlike his purpose for any other people.  Thus to say that God looked ahead and chose those who were smart enough or spiritual enough to choose him is to teach the exact opposite concept that the Bible teaches.  

He says he loved them because he loved them; end of story, vs. 8.  The biblical doctrine of election is that God chose to save some and not others based solely on his will, John 1:12-13.  This and only this removes all human boasting.  It isn't that we are all equally deserving to be saved but that we are all equally deserving to be damned but the Lord stepped in and saves some to glorify his love and holiness and leaves the rest to their own choice to demonstrate his justice and wrath.

Those that reject election because they don't think it is fair can only make this accusation because they believe all men deserve God's saving love.  But this only exalts man over God.  It is interesting how we can turn truth upside down.

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