Does God really love the World?

God's love Special ** NEW ** (MARCH 2009)

(40 minutes)

"God is love", we say, but what exactly is this love and is it freely given to everyone? What is your view of God? Is He capable of hate? In this revealing and thought-provoking discussion we explore areas rarely visited ...

Do you agree with what you have heard? Does it make you angry? Why not post a comment below and create a discussion?
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Love in action

I think that God's default mode is not to love people since the fall, but he elects some people for salvation. God's love is a benevolent aptitude towards a person leading to benevolent action leading to salvation. Paul writes in Romans 8:29-30
"For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified". I cannot see the words "might" or "some".
If God loves someone who eventually is not saved, does God stop loving him or did He never love him in the first place.
I concur with John Calvin's analysis that God puts out a general call to everyone, but an effectual call to those He has chosen to be saved. If God did not put out a general call then those who are not saved could complain that they never heard the call. All have heard the call, but it is rejected by many. It is the call of creation itself. (Romans chapter 1).
If we agree that God is sovereign then part of His sovereignty is to ensure salvation for those He foreknew.
This is a great discussion and I hope we have not heard the last word.

Love in action

A further thought in reply to Dr John. Surely God did not have a default of unlove since the fall - what greater Love than to come into the world to be crucified for each and every one of us. He didn't come for a special few, but as Alpha and OMega, He surely foreknew those who would have hard and self righteous hearts and would not respond, who do not believe and feel they don't need God and have nothing to repent for, He does not disown them - for his patience is unending, as that beautiful passage in 1 Corinthians 13 tells us, patience is one of the many attributes of love, and God is Love, but also a just God, and Jesus Christ the Lamb of God and the Lion of Judah. Those who have cried out in heartfelt repentance in acknowledging their own sins and inadequacy, which never end in this life, through Jesus Christ alone enter a new life with a new attitude and renewed strength (Chris Hlll's devotional on 'Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth' refers) and can then begin that joy filled but difficult walk on the narrow road in obedience ,when Our Saviour truly becomes Lord and our desire above all is to serve Him, however many times we fall down on the job ; those who once felt so inadequate are made children of God, ready to serve in the great Plan. In our despair and acknowledging our sinfulness, we run to Him, and He then comes to us. Our repentance and submission through Jesus Christ comes first. People harden their own hearts against God, and if they are determined to stay that way, perhaps God says 'right, if that's the way you want it, I will help you to harden your heart and use you to serve my purpose' (Pharoah ?) For creation is to glorify God, not ourselves..
He is indeed sovereign and through his incredible Grace and Mercy and love for his creation, I believe He wants salvation for all. In my first response I wrote 'God can do no more'. It upsets me that we constantly go to church with our shopping baskets, asking for more.

Love in action

God doesn't 'switch on' or 'off' for anyone. He is! - or to use His Words of the Bible 'I am'.

God's Love

Problems arise when we use the words love and hate at a human level. Through his awesome design for the Universe and unconditional Love for His creation, our Creator God provided us with The Way back to the Paradise which was lost through the disobedience of both Adam and Eve. He came into the fallen world as the man Jesus Christ and accepted the appalling cruelty of unregenerate man in giving himself to show us the way back to a better life that he wanted all to find. This is a beautiful world, the only blot on the landscape is mankind. In the Gospels Jesus makes it clear to Nicodemus and so to every one of us that we have to be born again before we can see the kingdom of God, so blind, deaf and mostly disobedient have we continued to be since the Fall. (John 3:1-10) I cannot tell the precise moment when I was born again - but to my amazement when I gave testimony some years ago, I was approached by a member of my church at that time and asked - 'That was so moving, Enid, but when exactly did you say those actual words ?'. I was dumbfouinded. A few words recited from a piece of paper to make one born again? - hardly !- but that is a common conception. (to some extend encouraged by Alpha I think). I recommend a book by John Piper entitlted "Finally Alive" which spells out the common misuse of the term 'born again'. "Enter through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate (and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. " (Matthew 7.13.) It is up to every one of us, individually, to respond to that glorious Love so freely given by Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. God can do no more.