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Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace discuss Does God Love Us Because of Christ? in the Theology forums; Does God love us because of Christ, that is, because of Christ's mediation between man and God? I've noticed that many Christians, even among the ...

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    Does God Love Us Because of Christ?

    Does God love us because of Christ, that is, because of Christ's mediation between man and God? I've noticed that many Christians, even among the reformed, get this wrong. Some would immediately respond, "Yes, we who were under God's wrath are now under God's love because of what Christ did on the cross!" On the face of it this answer looks Biblical, but there is something vital that needs to be fixed -- replace the word "love" with "acceptance."

    You see, the problem many have today is they equate love with acceptance. But there is a world of difference between these words. God's love leads to our acceptance before God, not vice versa. God does not love us because Christ died for us, Christ died for us because God loves us. I would gladly challenge anyone to provide me one Bible verse where it says God's LOVE for us is due to Christ's atonement. There isn't one. But you can find verses all over the Bible saying that our JUSTIFICATION is due to Christ's atonement.

    Why then does God love? Well, what does the Bible say? Because "God IS love." God finds the reason for loving us in His own character. And since Christ has never ceased to be God, it would be absurd to suggest that God the Son loved us on earth, while God the Father hated us in heaven, until the Atonement was made. Another thing many get wrong today; God's love is not the opposite of God's WRATH, acceptance (justification) is! But unless we see Christ is ONE in mind and heart with God, we won't understand this.

    In the Scriptures we find at least ten different hebrew/greek words which all are translated as "love" in english. While many understand each of those words carry THEIR OWN meaning, yet what is often failed to see is that each of those words must also have THEIR OWN opposite. Too often people make love n.1 the opposite of hatred n.2. Let me give you an example of this kind of error. Consider 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."

    Here is not meant a hatred that works by selfishness and seeks to destroy, but rather a hatred that works by love and seeks to edify! It is a hatred against unrighteousness and love toward righteousness! Why would Jesus want us to do evil to others? This hatred cannot be about evil-doing, it must be for the good of others! And thus what this passage is actually saying is that we should LOVE our father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, and even ourselves, but of course, IN THE SENSE OF seeking the good of others (and ourselves)!

    Okay, I think I made my point pretty clear. If you see a reason to criticise my thoughts, please do!


    In Christ,

    Samuel
    Samuel
    Without a church
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    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    I am not sure what you are hearing or who you are hearing it from. So, just to encourage your understanding a bit here are two passages.

    (Joh 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    (1Jn 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

    (1Jn 4:10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    I am not sure what you are hearing or who you are hearing it from. So, just to encourage your understanding a bit here are two passages.

    (Joh 3:16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    (1Jn 4:9) In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

    (1Jn 4:10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
    Did you honestly read the whole text before commenting?
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    yes. I did. And I read it twice.

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    This is interesting. So you do believe that the Son begged the Father to love us because of His Atonement?
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    Did you read the passages I posted? Maybe you aren't understanding them. The Father Loved and gave (sent) his Son.

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    Martyn Lloyd Jones said,

    "Our salvation is entirely of God and of His love. It is essential that I should put it like this. Sometimes, rather loosely, evangelical people are tempted - and it is the peculiar temptation of those who are evangelical - to put this whole question of the Atonement and of Salvation in this way, that it is something that the Son of God has done to affect the Father. The idea is that the Son, having done the work, as it were stands before the Father and pleads with Him, and has to persuade Him to forgive us in the light of what He has done for us. That is a wrong way of putting it, but it has often been put like that. There are hymns that are guilty of this very thing. I well remember a Welsh hymn which quite specifically and explicitly put it like that - that the Son was there pleading with the Father and saying, 'I have died for them, O, let them live!' That is surely a travesty of the teaching of Scripture.
    "Though we must always emphasize that the work was done by the Son, we must never forget that it was the Father who sent the Son to do it. 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son'; 'God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself'. It is wrong to represent God the Father as being passive, and as simply responding to the appeals and pleading of the Son to grant us salvation and forgiveness on the basis of what He has done for us" (Romans, Ch.5, p.104-105).
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    (Joh 5:19) Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
    (Joh 5:30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.


    (Joh 6:37) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

    (Joh 6:38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

    (Joh 6:39) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
    The Son acts according to the Father. The Father loves and so the Son loves.

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    John Flavel writes, "The gift of Christ is the highest and fullest manifestation of the love of God to sinners, that ever was made from eternity to them" (Works, Vol.1, p.64)

    ---------- Post added at 04:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:02 PM ----------

    Wait a second. Are you agreeing or are you disagreeing with what I'm saying?

    ---------- Post added at 04:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:03 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    I am not sure what you are hearing or who you are hearing it from. So, just to encourage your understanding a bit here are two passages.
    Is this critic or what? Maybe I misunderstood you.
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    PuritanCovenanter's Avatar
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    I would also try to keep a balance in some of this. Christ does intercede for us and on our behalf before the Father.

    (Heb 7:24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

    (Heb 7:25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

    (Heb 7:26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

    (Heb 7:27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

    (Heb 7:28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
    Here is a small portion of Calvin...

    Seeing he ever liveth, etc. What sort of pledge and how great is this of love towards us! Christ liveth for us, not for himself! That he was received into a blessed immortality to reign in heaven, this has taken place, as the Apostle declares, for our sake. Then the life, and the kingdom, and the glory of Christ are all destined for our salvation as to their object; nor has Christ any thing, which may not be applied to our benefit; for he has been given to us by the Father once for all on this condition, that all his should be ours. He at the same time teaches us by what Christ is doing, that he is performing his office as a priest; for it belongs to a priest to intercede for the people, that they may obtain favor with God. This is what Christ is ever doing, for it was for this purpose that he rose again from the dead. Then of right, for his continual intercession, he claims for himself the office of the priesthood.
    John Gill
    seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them; Christ ever lives as God, he is the living God; and though he died as man, he is risen from the dead, and will not die again, but live for evermore; and he lives as Mediator and Redeemer, and particularly as a priest; one branch of whose office it is to intercede for his people: this he does now in heaven; not by vocal prayer and supplication, at least not as in the days of his flesh; or as if he was supplicating an angry Judge; nor as controverting, or litigating, a point the court of heaven; but by the appearance of his person for them; by the presentation of his sacrifice, blood, and righteousness; by declaring his will, that such and such blessings be bestowed on such and such persons; and by recommending the prayers of his people, and removing the charges and accusations of Satan: the things he intercedes for are, the conversion of his that are in a state of nature; the consolation of distressed ones; fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers; renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them; perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification; and he intercedes for these things; not for all the world, but for all the elect, even though transgressors; and he is very fit for this work, as the following verse shows; he is the one and only Mediator; and he is a very prevalent intercessor, he always succeeds; and he does this work readily, willingly, cheerfully, and freely; and all this proves him to be able to save; for though the impetration of salvation is by his death, the application of it is owing to his interceding life; had he died and not lived again, he could not have saved to the uttermost; his life is the security of his people's, and he lives for them, and as their representative; the blessed, effects of which they constantly enjoy.
    Matthew Henry

    5. There is a change in that covenant of which the priesthood was a security and the priest a surety; that is, a change in the dispensation of that covenant. The gospel dispensation is more full, free, perspicuous, spiritual, and efficacious, than that of the law. Christ is in this gospel covenant a surety for us to God and for God to us, to see that the articles be performed on both parts He, as surety, has united the divine and human nature together in his own person, and therein given assurance of reconciliation; and he has, as surety, united God and man together in the bond of the everlasting covenant. He pleads with men to keep their covenant with god, and he pleads with God that he will fulfil his promises to men, which he is always ready to do in a way suitable to his majesty and glory, that is, through a Mediator.
    Does not Christ and the Spirit intercede for us and on our behalf? Yes. I just don't remember hearing anyone say that Christ loved us and caused the Father to love us if that is what you are speaking about. And that is why I made my first statement the way I did.

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    William Symington


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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    I would also try to keep a balance in some of this. Christ does intercede for us and on our behalf before the Father.

    (Heb 7:24) But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.

    (Heb 7:25) Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

    (Heb 7:26) For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;

    (Heb 7:27) Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself.

    (Heb 7:28) For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
    Here is a small portion of Calvin...

    Seeing he ever liveth, etc. What sort of pledge and how great is this of love towards us! Christ liveth for us, not for himself! That he was received into a blessed immortality to reign in heaven, this has taken place, as the Apostle declares, for our sake. Then the life, and the kingdom, and the glory of Christ are all destined for our salvation as to their object; nor has Christ any thing, which may not be applied to our benefit; for he has been given to us by the Father once for all on this condition, that all his should be ours. He at the same time teaches us by what Christ is doing, that he is performing his office as a priest; for it belongs to a priest to intercede for the people, that they may obtain favor with God. This is what Christ is ever doing, for it was for this purpose that he rose again from the dead. Then of right, for his continual intercession, he claims for himself the office of the priesthood.
    John Gill
    seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them; Christ ever lives as God, he is the living God; and though he died as man, he is risen from the dead, and will not die again, but live for evermore; and he lives as Mediator and Redeemer, and particularly as a priest; one branch of whose office it is to intercede for his people: this he does now in heaven; not by vocal prayer and supplication, at least not as in the days of his flesh; or as if he was supplicating an angry Judge; nor as controverting, or litigating, a point the court of heaven; but by the appearance of his person for them; by the presentation of his sacrifice, blood, and righteousness; by declaring his will, that such and such blessings be bestowed on such and such persons; and by recommending the prayers of his people, and removing the charges and accusations of Satan: the things he intercedes for are, the conversion of his that are in a state of nature; the consolation of distressed ones; fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers; renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them; perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification; and he intercedes for these things; not for all the world, but for all the elect, even though transgressors; and he is very fit for this work, as the following verse shows; he is the one and only Mediator; and he is a very prevalent intercessor, he always succeeds; and he does this work readily, willingly, cheerfully, and freely; and all this proves him to be able to save; for though the impetration of salvation is by his death, the application of it is owing to his interceding life; had he died and not lived again, he could not have saved to the uttermost; his life is the security of his people's, and he lives for them, and as their representative; the blessed, effects of which they constantly enjoy.
    Matthew Henry

    5. There is a change in that covenant of which the priesthood was a security and the priest a surety; that is, a change in the dispensation of that covenant. The gospel dispensation is more full, free, perspicuous, spiritual, and efficacious, than that of the law. Christ is in this gospel covenant a surety for us to God and for God to us, to see that the articles be performed on both parts He, as surety, has united the divine and human nature together in his own person, and therein given assurance of reconciliation; and he has, as surety, united God and man together in the bond of the everlasting covenant. He pleads with men to keep their covenant with god, and he pleads with God that he will fulfil his promises to men, which he is always ready to do in a way suitable to his majesty and glory, that is, through a Mediator.
    Does not Christ and the Spirit intercede for us and on our behalf? Yes. I just don't remember hearing anyone say that Christ loved us and caused the Father to love us if that is what you are speaking about. And that is why I made my first statement the way I did.
    You prove my very point! Christ and the Spirit intercede for us and on our behalf, not to make the Father love us, but to make the Father accept us, to justify us based on the merit and virtue of Christ.
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    That is what I have been saying. Go back and reread what I have stated and the passages I have been trying to affirm your conclusion with.

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    Brother, I obviously read too much into your words. Sorry about that! But was there something in my text that bothered you?
    Samuel
    Without a church
    Lahti, Finland

    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    Nothing seemed to bother me. I just didn't know there was a teaching that Christ had to petition the Father to Love the Elect. That surprised me. It surprises me even more you heard it from the Reformed Camp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Nothing seemed to bother me. I just didn't know there was a teaching that Christ had to petition the Father to Love the Elect. That surprised me. It surprises me even more you heard it from the Reformed Camp.
    Well, I haven't heard it from any statement of faith, but rather from individual persons. Everyone makes mistakes, when trying to be quick to make a response.
    Last edited by InSlaveryToChrist; 02-11-2011 at 06:56 AM.
    Samuel
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    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    Samuel, your statement sounds right enough to me, except for the part about how lots of people get this wrong.

    I suppose that in their eagerness to affirm how fully the atonement appeases God's wrath, some might slip into saying it causes God to turn from hating us to loving us. That would be a careless choice of words. But don't think such a slip would go far or last long, if for no other reason than the fact that John 3:16 is so well known. For that matter, the 1 John 4 verses Randy pointed out also come up fairly often among those who love to preach the atonement. So I guess I agree with your rant, but I'm not sure how necessary it is. Have you really heard this slip-up all that often?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    Samuel, your statement sounds right enough to me, except for the part about how lots of people get this wrong.

    I suppose that in their eagerness to affirm how fully the atonement appeases God's wrath, some might slip into saying it causes God to turn from hating us to loving us. That would be a careless choice of words. But don't think such a slip would go far or last long, if for no other reason than the fact that John 3:16 is so well known. For that matter, the 1 John 4 verses Randy pointed out also come up fairly often among those who love to preach the atonement. So I guess I agree with your rant, but I'm not sure how necessary it is. Have you really heard this slip-up all that often?
    I must say this issue doesn't come up very often among Christians who are all about God's love (I mean, in the extreme sense; using God's love at the expense of His other attributes). I see this is more of a problem among Christians who do a lot of study on God's Word, and are exposed to a lot of new truths, and sadly forget the essential truths of the Scriptures. Even I am guilty of the error of attributing God's love to Christ's Atonement. Which is actually evidence of a much bigger error, namely, forgetting the Gospel. And that all Christians are guilty of as often as they sin consciously. Because if we saw the Gospel in its true light, our minds would be so consumed by God's glory that we couldn't sin intentionally. And this gives us all the reason to remind ourselves of the Gospel daily, no, even at every moment of our lives. Because there is ultimately no other antidote to sin than the Gospel.
    Samuel
    Without a church
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    "To doubt God's mercy because our faith is feeble, is rather to rely upon our faith than upon the Lord. It is not the excellency and great measure of faith that makes us righteous before God, but Christ whom faith does receive and apprehend: which a weak faith can do as well as the strongest." ~John Ball (Puritan)

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    Quote Originally Posted by InSlaveryToChrist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack K View Post
    Samuel, your statement sounds right enough to me, except for the part about how lots of people get this wrong.

    I suppose that in their eagerness to affirm how fully the atonement appeases God's wrath, some might slip into saying it causes God to turn from hating us to loving us. That would be a careless choice of words. But don't think such a slip would go far or last long, if for no other reason than the fact that John 3:16 is so well known. For that matter, the 1 John 4 verses Randy pointed out also come up fairly often among those who love to preach the atonement. So I guess I agree with your rant, but I'm not sure how necessary it is. Have you really heard this slip-up all that often?
    I must say this issue doesn't come up very often among Christians who are all about God's love (I mean, in the extreme sense; using God's love at the expense of His other attributes). I see this is more of a problem among Christians who do a lot of study on God's Word, and are exposed to a lot of new truths, and sadly forget the essential truths of the Scriptures. Even I am guilty of the error of attributing God's love to Christ's Atonement. Which is actually evidence of a much bigger error, namely, forgetting the Gospel. And that all Christians are guilty of as often as they sin consciously. Because if we saw the Gospel in its true light, our minds would be so consumed by God's glory that we couldn't sin intentionally. And this gives us all the reason to remind ourselves of the Gospel daily, no, even at every moment of our lives. Because there is ultimately no other antidote to sin than the Gospel.
    Fair enough. I suppose I might see myself sometimes slipping into thinking that way, too. But not for long. The Gospel is about how we were enemies of God, deserving his wrath, totally unacceptable to him... yet he loved us anyway.
    Jack K.
    PCA, worshiping with some fine Baptists in Colorado
    Gospel Teacher website
    Show Them Jesus: Teaching the Gospel to Kids

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