Does God Love Us Because of Christ?

Discussion in 'Calvinism & The Doctrines of Grace' started by InSlaveryToChrist, Feb 10, 2011.

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  1. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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
     
  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    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.


     
  3. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Did you honestly read the whole text before commenting?
     
  4. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    yes. I did. And I read it twice.
     
  5. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    This is interesting. So you do believe that the Son begged the Father to love us because of His Atonement?
     
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

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

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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).
     
  8. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member



    The Son acts according to the Father. The Father loves and so the Son loves.
     
  9. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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 ----------

    Is this critic or what? Maybe I misunderstood you.
     
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

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

    Here is a small portion of Calvin...

    John Gill
    Matthew Henry

    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.
     
  11. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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.
     
  12. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    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.
     
  13. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    Brother, I obviously read too much into your words. Sorry about that! But was there something in my text that bothered you?
     
  14. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    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.
     
  15. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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: Feb 11, 2011
  16. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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?
     
  17. InSlaveryToChrist

    InSlaveryToChrist Puritan Board Junior

    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.
     
  18. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    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.
     
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