||2018-08-23 20:59:39, 조회 : 94, 추천 : 39
| Rediscovering God's Love|
Part 1 - Chapter 1 - A Question of Balance
Truly we have been blessed to be here once again! We are continuing our book, Rediscovering God’s Love, by the author Frank Allred, and we begin part one, titled “The Nature of Divine Love,” of the book with chapter 1, A Question of Balance.
And the author begins the chapter with verses coming from Acts 20: 26-27, “I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
As we have stated last week, the aim, or the goal, for our book is in order to get the authenticate message of the Bible. And the author opens up this chapter by telling us that there have been two common ways people have made the Bible inauthentic. One way, which is the most commonly known way, is by either taking a very general view or even going as far as to omit certain parts of the Bible. Taking a very general view such as building a theology on a single verse and saying, “God’s love” this and that. Or even omitting certain parts of the Bible in order to make the Bible appear “less offensive.” But the least common way, although it does appear common when you think about it, are what the author termed as “half-truths.” This comes about when a person looks too narrowly into one single doctrine and builds a whole theology out of it. Now, this may have sounded very similar, however, there is a key difference in both ways of making the Bible inauthentic. And with that out of the way, now we may enter our first topic in this chapter.
Love and Judgment
Would we be able to understand the concept of “light” if we did not have darkness? I mean, just imagine a world that is never “dark,” would we know what “light” is? Similar sentiment can be said for things like “success” and “failure.” And with that point, it would be meaningless for us to talk about God’s redeeming love if there is no such thing as sin or judgment – it would be utterly useless. Unfortunately, many of our contemporary teachers and pastors love to spread the belief that God’s love removes the need for judgment or by removing the idea of sin.
The belief now seems to be that by playing down the gravity of sin, God’s love is magnified. Where does this belief come from? It comes from the minds of unbelievers who are determined to persuade themselves that since God is good he will overlook their sins – I mean, how could a loving God send anyone to hell? That wouldn’t be “loving” and more so “contradictory.”
Another reason for playing down the gravity of human sin in the sight of God is sometimes due to ignorance. Unfortunately, there are some who pick up the task of preaching and teaching who have neither the knowledge nor the ability to do the job. Others however are fully aware of the holiness of God and his intense hatred of sin, and yet their courage fails them when they face their congregation. Whatever the reason may be, however, the practice of watering down the reality of God’s judgment is now so common that many would-be preachers think that this is how the good news should be spread.
And so the first thing we need to properly relearn is that to understand the greatness of God’s redeeming love, it is also necessary to understand the gravity of human sin, which we will look at in Chapter 10. Our infinitely holy God cannot remain indifferent to it. For it states, in John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.” And so what we should properly understand is the fact that unbelievers will not respond to the redeeming love of God until they understand the weight of their sins. And if there is a response, it is most likely based on “feeling good about being with church people,” “a good vibe,” or something like that.
Love and Repentance
Once the gravity of sin is silenced, then naturally will be the demand for repentance. And if the demand for repentance is silenced, then the call to believe the gospel is meaningless. The idea that we need to first give them a diluted version of the gospel and then teach them about sin and repentance later is ridiculous. And if we are arrogant enough to think we can improve the gospel’s appeal by removing one aspect of it that is considered to be “offensive,” we definitely won’t stop there. Eventually we won’t know where to stop and when one doctrine goes out the window then soon all doctrines will follow. What we will end up with is a misrepresentation of God’s love – as we see it today.
Basic gospel truths like the gravity of sin and the divine demand for repentance should not be removed in this manner. It simply isn’t possible for us to remove one part of the Bible without affecting the whole. Like a corner stone in a building – if one stone is removed, eventually all the other stones will become loose and the building will collapse. To suggest that the building would be more attractive by removing a few corner stones would be ridiculous.
Some serious researching of the Scriptures on this topic is long overdue. And we can start with the story of those Galileans, presumably Jews, who come to offer their sacrifices at the temple. For some reason Pilate, the Roman governor, killed the Galileans and mixed their blood with their own sacrifices. This is an extremely sacrilegious act deserving the strongest condemnation. But when Jesus heard of this act He said, in Luke 13: 1 – 5, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered in this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them – do you think they were more guilty than all the other living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
This is the solemn truth that God will never meet unrepentant sinners with love but only judgment needs to be restated. And if we are honorable people then we shall not avoid it. The inability for so many to see the danger, or their intentions to avoid it, and simply carry on has led for us to be in this doctrine turmoil. And the speed of the decline is now increasing so much that to retrieve what has been lost will not be easy.
There is an important lesson we must understand about God’s love. There is a clear distinction made in the Bible between God’s indiscriminate love and His selective love. His indiscriminate love is seen in the way He loves and cares for the world He made, overruling the affairs of men so that all things are brought to their appointed ends. Jesus speaks of God’s indiscriminate love in Matthew 5:45, “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous’” When we compare that with what Jesus says in Matthew 11:25, we see a contrast, “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Here Jesus is speaking on God’s selective love. It was no accident that the gospel was hidden from some and revealed to others. So if we are talking about God’s natural blessings it is perfectly legitimate to say that God does certainly love everyone. But if we use these words in the context of those who are redeemed, then we would be only confusing those who hear us and giving them a false sense of security and allow for them to never turn from their ways.
A word of caution is to be mentioned here, however. The same can be said if we focus too much on God’s redeeming love. If we focus too much on God’s redeeming love, we forget that, in Psalm 145:9, “the LORD is good to all.” This is especially a danger for those of us who rejoice in the fact that redeeming love is electing love, which is God choosing those on whom He will have mercy upon. Unfortunately, there are Christians who have fallen so deeply into God’s redeeming love that they have persuaded themselves that God chose them for a reason. As a result, they became rather self-centered in their outlook. Their duty to love others – especially those who disagreed with them – were often put aside. If they had a Biblical balance then this would not have happened.
The Whole Will of God
In Acts 20: 26 – 27, Apostle Paul makes an incredible claim to the Ephesian elders: “I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” Paul was confident that he could not be held responsible if any of those who has heard him should perish because he had not proclaimed one doctrine of God at the expense of another. Writing to the Corinthians, in 2 Corinthians 4:1 – 2, he said the same: “Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have obtained this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”
We must aim to be like Apostle Paul in this regard. This is the standard we must uphold. How many of us can, honest to God, make this claim as Apostle Paul did? How many of us can say that they have not omitted, removed, or silenced the word of God for the “comfort” of the people? Unfortunately, in our times, not many of us can say that. Diligence in the study of the Bible and Bible study books will ensure that there are no deficiencies in our message due to ignorance. Integrity will ensure that we do not deliberately omit anything in the mistaken belief that we can make the message more acceptable. We must be courageous, which will ensure that we do not censor nor tone ourselves down in front of the doctrines that may be considered “offensive.”
And this concludes the very first chapter of our book, A Question of Balance, which I hope that this has been an informative lesson where we truly begin to understand God and His Love.
1. What are the two methods of making the Word of God inauthentic? What are the differences and similarities of these two methods?
2. Do we need “sin” in order to understand God’s love? Why or why not?
3. Should God ask for repentance when He is a “loving God?” Explain.
4. What is the distinction made between God’s indiscriminate love and God’s redeeming love?
5. What does Apostle Paul claim in Acts 20: 26 – 27 and 2 Corinthians 4: 1 – 2?