- - - - The LOVE of GOD - - - -
WHAT ARE THE 5 LOVES OF GOD?
Many agree that people often abuse the idea of God's love for their own motives, even if subtle. But most people would never think about the idea of God's love as 'difficult'. If you don't think it's a tricky topic, read further...
Let’s admit it: just a little thinking, and it strikes us that the love of God is a strange, even seemingly inconsistent thing. Like this...
>>> A phrase we hear so often is that God 'hates the sin, but loves the sinner'.
But if what the Bible says is important, and it is our only infallible standard of how to live and think about life (let’s admit it, without it life for us would be a cloudy muddle of personal opinion and esoteric ideas, as it is for most people on this planet), we run into a problem with that little phrase: because once you actually read the Bible, you discover that there are countless places where it says that God hates the sin and the sinner!
No less than 15 times in the first 50 Psalms, for example, God says that his wrath is on sinners, and he hates the wicked (which is what a sinner is). The New Testament amplifies this, not soften it, and contains some of the most violent passages in all of literature (e.g. 2 Thess. 1:6-9; Rev. 14:8-12).
>>> But this runs us head first into the fact that the Bible does also say that God loves everyone. The most well-known is John 3:16, ‘for God so loved the world that he gave is One and Only Son that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life’.
And the 'world' here means the bad world - which is basically the people in it, who've made the world so bad. So how can the Bible say that God loves everyone… but at the same time that he hates sinners?
We can't do 'pick and mix' here, the way many people use the people, and play one verse off against another! That would be unfair. No, we have to look deeper...
Ironically, those today who over-accentuate God's love the most (compared to all his other important, wonderful qualities), are often those who understand this deep and tremendous love of God the least!
For starters, they often ignore the strongest love-expression the Bible talks about... And so in the end, God's truly special love (the one that makes all the world's difference) becomes shallow and one-dimensional in the hands of many professing modern Christians - instead of the rich and bracing power it truly is. But how can we avoid the same blunder?
Many well-meaning scholars in the past have approached this topic with word studies in Classical Greek - using words like agape and philia, and trying to mine them for meaning. But today we know that kind of approach doesn’t work, and contradicts what we know about ancient Greek - and about the good principles of Bible interpretation. No, like with everything else, the meaning of God's love needs to be established with reference to the contexts where it is described in the Bible, not by overloading some Greek words with more weight than they can carry! ... And we need to take all of what the Bible says about the love of God, full-blast, and not try to play one aspect of his love off against another.
Ask for God is Love - and Why We Don't Understand It CD at TTTorders@truthtotell.net