Posted by: forbygrace | March 11, 2009

Rightly Dividing the Love of God – Part 2

In looking at God’s love, the point I want to bring up is to carefully consider whether we are rightly understanding God’s love for the lost when we walk up to a lost person and say, “Jesus loves you”. It’s not that Jesus doesn’t love them in a certain sense; it’s that to only say that is woefully inadequate. We read in Psalm 7:11: “God is a just judge, And God is angry with the wicked every day.” God shows compassion and love in being patient but God’s disposition is not the same for a believer as an unbeliever. The unbeliever is one who loves sin more than God; it is said of such in John 8:44: “You are of your father the devil and the desires of your father you want to do”. The simple fact is that while a sinner persists in unbelief, he is setting himself up as God’s enemy. God often shows mercy and patience but He is not obligated to extend it–it doesn’t matter how benevolent, religious, or “good” they otherwise are. The only thing that keeps an unbeliever out of hell at any moment is God’s uncovenanted, unobliged forbearance.

So the pressing question is should we present this truth to lost people. Is it vital for a person to understand that they have made themselves God’s enemy in order that they might be saved? I believe that there is no other way for a person to see they need the Savior then to see that they are bad people in trouble with a good God. The true need a sinner has for believing in Christ is not to have a life that makes sense or heals a hurt in their past—it’s to be reconciled to God. The ultimate problem for a sinner is not ignorance of God’s attribute of love; it’s separation from God because of their sin. Sin isn’t just some philosophical construct whereby we can say, “oh well, nobody’s perfect except God; I guess I fell short”. Sin is our declaration of war against a holy God—it represents personal, willful acts that are dreadfully provoking to God. The person without Christ is in an extremely dangerous position. It is because of this that we must be careful to rightly divide the word when witnessing (as a side note, you may be witnessing even when you think the person is saved, when in fact they are not but are deceived).

So where does the love of God fit in all this? The love of God shines brightest when viewed against the backdrop of sin. Romans 5:8 tells us: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. So you see, to talk of God’s love without discussing sin doesn’t really communicate His love at all. If we tell a person who has no grasp of his sin that God loves them, we are not really telling them anything about God’s love because His love is a holy love. His love can pardon sin through Christ, but it will not overlook sin. So the next time you have an opportunity to tell someone God loves them, think about all that goes with it.


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