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  • iplawrence 5:56 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  


    (This post is sort of a testing of the waters – not to see what you all think of the post itself, per se, but whether or not posts about theological “stuff” are interesting enough to warrant comments, thoughts, criticism, etc.)

    We talk a lot about God’s love as unconditional, but I think many of us, myself included, haven’t thought very deeply about what that means.  After all, even unbelievers like to say that God’s love is unconditional, and some even dare to apply this to mean that God loves all people equally, and therefore wouldn’t “send” anyone to hell.

    John Frame, professor at RTS in The Doctrine of God, says,

    “People sometimes ask whether God’s love is “unconditional.”  In one sense, God’s love is conditional, for God declares conditions that must be met by those who are seeking his blessings. Some don’t meet those conditions and receive eternal punishment.  But when God loves someone in Christ before the foundations of the world, God himself meets the conditions, so that that person will certainly be saved eternally.  To those who belong to Christ, there are no further conditions.  Nothing can separate us from his love.  In that sense, God’s saving love is utterly unconditional” (423)

    I’ve had to check myself often in the past few years to see if I’m getting my definitions from the Bible or from popular evangelicalism – unfortunately the two are not always the same. I agree with Frame because I think it’s true to how the Bible talks about God’s love.

    Definitely a worth while thing to put some thought into.  Praise God for meeting the condition for us that we could never have met ourselves!

    • Vengeful Pat 7:58 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love Frame’s thought here, but my only question would be… does God not also love those who he condemns to hell? I would say that he does. In the same way, he loves those who have committed themselves to Christ, but who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. It’s always been my understanding/belief that the banishing of many to hell is out of requirement. Those who have not been reconciled through Christ’s blood may not enter the kingdon of heaven because they lack the proper purity. Their sin would taint God.

      • steverawls 1:39 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Pat said taint.

    • Martin 8:45 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I think that Sproul actually does a better job of explaining the Love of God here than Fram does. Sproul talks about the 3 types of divine love. Two of the types are unconditional, and the third type we share in because of the work of Christ. Let me explain a bit further to give a better Idea to what Sproul means. The three types of Divine love Sproul speaks of are benevolence, beneficence, and the last which is complacent love. Complacent love is what most minister are referring to when they say Unconditional Love.

      Benevolence- we all share in God’s good will toward fallen humanity. Essentially sinner’s that are not covered by the blood of Christ are still living despite their sinful state that is gracious and merciful of God in and of itself.

      Beneficence – good acts- Everyone sinner and saint receive good kind acts from the hand of God.

      Complacent Love- Sproul uses complacent not as we know it today, but as a love that is “without measure or qualification” There is more to complacent love than this but its crazy to wrap my mind around, and I am at work. God demonstrats his complacent love for us in that, “while we were still Sinners Christ died for us”

      • iplawrence 1:24 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yeah, Sproul is definitely really good on this too, as he is with most everything. Frame says quite a bit more than what I explained above – he puts God’s love in three categories as well: God’s self love – the love which existed within the Trinity before creation and still exists, his universal love – his love for all mankind expressed in common grace and in the opportunity to believe the gospel (Mt 5:45), and his saving love – love uniquely expressed toward those whom he gives new life (Eph 2:4). Wish I could write more, gotta run!

      • mashbaugh 8:00 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        That’s something I’ve been thinking about some too. When Jesus says in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” That is saying we will be loved if we love him. Is that a different kind of love then the love in John 3:16?

        For example, my Cutco boss, who I enjoy and is 20 years old tells me he wants to grow in faith and that he wants to do more good because he wants God to love him more. I tell him that God loves him regardless, two other guys agree with me who are a part of the conversation (one of which is either an Israeli Christian, or an Israeli jew, and a Mormon guy, that’s another story). But Jesus said we are loved him if we love Him. I guess my next move should’ve been to talk about sin and being justified by faith alone. It didn’t go there. Regardless again, pray that Brian (my boss) would be called by Jesus and that I can preach the gospel to him. If only I was a better Cutco salesman, then he would believe.

        • Vengeful Pat 9:56 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink

          I am wondering… it says “He who loves me will be loved by my father”, but does that mean that if you do not love Jesus, you will not be loved by the father? I’m not sure it implies that. I think you are safe in telling Brian that God loves him. If God IS love, then wouldn’t he have no choice but to act as love to everyone/anyone?

        • crapsack 11:34 pm on January 21, 2010 Permalink

          Mark, the bible is a double-edged sword. Does that make it sharper than Cutco knives? Ask your boss that. Boom. I just blew your mind.

        • mashbaugh 3:13 am on January 22, 2010 Permalink

          Scott, my mind is blown.

        • mashbaugh 3:13 am on January 22, 2010 Permalink

          PS. Scott, I don’t think you have to be crapsack, but that’s up to you. Others might respond to that comment by saying it’s not up to you…

        • iplawrence 1:47 am on January 23, 2010 Permalink

          I’m going to think about this some more and maybe post something further next week. I’ll say for now with regard to John 14:21 – the passage is chock full of the exclusivity of the love of the Father for those who receive the Son. Verse 23 says, “Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” A condition followed by a response if the condition is met. Does this mean the gospel is legalism? We know that it can’t mean that, so we have to keep pressing to understand this better.

        • Vengeful Pat 7:33 pm on January 25, 2010 Permalink

          Again, I’m not sure I agree. Maybe the translation is poor, but for a true “cause and effect” statement, it should have been written, “If anyone will be loved by my father, he will love me and keep my word, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” But it’s not written that way. I’d be more inclined to think that Jesus is inferring a specific kind of love only given by the Father to those who love him. I don’t have the original Greek or Latin, so it could just be the translation, but if not then I don’t think you can infer that in order to receive God’s love, you must love Jesus. I guess you could also claim that God and Jesus are the same, so then it would be correct to say that you cannot love God without also loving Jesus, but then you have to wonder why Jesus bothers to make a distinction between the father and himself. I’m dizzy.

          At any rate, I think it’s probably most wise to include what you know from the whole Bible, and then decide if it makes more sense for God to only love those who love Jesus, who for God to love all mankind. It’s hard to get past, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The one being loved in this statement is the world, so it’s tough to put a qualifier from a passage later stating that God doesn’t actually love the world, but only a select portion who love and obey Jesus.

        • iplawrence 3:02 am on January 26, 2010 Permalink

          Pat, I’m not sure that we’re disagreeing. You say:

          “I’d be more inclined to think that Jesus is inferring a specific kind of love only given by the Father to those who love him.”

          That’s exactly what I’m saying. I completely affirm that God loves everyone. But I also believe that God has loved some in a unique way. Those who love Christ and obey his commands (one in the same) are those who receive this unique love, the Father’s love and Christ’s love – i.e., salvation (“we will come to him and make our home with him”). The only way this isn’t legalism is if God himself grants grace unto faith and repentance.

          PS – I anyone still paying attention to this other than Pat and I? or should we just email each other?

        • Martin 9:45 pm on January 26, 2010 Permalink

          Not legalism. It is saying though that those that love Christ will keep his commandments. This isn’t Legalism. Its true Love is the greatest motivator. The more we recognize the love of Christ toward us the more our faith is strengthened and the more we desire to do his will and works.

        • mashbaugh 5:37 pm on January 28, 2010 Permalink

          Ian, one who has taken Greek, help us out… They are different Greek words for love, but that’s about all I got. hgaphsen is for 3:16 and agapwn is 14:21. That’s the extent of my Greek I found on a website.

        • iplawrence 11:53 pm on January 28, 2010 Permalink

          same greek work, different form. The greek is not part of the issue here, the esv translation is fine, as i’m sure the NIV is too (havent checked it). It’s more of a systematics question – looking at the evidence throughout Scripture and bringing it to bear on individual verses.

        • Vengeful Pat 4:18 pm on February 1, 2010 Permalink

          I agree with your last statement to me Ian, I think we are coming from the same place. I think I am just fired up about this subject because we’ve been going over Romans in our Bible study and I think I’m just about the only one in the group who weights free will higher than predestination and believes the Bible speaks more to the former and special cases to the latter, so I’m a little defensive these days when I think someone is trying to put God’s love in a box (which I now realize you obviously weren’t).

        • iplawrence 3:14 am on February 2, 2010 Permalink

          Dear Pat, just for the sake of showing all my cards, I’m definitely coming from a Calvinistic perspective. That being said, I certainly don’t consider myself to have perfectly worked out all of these doctrines/issues (as if I ever will!) to the point that I don’t need to be challenged. I’m extremely sympathetic to anyone who is truly going to the text to determine what they believe is true and what is false. I’ve needlessly offended enough people in the past with a careless Calvinism to be very careful how I approach these doctrines with people who disagree. All that to say, keep the challenges coming 🙂 I hope that we can be sharpened to challenged to think harder about this stuff.

      • The Wild Card 12:51 am on February 2, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I knew you were an Armenian Pat!! Consider our phone date cancelled! So I guess you’re not joining the group “Facebook Calvinists: The Group That Chooses You”? 🙂

        • Vengeful Pat 3:21 pm on February 2, 2010 Permalink

          Haha… just give me a chance Lee! I swear I’m not 100% Armenian! Honestly, though as far as the 5 points of Calvinism go, that’s the only one where I’m not on board. I’m more of a 4-point Calvinist. I am a partial man, Lee, and I need you to fill the hole where the 5th point would go. Okay this is starting to sound like porn, so I’m going to stop typing now.

  • Vindictive Pat 2:55 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    Casino Royale 

    Two weekends ago, my company had our Holiday Party. I know, it makes perfect sense to have it in mid-January. Anyway, I just thought I would share the only picture that Erin, Hunter, Angela, or myself show up in. It’s Hunter, waiting expectantly to figure out what to do with all the tickets he has won. Hunter was the legitimate Texas Hold’Em winner at our table (or at least close… Erin might have beat him). I lost all my chips, but the dealer was still cool enough to give me some pity tickets.

    Moments Before Hunter Wins A New Digital Camera

  • Hunter D 12:30 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply  

    original batman 

    I watched the original batman movie the other day and it is ridiculously awesome. Here is a scene that I’ve edited so that I can use it on our morning announcements to promote yl at our school. Eventually I’ll make it better (without the watermark). If you want to, you can be praying for lee-davis young life (the first club in probably 10 years is going to be on Feb. 8th).

    • iplawrence 1:12 pm on January 19, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Amazing, hunter. I’ll be praying.

      • scott 6:59 pm on January 20, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        i’m just amped yall can promote YL in morning announcements.

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