FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 23)
God WILL have mercy, but ONLY on those whom He wills to have mercy upon (see Ex. 33:19). The direction God’s mercy will take is not governed, or determined, by men, but solely by God’s will: “…I will have mercy on whom I WILL have mercy…” (Rom. 9:15 cf. Mic. 7:18; Jn. 5:21). There are no other factors at play because there can be no other factors at play. God’s mercy is conditioned solely on God’s will. We see from this that God’s love is not something which blankets the whole earth, but individually covers only those who are His chosen children scattered among all nations. The Lord does not clothe the world with one oversized Robe of Righteousness, but with individual Robes which have been provided for, and given to, His elect children. As with the priests in 2 Chronicles 6:41, those whom God calls His “…chosen generation, a holy priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…” (1 Pet. 2:9 cf. Rev. 1:5,6; 5:9,10; 20:6), are “…clothed with salvation…” (cf. Psa. 132:9; Isa. 61:10). This “is the effect and consequence of a sanctified character” (see 2 Thess. 2:13; Jn. 17:17). God’s love is particular and personal, but never universal. God’s love is specific and predetermined, but never all encompassing. God’s love has a predetermined destiny toward those He wills to be merciful to. If God loved all without exception then it would be a case of all being drawn to Him by His lovingkindness. The proverbial, and eternal, spanner in the works of Arminianism is that the unpreventable sequel to God’s love is that all those whom He loves will, inevitably, all love Him. The principle taught in 1 John 4:19 “We love Him, because He first loved us”, is that none can love Him if He has not loved them first, and that all whom God does love will all love Him. The only way any man can genuinely love the true God is if his love is preceded by, and instigated by God’s love for the man. If God loved all without exception there would be no stopping Him from giving them all to His Son, and consequently, nothing could hinder them from coming to Christ, and loving Him. Seeing that this is patently not the case, it is a given that God does not love all, He does not love the world, but only those whom He has chosen out of the world to be His special people, His loved people. If God loved all, He would be the Father of all, and Satan would be the father of none. This, however, is quite impossible for Jesus plainly states that some were of their father, the Devil: “Ye are of your father the Devil…he was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth” (Jn. 8:44 cf. 1 Jn. 3:8). All are born, not as the children of God, not the children of God’s love, but children of God’s Wrath (see Eph. 2:3). There is no starting point to God’s love, nor can it ever end. God’s love is fixed in eternity. God’s love is not subject to change, it is not at the mercy of such elements as the will and whim of man, for it cannot be affected in any way by any force outside of God’s Sovereign will and purpose. God’s love is eternal, therefore, it is an unchangeable love. It does not begin when a man ‘chooses God’, but God’s discriminatory love existed, and was irremovably set toward His chosen, before the world began. Nothing can alter the fact that God loves those whom He has chosen to save, and He never knew/loved any who are not ultimately saved. Many there are, and have been, who are/were under the distinct impression that they loved the true God. However, the fact that they never believed the true God’s Gospel is the telling sign that the one they loved was never the God of that Gospel. Those who are in Hell today are experiencing God’s unending fury and Wrath. They are not loved by God, for they had never been loved by God, for they had never been drawn to Him by His loving kindness, and so, they could not possibly have ever loved Him. He does not know them because He does not love them.
God’s love does not begin with our ‘choosing’ Him, or our loving Him, otherwise salvation would not, could not, be by grace. God’s love begins with His Sovereign Will according to His Sovereign purpose. God’s love is from eternity past to eternity future. Nothing comes before God’s love, nothing comes before God’s grace, and nothing can occur before God’s will. Therefore, no outside force can motivate, put into effect, or cause the will of God to love those He loves. God’s love is an eternal love, and it is directed exclusively toward all those He has chosen to save, and subsequently given to His Son. It is not that God once loved everyone without exception, but because certain individuals did not choose to reciprocate that love He has withdrawn His love, but rather those who are eternally damned never were loved by God at all (see Matt. 7:23), for if they had been they would never have perished, for they would have all been among those He gave to, and preserved in, His Son, and so, the ones He loved: “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29; cf. Num. 23:19; Jn. 10:27-29; Heb. 13:8). God has chosen from before the foundation of the world—so that none will be mistaken and think that God has chosen them because of anything they have done—those whom He wanted to give to His Son for the purpose of salvation and preservation. These are the ones whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from the foundation of the world, whose inheritance is eternally reserved for them in Heaven (see 1 Pet. 1:3-6). While there is no verse which specifically states this, Revelation 17:8 speaks of those who shall wonder when they behold the Beast "...whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world..." If there are those whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, it stands to Biblical reason that those whose names are written in that Holy Book were written therein from the foundation of the world (see also Rev. 13:8; 20:15). Now, how pray tell can anyone in light of this Scripture possibly come to the conclusion that though there are many whose names have never been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they were nonetheless loved by God, and that Christ died for them!
The universal love of God for every individual born, and unborn, has absolutely no Scriptural backing whatsoever. Everything about God, and everything which His Word teaches shows the exact opposite: God does not love all, but only His chosen; He has not given all to His Son, but only His chosen; Christ does not pray for all, but only for those the Father has given Him; Christ did not die for all, but only the ones the Father loved and entrusted to Him. “The teaching of Holy Scripture is that the objects of God’s love will be effectually ‘called,’ ‘made sons’ and ‘partakers of His holiness’.” “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. FOR whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30 cf. Heb. 12:10; Jn. 1:12,13). Note the key word for in capital letters. God has predestinated some to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus, that Jesus might be the firstborn among many brethren FOR God will save all those whom He has predestined. Jesus states, in John 17:23, that the Father has loved those whom He has given to the Son as much as He has loved the Son Himself! “I in them, and thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (cf. Jn. 13:1). God DID NOT send His Son because He loved all without exception, but only those He has given to His Son. Indeed, these are the special people of God to whom He will allow no harm to come, hence His having chosen them out of the world, out from among those who will perish, given them to His Son, and predestined them to be those whom He would justify and glorify. The Lord’s chosen are: “…hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3 cf. Jd. 1:1).
Because of the distinction made in John 17:23, and in many other places, between the world, and those whom the Father has loved, it is evident that ‘the world’ mentioned in John 3:16 could not possibly be referring to every individual ever born, but is a reference to the world of the godly: those who would believe and be saved by the Son. The Bible speaks of the world of the godly and the world of the ungodly: “(God) spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:5). The world which was condemned, in Hebrews 11:7: “By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world…” is not a reference to all without exception, but the context shows it was the world of the ungodly to which Peter alludes in 2 Peter 2:5. “If then, there is a world of the ungodly there must also be a world of the godly. It is the latter who are in view in the passages we shall now briefly consider. ‘For the bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world’ (Jn. 6:33).” As we have shown, God’s giving is always connected to His loving (see Gal. 2:20; Eph. 5:2,25-27; 2 Thess. 2:16). “Now mark it well, Christ did not say, ‘offereth life unto the world’, but ‘giveth’. What is the difference between the two phrases? This: a thing which is ‘offered’ may be refused, but a thing ‘given’, necessarily implies its acceptance. If it is not accepted, it is not ‘given’, it is simply proffered.” Something given tells of a successful and completed act, and not that which is hoped will one day be accepted, and thus, fulfilled. The problem with the word ‘accepted’ is that it implies something which can only be successfully given if it is accepted, or is conditioned on its being accepted, which, in turn, draws the spotlight on man’s act of accepting, and away from God’s glorious act of giving. God’s giving eternal life to His beloved people is something which simply takes place because of God’s will. God’s giving is never conditioned on a man’s acceptance, for God’s giving has to do with God’s will and eternal purpose, and so, what God gives will always be received according to His will and purpose. When Saul (Paul) was shown the light on the Damascus road, he did not choose to see it, nor accept it, for he could not help but see and acknowledge it. The acceptance comes with the giving. It is all part of the gift, it is all part of the same package marked: GRACE. With the gift of eternal life comes also the certainty of its reception. Grace gives, and grace saves. Grace does not offer eternal life, grace gives eternal life because ETERNAL LIFE HAS BEEN FOREORDAINED FOR WHOMSOEVER THE LORD WILLS TO RECEIVE IT. No one knows the Father except those to whom the Son wills to reveal Him, so too, no one is saved except those to whom the Son gives eternal life. “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. Matt. 11:27; 28:18). Christ does not give eternal life to all flesh, but exclusively to those whom the Father has given Him. “‘All flesh’ is a Hebrew phrase, denoting the whole of humanity in its imperfection (see Gen. 6:12; Psa. 65:2; Isa. 40:5); ‘as many as’, is plainly restrictive, and limits the gift of eternal life to a certain number. Christ’s power undoubtedly extendeth further than to the elect, though to them only for salvation; He hath a power over reprobates and unbelievers to condemn them, as well as over His elect, to bring them to eternal life and salvation.” Christ’s giving eternal life to those whom the Father has given Him, is not some speculative and uncertain thing which hangs in the balance, something conditioned on, and pending a man’s free will decision, or any other work, for it is clear that eternal life is predetermined by God, and most certainly and assuredly given by Christ to all those whom the Father has given unto Him. God has indeed given the Lord Jesus power over all flesh, but He has ONLY given Him power to grant eternal life to all those whom the Father has given Him. Salvation is God’s call, not man’s. Christ will assuredly give eternal life, but only to those whom the Father has given to Him. John 17:2 “Literally says, ‘That all whom Thou gavest Him, He may give to them eternal life’ (cf. Jn. 17:6)." Those who will not receive eternal life are those whom the Father has not given to Christ.
If God did not reign as Sovereign King, then the most He could do is merely offer eternal life. God’s giving eternal life, His saving those whom He wills to save, His showing mercy only to those He wills to show mercy to, demonstrates conclusively that eternal salvation is never that which is offered, and its acceptance something which is left to, is dependent on, a man’s ‘independent free will’. God did not ask Paul if he would care to see the Light, He did not say He would show Paul the Light only if he was willing to see it. The Sovereign God Who has mercy only on those He wills to have mercy upon made an ‘executive decision’, He simply showed Paul the Light and the apostle could do nothing but see that Light. Whether Paul saw the Light or not, was not Paul’s choice, it was not his decision to make, but God’s alone. The seeing comes with the showing; the understanding and believing comes with the giving. The salvation decision was not Paul’s to make by choosing to see the Light, but the life-changing decision was made by God in His showing the Light! Salvation does not depend upon a person receiving it, but solely upon God GIVING it! The blessedness of receiving is always within, and comes with, the giving: it comes from the same Source! Repentance is a gift, believing is a gift (see 2 Tim. 2:25; 1 Pet. 1:21), etc. God is as responsible for the reception of His gifts as He is the giving of them. A man’s receiving anything from God is an evidence of God’s work in Him, otherwise, if a man’s receiving was his own work then all that God could do in a man’s life would ultimately depend on a man’s pre-eminent will, and not God’s Sovereign will. Eternal life is something which is bestowed. It is not that which can be taken, or refused, accepted or rejected. Significantly, “Light is the first thing in the new, as in the old creation.” Just as the light of creation came only by God, so too, the light of regeneration comes only by God, from God and at the behest of God. The giving of eternal life is fundamentally not a matter of man’s will, but God’s will. Thus, the whole of salvation is an act of God according to His will, and if it’s all God’s will, then it’s all God’s gift! He saves whom He wills to save. He gives to Christ those whom He wills to give to Christ, and Christ gives eternal life exclusively to them. There has never been a person whom God wanted saved that remained lost forever, and no one who is eternally lost was ever among those whom God willed to be saved. It is by Him that the gift is given, and it is by Him that His people believe. God gives the gift, and with it comes the gift/will to receive it. “...A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven” (Jn. 3:27). “…what hast thou that thou didst not receive?...” (1 Cor. 4:7 cf. Rom. 11:36; 1 Cor. 3:6). With God’s giving comes the receiving. God’s gift of Light to Paul caused him to see it. God’s gift of eternal life to His people causes them to receive it. With the giving comes the faith to believe and receive.
“John 6:33 is a Scripture that positively states Christ giveth life (spiritual, eternal life) ‘unto the world’. Now He does not give eternal life to the ‘world of the ungodly’ for they will not have it, they: do not want it. Hence, we are obliged to understand the reference in John 6:33 as being to ‘the world of the godly’, i.e., God’s own people.” 1 John 3:13, also, shows a distinction between those who are of the world, and the saints of God: “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you” (cf. 1 Cor. 6:2). God does not offer the gift of life, but gives it, and those to whom He gives it will receive it, just as all those the Father has given to Christ will come to Him. With the giving comes the willingness to receive. If one thinks that this is forcing into the Scriptures what they are simply not saying, I refer the reader to John 17 where Christ, praying to the Father, says “As thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. 1 Jn. 5:11). Here we see clearly that eternal life, which is Christ’s to give, and not for people to choose, is not given to everyone without exception, nor is it offered to every individual, but it is only given to those ones whom the Father giveth to the Son. Scripture never even raises the question of a man not receiving that which He is given by God, for such a concept undermines the Sovereignty of God. Salvation, according to the Scriptures, highlights the Sovereignty of God, and that what He wills WILL ALWAYS be done; whatever He gives IS ALWAYS received, for what sense would it make to give, if what is given is not received. That which is offered may be refused, but that which is given is that which is always received. Christ has been given power over all flesh, and He gives eternal life to all whom the Father has given Him. Salvation is the sole undertaking of God and is only conditioned upon His will, and no other’s. God makes His people willing by giving them eternal life. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power…” (Psa. 110:3) “This signifies the set time of love and life to every particular soul at conversion; which is a day for light, and a day of power; when the exceeding greatness of the power of God is put forth in the regeneration of them: and the people that were given to Christ by His Father, in the covenant of grace, and who, while in a state of nature, are rebellious and unwilling, are made willing to be saved by Christ, and Him only; to serve Him in every duty and ordinance; to part with their sins and sinful companions, and with their own righteousness; to suffer the loss of all things for Him; to deny themselves, and take up the cross and follow Him.” The success of such an act—the willingness of the people—all hinges on the Son giving eternal life to those the Father has given Him. The only people who shall be willing are God’s own people: Jesus said: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). John 6:37 and John 17:2 merged and paraphrased would read: ‘I give eternal life to all whom Thou hast given Me, and they shall all come to Me’. Thus, not only has a word study provided us with an accurate understanding of what John 3:16 is saying, a comparison with other Scriptures has also shown what John 3:16 is saying, as well as what it could not possibly be saying.
Returning now to the much feted whosoever of John 3:16. The word ‘whosoever’ though not in the original text, comes from the passage which is properly translated: ‘every the one believing’. It simply means ‘as many as’. As many as what? As many as believe! The word whosoever does not in any way allude to the meaning which has been forced upon it by those who have an agenda designed to present a false gospel to the unsuspecting, or by those who simply, and blindly, go with the flow of tradition, what they are told, by those they have elected to believe and trust in, rather than what God is saying. “There is no phrase or term in John 3:16 that indicates a universal ability to believe as is so often assumed by those reading this passage.” Such an ability to believe, present and alive in each and every individual, would conflict with many other passages in the Word of God, nay the whole of Scripture. It clashes with the very principle of salvation by grace through the gift of faith, and, therefore, the necessity of salvation by grace through faith which shows that it can come by no other means. Salvation being given by grace through faith is nothing less than a declaration of the fact that man can do nothing to get saved, does not seek God, and, therefore, could not possibly choose to be saved, or do anything to get himself saved, for man, the Scriptures state, is vanity, and is hopelessly lost, for he is dead in sins. The Lord does not help those who help themselves, for there is no man who can help himself. This phrase, which has even been given a phantom Scripture reference, Hezekiah 6:1 (there is no book of Hezekiah in the Bible), “…is eerily similar to Aesop’s Fable called, ‘Hercules and the Wagoneer’, which states, ‘The gods help them that help themselves’”. The Word of God declares “…verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity….surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11 cf. Isa. 57:12; 64:6; Rom. 3:9-12; 8:8). The true God is the Saviour of those who cannot, in any way, help themselves. Paul the apostle tells his hearers in Ephesians 4 that the Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Eph. 4:18 cf. Rom. 10:3). Ignorance of what? Ignorance of the truth. Ignorance of the true God and how He saves. Natural man’s understanding “…is naturally destitute of God, of the knowledge, fear, and grace of God; and of Jesus Christ, of the knowledge of Him, faith in Him, and love to Him; and of the Spirit and His graces; and it also points at the instability and changeableness of the human mind, in which sense man at his best estate was altogether vanity; as also the folly, falsehood, and wickedness of it in his fallen state…”
What God said would happen to man if he ate of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden DID ACTUALLY HAPPEN! “…by man came death…” (1 Cor. 15:21). Man suffered immediate, irreversible, spiritual death: an eternally irretrievable separation from God. Utterly cut off from the Lord of the universe, so much so, that he would no longer even desire Him, much less seek Him. The immediate evidence of this is shown in Genesis 3 when, upon hearing God walking in the Garden, Adam and Eve attempted to hide themselves from God (see Gen. 3:8). It is quite apparent from this that every man’s natural, immediate, instinct is not to come to the true God, but to flee from Him which is why the world is awash with people taking refuge in false gods, a practice which is tantamount to chasing a waterfall. Man, according to his sinful nature, does not seek or know the true God. Man is without Christ, without God, and without hope in this world, he sits in darkness being alienated from God, which is why Christ, in speaking to His disciples who asked Him who can be saved, replied “…with men this is impossible…” (Matt. 19:26). The Lord testifies to the fact that: “…light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…” (Jn. 3:19). Salvation can only be by the grace of God shown only toward those whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world. Salvation is of the Lord, therefore, salvation can only be of the Lord. Salvation is by grace, therefore, salvation can only be by grace. Salvation is through faith, therefore, salvation can only be through faith.
“…by Man came also the resurrection of the dead” (1 Cor. 15:21). Salvation is of the Lord, therefore, it cannot be of man, it cannot be conditioned on what a man does, for salvation is by the grace of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord, therefore, it is solely conditioned on the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord by grace, therefore, salvation can only be conditioned on the Lord, and come by grace. Salvation is “…by grace…not of yourselves…not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). Salvation is of the Lord by grace through faith, not by you through works. Salvation is by grace through faith, not by grace through works. “Salvation is by grace through faith without works.” God’s coming to a man causes the man’s view to be filled with God. What man is, does, or can do simply pale’s, not merely into insignificance, but into nothing, for when the grace of God arrives, a man’s heart, mind and soul are filled with God. Grace does not cause a man to look to himself—to what he can, and must do—but compels him to look to God, ALONE, and what HE has done, for ALL of salvation. God says: “Look unto ME, and be ye saved…FOR I AM GOD, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22). This Scripture clearly teaches that only God can save. Salvation can only be of the Lord. Any man who looks to himself, who he is, what he is doing, or what he has done, is a man who is not saved. Salvation is only from the Lord, therefore, it can only come by the Lord, for only the Lord can save. Only God has the power to save, therefore, look unto Him, and ONLY Him, for your salvation. Do not trust in yourselves, or in anything you can do, but trust ONLY in God, for HE is God, and only God has the power to save. The saved man’s thoughts turn to God alone, for it is only God Who is his Saviour. The grace of God does not direct a man’s thoughts to what must be done to get saved, or stay saved, but fills the man’s very life with praise to God, and giving God all the glory for what God has done to save, and keep, His people forever. Saving His people, and keeping them saved, is what God does by grace alone. The truth of the grace of God is undeniable, and it is unchallengeable, for it is eternal. No force in the entire universe can ever change the simplicity, or the eternal principle of God saving by grace alone. Without God, without grace, salvation—getting saved, being saved, and remaining saved—is altogether an utter impossibility. Without the will, grace, and love of God which gives life to a man, salvation is completely inaccessible.
“The present tense of the participle in John 3:16 should be emphasized...John’s use of the present tense ‘believeth’ is very significant, especially in light of his use of the aorist to refer to false believers.” Remember, John 3:16 does not say ‘whosoever will believe’, but rather the original Greek says ‘every the one believing’. It is not talking about ‘whosoever will believe’, but rather ‘every the one that does believe’. “The ones who receive eternal life are not those who believe once, but those who have an on-going faith. This is his common usage in the key soteriological passages (Jn. 3, 6, 10). When one examines Christ’s teaching concerning who it is that truly believes in this fashion we discover that it is those who are given to Him by the Father (see Jn. 6:37-39) who come to Him and who believe in Him in saving fashion. ‘Believeth’ in John 3:16 should not be taken as the one holding on to God constantly lest he would let loose and fall. It rather indicates that, once one believes, he continues to believe, for he has eternal life in him (see Jn. 3:15 cf. Jn. 10:28).” Once the believing one is placed in Jesus, “It is God Who holds him firmly without someone being able to snatch him away, for if this could happen then there would be the acknowledgement that someone is mightier than Christ, which cannot be. Verse 18 continues the point by insisting that the one believing in Christ is not condemned/judged (Greek: krinetai). However, the one not believing has been judged already because he has not believed in the name of Christ (both ‘has been judged’ and ‘has not believed’ are perfect tense, indicating a completed action that is not awaiting a future fulfillment). Just as Paul teaches that the wrath of God is continually being revealed against children of wrath, John tells us that the wrath of God abides upon those who do not obey the Son (see Jn. 3:36 cf. 2 Thess. 1:7-9). If one has inserted the concept of ‘universal individualism’ into ‘world’ in verse 16, and then insists (against John’s regular usage) that the same meaning be carried throughout a passage, such would raise real problems. However, there is no need to do this. When we see the world as the entirety of the kinds of men (Jew and Gentile, or as John expresses it in Revelation 5:9, every ‘kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation’ = world) the passage makes perfect sense. God’s love is demonstrated toward Jew and Gentile in providing a single means of salvation for both (Paul’s main point in Romans 3-4), so too it is that He will accomplish that purpose in the sending of the Son. He will save ‘the world’, that is, Jews and Gentiles.”
The word ‘whosoever’, in John 3:16, should never be isolated, but must always be seen in conjunction with the word that follows it, ‘believeth’, as well as in its proper context. The context of John chapter 3, shows Jesus speaking with one of the religious rulers of the Jewish people, Nicodemus, who, along with all Israel, expected the Messiah would be sent for the Jews, and no other people. But the word ‘world’ and the ‘whosoever believeth’ out of that world is a reference to both Jews AND Gentiles—non-Jews. Jesus uses the word ‘world’ specifically to show that God’s elect, whom the Messiah was sent to save, do not come exclusively from the land of Israel, but are taken from among ALL nations (cf. Rev. 5:9). This matches perfectly with what was prophesied in John 11:51,52: “...that Jesus should die for that nation (Israel); and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad” (see also Acts 15:9). Clearly, the context shows that ‘die for that nation’ means Christ dying for those who are the children of God from that nation, Israel, as well as the children of God that were scattered among the nations of the world. “This can mean none other than the elect of God, those chosen in, and given to, Christ, scattered abroad amongst both Jews and Gentiles, and Christ was to die for both...” Notice how Christ’s dying is linked to His gathering together the children of God, and how His death is exclusively for the children of God. Christ did not die for anyone who was not given to Him by His Father, but only for the children of God from the nation of Israel, and the nations of the world. This means that atonement was only made for the sins of the children of God. Christ died in their stead, therefore, eternal redemption has been obtained only for the children of God, who did not choose Him, but who were chosen of Him, and given to His Son to die for. The ransom has been paid for those whom the Father chose to love, seen in His giving only that special group of people to His Son. Importantly, Jesus dying for ‘that nation’, Israel, does not mean that He laid down His life for everyone in, or of, Israel, but the second half of this verse reveals that He laid down His life for the ‘children of God’ from Israel, as well as the ‘children of God’ who were ‘scattered abroad’—those who were not of the Jewish fold, but who are the elect from all other nations: “…I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd” (Jn. 10:15,16). “This reference to the world of the Gentiles continues throughout the New Testament (see Acts 10:45; 11:8; 15:3). Is the expression ‘the Gentiles’ in these verses universal? Is it indefinite or absolute? Are all Gentiles granted repentance? Is the Holy Spirit poured out on all Gentiles? And can all Gentiles be declared converted?” The answer to all these questions is a resounding ‘NO’! The Gentiles mentioned in these verses from Acts are not every Gentile without exception, but those among them who believed. “God...did visit the Gentiles TO TAKE OUT OF THEM a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets…” (Acts 15:14,15 cf. Acts 15:7-9; Amos 9:11,12; Rev. 7:9). Who are the people God has taken out of the Gentiles? The children of God, those described by Caiaphas as those who were scattered abroad. God did not take all the Gentiles to be a people for His name, but only some. God has chosen certain people from among all people to become His people, His new nation. Similar language is used in 1 Kings 8:53 concerning the Jews: “For Thou didst separate them from among all the people of the earth, to be Thine inheritance…”
Typical of the Lord’s freeing His people through Christ His Son is the following Psalm: “Thou hast with Thine arm redeemed Thy people…” (Psa. 77:15). “The people of Israel out of Egypt, which was typical of the redemption of the Lord's people by Christ, the arm and power of God" (see Isa. 53:1; Acts 8:10; 1 Cor. 1:24). Whom do you think God took out from among the Gentiles? His children!! Those whom He loved, of course! He did not take all the Gentiles to be a people for His name, which instantly shows that He did not want all of them, He did not love all of them, hence, God did not choose all of them, for not all were His children scattered abroad, but only those whom He loved, and willed to save and forever be His people. God’s love is a discriminating love. He loves His children from all nations, but He hates all those who are children of His Wrath. Paul, writing to the churches of Galatia told them “…God would justify the heathen…saying In thee (Abraham) shall all nations be blessed” and “That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles…” (Gal. 3:8,14). Are all individuals of all nations blessed? No. Are all Gentiles saved? No. Again, Scripture speaks of people from all nations, people taken from among the Gentiles, and not every single individual Gentile from the nations of the world. Scriptures like Acts 15:14 set the proper tone and context for the contents of Scriptures which deal with salvation by showing that God has taken not all, but some, Gentiles from every nation to be His people. Such people are the ones the Father has given to the Son, and for whom the Son prays for and died for. God has called His people out of the darkness of this world “…into His marvellous Light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God…” (see 1 Pet. 2:9,10). Scripture states: “…God…now commandeth all men (not only Jews) every where to repent” (Acts 17:30), it is clear that “…He hath given orders, that the doctrine of repentance, as well as remission of sins, should be preached to all nations, to Gentiles as well as Jews; and that it becomes them to repent of their idolatries, and turn from their idols, and worship the one, only, living and true God”.
“Nicodemus believed that the Messiah’s mission was only for Israel. But here in John 3:16 the Lord says, ‘God so loved the world’. What does ‘world’ mean? Every single individual living on earth, including mountains, trees, rivers, sea, rocks, animals and everything in the world that you see? No. Remember Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus, how does a Jew, a ruler of Israel understand the meaning of ‘the world’. TO NICODEMUS ‘THE WORLD’ MEANS GENTILES!” What Nicodemus heard was ‘God so loved Gentiles, as well as Jews’. Was every Gentile intended? No, for John 11:51,52 and Acts 15:14 tell us that only the chosen Gentiles were the children of God, and, therefore, the loved ones chosen of God. The key to the proper, Biblical, understanding of John 3:16 is not to rely on one’s own comprehension of what the word ‘world’ means, not to allow oneself to be moved by a contemporary understanding of it, but to comprehend it, to be cognisant of it, in light of how Nicodemus understood it. “A good example is when Christians are gathered together we say we are of Christ but those outside are of the world, it is the same concept the Jews had. They were the children of Abraham and the world was the Gentiles. The nations or the world was distinct from the Jews. Let’s see this very clearly. Matthew was a Jew and Luke was a Gentile. Let us turn to Luke 12:30, and see what the Lord Jesus said of the Gentiles and how Matthew being a Jew and Luke being a Gentile wrote on this verse. Luke 12:30: ‘For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things’. Luke was a Gentile and writing not from a Jewish mind, but from a Gentile mind. For the Gentile mind it is the unbelievers that are nations of the world. Now Matthew who was a Jew writes on the same Scripture: ‘(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things’ (Matt. 6:32). To Matthew there are two people, Jews and Gentiles, he would not call the Jews nations of the world. When Jesus said, ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' He is speaking of the believers, Jews and Gentiles scattered all over the world.”
We are told that God loved the world soooo much that He gave His only begotten Son. Central to any honest study of John 3:16 lies the question: to whom has the Father given His Son, and where is the evidence? This is vital if we are to own a proper Biblical understanding of just who it is God has loved. God’s love is not expressed in some forlorn hope that all would be saved, but in His giving those whom He loved to His Son for Him to grant eternal life to. In John 3:16 God’s love is expressed by His giving His Son, and so, to find out to whom God has given His Son is imperative, for it is indispensable to learning precisely who it is that God has loved. Does it not stand to Biblical reason that those to whom God has given His Son are those very ones whom He has given to Him? Or are you of a mind that thinks God giving His Son to those He has given to Him, as well as to those whom He has not given to Him, is a more Biblically viable act? Does it not sound more Biblically logical to say that the ones God has given to His Son, and His Son to them, are the ones God actually loves, for how could God love a person, but not give them to His Son, or His Son to them? Why would God give His Son to everyone without exception, when the objects of His Love and saving grace—those whom He has elected, and for whom the Lamb was slain, from the foundation of the world—are the only ones He has given to His Son to die for? How can God’s love for those He has given to His Son be an expression of His alleged love for everyone without exception? How can God love everyone without exception if He has not given everyone without exception to His Son, if He has not provided the means for, and predestinated them to, their salvation? These are questions which all Arminians simply must not, and should not, look away from and arrogantly dismiss. Such questions are the elephant in the room which cannot be ignored, and so, it would be foolhardy, and extremely dangerous, to deny its presence. One cannot escape the room, and one cannot get the elephant out of the room. The existence of such Scriptures which show clearly that election is according to the will and grace of God, is a fact which cannot but be acknowledged, and once accepted will be shown to be the glue that holds together all the other teachings which have to do with Christ's death for the people God has given Him. All of Scripture points to Christ’s dying for His people, a people whom the Father has given Him. From the Old Testament high priest as a type of God’s great High Priest, to Jesus' own words "I lay down My life for the sheep" (Jn. 10:15). Christ died for those people because they were elected by God to be the people whom He would love with an everlasting love, a love which secured their eternal safe-keeping by entrusting them all to His Son. God giving His Son for all, but only some to Him simply makes no logical, Scriptural, sense, and is a mockery of God’s eternal, predetermining, predestinating, and electing love.
Most people have been taught that John 3:16’s ‘For God so loved the world’, means God loves everyone without exception. That God Has manifested His love toward every individual by sending His Son into the world to die on the Cross for all, thus making salvation an offer to all without exception. But we are compelled to interject at this point, for it must be asked, ‘How can this be when many millions have died without ever even hearing about this extraordinary event, and were, therefore, totally unaware of God having manifested His love ‘for one and all’ in this way?’ What would be the point of God loving all, Christ dying for all and salvation being offered to all if not all would hear of this? Arminians the world over angrily protest at the alleged inequity of election, wrongly claiming that it shuts people out of Heaven, and yet what do they say about those who never even hear the Gospel, and, therefore, never have a chance to ‘choose’ God. They say ‘God loves all’, ‘Christ died for all’ and salvation is, therefore, ‘an offer to all’, but what would the purpose of such a universal love be when billions go to their deaths never even hearing any of this! How can this be fairer than God’s showing mercy to some who were spiritually dead and helpless in their sins by electing them to salvation? The entire premise of Arminianism’s ‘God loves all and Christ died for all’ doctrines is based on the idea of equal opportunity for all to choose God by their ‘free will’. Salvation as an offer to all is said to be the manifestation of a Benevolent God giving everyone an equal chance to choose Him, and yet not everyone even hears of this ‘offer’! Surely this fact alone causes Arminianism to implode upon itself, for what could be a more inequitable and thoroughly pointless exercise than giving everyone an opportunity to choose Christ, but not allowing everyone to even hear of Him. Some say that those who never hear of Christ are saved some other way, but how can this be when Christ Himself says “…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but BY ME” (Jn. 14:6 cf. Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7:25; 1 Jn. 5:6), in other words, by Christ dying for them—taking their sin and imputing His Righteousness to them—and those for whom He died believing the Gospel of Christ. Christ says: “I am the Door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved…” (Jn. 10:9). Are those who never hear the Gospel of God forgiven based on their ignorance of Him? Of course not, for the basis for forgiveness is the mercy of God in the death and resurrection of Christ His Son, and belief in Him is the evidence of saving faith. If ignorance were the basis for salvation then surely it would be best not to preach the Gospel to any, seeing that a total ignorance of it would ensure a person’s salvation just as much as would a person’s being given eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand and believe the Gospel of God. God will not, under any circumstances, make concessions regarding His Gospel in order to cater to man’s unbelief, or ignorance. To know and believe the Gospel is a blessing from God. To remain ignorant of it, or failing to not believe it is a sure sign of lostness. None of God’s people are saved in ignorance, but are called “…out of darkness into His marvellous Light” (1 Pet. 2:9 cf. Eph. 5:8; Col. 1:13). The only way to know God is for Him to be revealed to you by the Spirit of truth through the Gospel of God. How can any of those, who died never hearing the name of Christ, let alone His work of Atonement, possibly be among those whom God loved? God does not reveal Himself to them, and they never even hear the Gospel. Does God manifest His alleged love for them by choosing them, and Christ dying for them so that they would have eternal life, but He keeps all this hidden from them so that they die in unbelief, but are saved regardless? Absolute nonsense, for the Scriptures clearly state that those to whom the Gospel is hid, are lost: “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3).