FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 25)
In addition to the fact that there is only one instance in the whole of Scripture which involves God’s love being for ‘the world’, we note that not one of the 560 instances in all of Scripture which speaks of God’s love for every one (290), every man (251), every woman (15), or even every child (4), refers to an all-inclusive love. The phrases all women (2) all children (2) and all men (72) appear a total of 76 times in the Bible, and yet, never once are they used in reference to God loving every man, woman and child without exception. Surely this must at the very least be seen as a very fire-engine-red flag to those who advocate God’s alleged all-encompassing love. There are approximately 15 different Greek words which are translated into the English language as all. “Most of these Greek words translated ‘all’ in the King James Bible are well defined by their context and come through correctly to the English reader. Among these 15 different Greek words, there are Greek words meaning ‘absolutely all, in the New Testament, such as the Greek words ‘hapas’, Strong's number 537, and ‘holos, (3650). Examples: Matt 24:39: ‘…the flood came, and took them all away…’ All (Hopas, 537, absolutely all, 100%) of the evil inhabitants of the earth were swept away by the flood. Only Noah and his family were left alive. Matt 24:14, ‘And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all (holos, 3650, consisting of all its ‘parts’) the world...’” The phrase all men appears in Revelation 19 along with the description, the explanation, of that to which the writer is referring: “That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great” (Rev. 19:18). Clearly what is taught here is that not a literal all men without exception may be eaten, but all types of men, denoting that no type of man is exempt. “The misunderstandings come from the Greek word ‘pas’ and its forms. ‘Pas’, 3956, is used by the New Testament writers 1,243 times, and ‘pas’ means ‘all sorts’, ‘all kinds of’, ‘all manner of’, and cannot be ‘forced’ to mean 100% all. Regarding the verses which are alleged, by virtue of the presence of some form of the Greek word, pas (all, or every), to teach either a universal reference for the saving work of Christ (see Jn. 12:32; 1 Cor. 15:22; 1 Tim. 2:5,6), it should be noted that such a word is not self-defining. It must always be interpreted within the context of the discourse in which it occurs. The problem is that the English reader tends to read the passages containing ‘pas’ as a 100% all every time it appears. Branches of false theology, and different professing Christian denominations, and other systems of false teaching, have been formed by misreading passages containing ‘pas’ as always meaning 100% all without exception.”
There are other passages in Scripture where the context allows for the word all to be properly interpreted as literally meaning all: (see Matt.4:23; 5:11; 10:1; 12:31; 13:47; Lk. 11:42; Acts 10:12; Rev. 21:19). There are many others where a proper contextually accurate understanding will not permit the word translated all to mean what the English rendering suggests: (see Matt. 3:5; 8:34; 10:22; 12:23; 19:26; 21:10; 21:26; Mk. 1:37; 13:13; 14:36; Lk. 2:31; 3:15; 4:15; 11:41; 20:6; 21:38; Jn. 3:26; 8:2; Acts 3:9,11; 21:27,28; 22:15; Rom. 14:2,20; 16:19; 1 Cor. 2:15; 3:21; 6:12; 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; 9:13; Phil. 4:13; 1 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:15; Heb. 2:17; 1 Jn. 2:20; 3 Jn. 1:12; Rev. 21:5). When conducting a proper Bible study of words such as all and every, one must always make sure that the context supports the interpretation, and that the whole of Scripture is in agreement with it. The following is a list of Scripture references “where the use of the general Greek word ‘pas’ must be understood as ‘all kinds’, ‘all types’, ‘all sorts’, ‘all manner of’, etc.: (Acts 17:30; 2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Tim. 2:4,6; 4:10; ‘Who will have all (3956) men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4). 1 Timothy 2:6: ‘Who gave Himself a ransom for all (3956), to be testified in due time’. Many ‘types’ of men are listed in the context. God cannot desire that 100% of all men be saved, because we see men ordained to condemnation (see Jd. 1:4), men whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world and never will be (see Rev. 13:8 cf. Rev. 20:15), and ‘…brute beasts made to be taken and destroyed…’ (2 Pet. 2:12), and the elect chosen in Christ from before the foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4), and God stating that He will have mercy on whom He will and whom He will He hardeneth (see Rom. 9:15), and blinding some men (see Jn. 12:40).” “…and then shall every man have praise of God” (1 Cor. 4:5). “Every regenerated soul; everyone that is a Jew inwardly; everyone that has the circumcision of the Spirit; and particularly every faithful minister, who is more especially designed; to whom it will be said, '...well done, thou good and faithful servant...enter thou into the joy of thy Lord' (Matt. 25:21). The apostle, in these words, has respect to the false teachers who sought the praise of men, and not the honour which comes from God; and which the true ministers of the word will have another day, however despised and criticised by men now. God, Who works all things after the council of His OWN WILL, will have all types of men to be saved. No type, or sort of person is left out.
“When we see the Greek word KOSMOS, (2889) in the New Testament, we must ask ‘a world of WHAT?’, and we must determine its meaning from the immediate context. ‘Kosmos’ is a very general word, and, as Thayer's Greek Lexicon states, it is an ‘apt and harmonious arrangement’, and can be ‘any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort, from our ‘world’, the universe, a harmonious arrangement of stars and planets, to a ‘world of iniquity’, as in James 3:6. There is not a single context where ‘Kosmos’ is a specific word meaning ‘all the human beings on the earth’. There ARE specific Greek words for ‘DIRT’, ‘CONTINENTS’, ‘COUNTRIES’, ‘ALL MANKIND’, ‘male human beings’, ‘female human beings’, etc., but they are not used in our most misunderstood passages. Even our English word ‘world’ has many meanings and must be defined by its context: Cloth World, Insurance World, Music World, Motorcycle World, ‘you're in a world of trouble’, etc.…every occurrence of ‘Kosmos’ in the Greek New Testament is a ‘collection of like items’ and a ‘collection of what’ must be determined by its CONTEXT. We contend with the same problem daily, as we use the English language. Illustration: What does BARK mean? How many meanings can you think of? A tree covering, an Indian canoe and later a type of sailing ship, the sound of a dog, to hurt your shin, to give loud verbal orders, etc.. We automatically depend on the IMMEDIATE CONTEXT to determine the meaning of the word ‘bark’. ‘Bark’ can even be a NOUN OR A VERB, ‘The dog ‘barks’, the boss ‘barks orders’. Context, context, context. We have exactly the same problem with ‘Kosmos’, usually translated ‘world’ in the New Testament: we find a ‘world’ consisting of only unbelievers in Jn. 14:17; Jn. 15:19; Jn. 17:9,14; 2 Pet. 2:5; 1 Jn. 3:13. We find a ‘world’ consisting of only believers in Jn. 3:16, 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:14. We find the ‘world’ of the ungodly: 2 Pet. 2:5. As the Pharisees stated, in Jn. 12:19, ‘The WORLD (kosmos) is going after Jesus’. Was every human being going after Jesus? Of course not, the Pharisees who made the statement wanted to kill Jesus, and it was just an embarrassingly large group of people in Palestine, who were going after Jesus, that is what the Pharisees are concerned about. They were concerned about the ‘world’ of those who were ‘going after’, or ‘tending to follow’ Jesus.
“In John 14:17, Jesus stated that the ‘world’ (kosmos) cannot receive the Holy Spirit. The Elect of God obviously do. So this must be the ‘world’ of those who reject Jesus, who cannot receive the Holy Spirit. John 3:16 is often quoted to prove that Jesus loves everybody and God wants everyone saved. John 3:16 in the Greek, is a WONDERFUL PROMISE, ONLY TO THOSE WHO ARE PRESENTLY BELIEVING that they are PRESENTLY POSSESSING ETERNAL LIFE, and eternal life never ends. ‘Kosmos’, ‘world’ here points to the ‘world of those who are presently believing’: whosoever believeth, not ‘whosoever will believe’. To illustrate how incorrect it is to take John 3:16 to mean that God loves everybody and wants everybody to be saved, look at John 3:18, the words of Jesus just two sentences later: ‘He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’ (Jn. 3:18). It is amazing to me, that we are very familiar with words that have multiple meanings, and must be defined by the context, but we tend to force one particular meaning, that we LIKE, on Bible words such as ‘world’ and ‘all’. Our interpretation of EVERY verse in the New Testament must harmonize with, and cannot contradict, the teaching of the whole New Testament. We cannot force the Greek words ‘pas" and ‘kosmos’, translated ‘all’, and ‘world’, to mean ‘every human being’, if we do, we cause the Scriptures to contradict themselves. As Jesus stated in John 8:24, ‘…If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins’. So, if we try to make ANY passage teach that Jesus died and paid for the sins of every human being, we contradict Jesus. There cannot be contradictions in the Scriptures. Where we see ‘apparent’ contradictions, it is because of our misunderstandings. As Jesus stated in John 10:35 ‘the Scripture cannot be broken’ (cf. Isa. 40:8; 55:11; 1 Pet. 1:25). Or be made null and void; whatever that says is true, there is no contradicting it, or objecting to it: it is a Jewish way of speaking, much used in the Talmud; when one doctor has produced an argument, or instance, in any point of debate, another says, (Krpyml akya), ‘it may be broken’; or objected to, in such and such a manner, and be refuted: but the Scripture cannot be broken, that is not to be objected to, there can be no confutation of that. 'For ever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven' (Psa. 119:89). When we think we see a ‘contradiction’, it is because we do not understand what is being stated. Usually, in passages where there are ‘apparent contradictions’, we find great truths.”
Though we have already looked at several instances where the phrase all men is used, we shall, as our study draws to a close, provide the reader with further examples of its usage: “…all men seek for Thee” (Mk. 1:37 cf. Jn. 3:26), “Not all the men in the world, nor, it may be, all the inhabitants of Capernaum, but a large number of them, who were inquiring after Him, some for one thing, some for another; some to see Him, what manner of man He was, and some to hear Him, what sort of doctrine He preached, and others to see His miracles, or to have themselves, or their sick healed; and the disciples were loath that such an opportunity of doing good should be missed, and therefore sought for Him, till they found Him.” The Lord said: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (Jn. 12:32), “which is not to be understood of the concourse of people about Him, when on the cross, some for Him, and others against Him, some to bewail Him, and others to reproach Him; but rather of the gathering of the elect to Him, and in Him, as their Head and Representative, when He was crucified for them; or of the collection of them, through the ministry of the apostles, and of their being brought to believe on Him for eternal life and salvation: and this drawing of them to Him, in consequence of His death, supposes distance from Him, want of power, and will, to come to Him, and the efficacious grace of God to bring them, though without any force and compulsion; and this is to be understood not of every individual of human nature; for all are not drawn to Christ, or made to come to Him, and believe in Him. There were many of the Jews who would not, and did not come to Him for life; and who instead of being drawn to Him in this sense, when lifted up on the cross, vilified and reproached Him; moreover, in the preceding verse, ‘a world’ is spoken of, whose judgment, or condemnation, was now come; and besides, there was at this time a multitude of souls in Hell, who could not, nor never will be, drawn to Christ; and a greater number still there will be at the last day, who, instead of drawing to Him in this gracious way and manner, will be bid to depart from Him, as having been workers of iniquity. Christ died indeed for all men who are drawn unto Him by His Father’s love (see Jn. 6:44; Jer. 31:3); but this is not true of all men, that are, were, or shall be in the world. Add to this, that the word ‘men’ is not in the original Greek text, it is only (pantav), ‘all’: Beza's most ancient copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version read (panta), ‘all things’; and by ‘all’ are meant, all the elect of God, all the children of God, ‘that were scattered abroad’; the Persic version reads, ‘I will draw My friends to Me’; it designs some of all sorts of men, of every state, condition, age, sex, and nation, Gentiles as well as Jews, and especially the former; which agrees with the ancient prophecy, (see Gen. 49:10), and with the context, and the occasion of the words, which was the desire of the Greeks, that were come to the feast, to see Jesus; and which was a specimen of the large numbers of them, that should be drawn to Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel, after His death.” “…for all men glorified God for that which was done” (Acts 4:21), is obviously not a reference to all men on earth at that time, but this all men is restricted to those who witnessed the miracle of healing that had been performed (see Acts 3:7,8; 4:22), and others did not glorify God at all for what was done, but instead threatened them (see Acts 4:17), and commanded them “…not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18).
The reality of every man born into this world is that he is dead in sins, he is a child of God’s Wrath, he is not righteous, he neither has the ability, or capability of becoming righteous (see Eccl. 7:20; Rom. 3:10), he does not understand nor does he seek after the true God, for he is without Christ, without hope, and, therefore, without God in this world. Even true Christians were, prior to their being made alive by God “…dead in trespasses and sins….and were by nature the children of Wrath, even as others….There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God…were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:1,3; Rom. 3:11; Eph. 2:12). If man is without hope within himself, and without God in the world, then we may safely conclude that there is nothing any man can do which can lead him to salvation. Nothing which can prompt, or motivate, him from within to seek, or even recognize, the true God. Man is a true wretch (see Rom. 7:24), an accursed creature, who has abandoned the true God, and who seeks only the gods which he has forged on the anvil of his own imagination. Far from being a neutral creature, man by nature hates the true God, and only has love for the gods of his imagination. Jesus’ disciples asked Him: “…Who then can be saved?... Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:25,26). The Gospel of Mark says: “…With men it is impossible, but not with God…” (Mk. 10:27). None can come to the Lord unless it is by an act of God. Jesus said: “…no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:65). Of particular interest to our study is article 2 of the five official articles of Arminianism, which states: “That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins EXCEPT THE BELIEVER according to the word of the Gospel of John 3:16: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’. And in the First Epistle of John 2:2: ‘And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world’”. Isn’t it quite shocking to see here the carnal mind of man, the thought processes of a man quite dead in his sins, laid bare for all to see which is in diametric opposition to, and blasphemous contradiction with, what the Lord Jesus declares in John 6:44: “No man can come to Me, EXCEPT THE FATHER which hath sent Me draw him…” Arminianism conditions salvation on the sinner, while the Lord Jesus Christ conditions salvation upon the Father. As with all man-made religion, Arminianism rests all of salvation, it sets the onus, upon ‘the believer’, in direct opposition to the Lord Jesus’ incisive, succinct statement that while salvation is impossible with man, it, like all things, is only possible with God. No one can come to the Lord ‘except the Father…draw him…’ Coming to the Lord is an act of God upon a man, it is an action that does not inherently spring from within the man. All of salvation rests upon the grace of God, and the God of grace, for without God there can be no grace, and without grace there can be no saving faith, or love for the true God. No one can love the Lord, ‘except the Father…draw him…’ (see also 1 Jn. 4:19), and no one can know the Lord ‘except the Father…draw him…’ (see also Lk. 10:22; Matt. 11:27), unless he has “…learned of the Father…” (Jn. 6:45).
Only God saves. Only God can save, which evidences the undeniable fact that salvation can only be dependent, and conditioned, upon God, which leads to, and simultaneously supports the fact that a man is only saved by grace alone. How can God have made salvation dependent upon any act of man’s—obedience by works, and/or believing—knowing that salvation can only be by God’s own will, purpose, mercy and grace (see Jn. 1:13). “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9 cf. Psa.91:16). This act of God involves God’s choosing a person according to His will, loving that person, and visiting that person with grace so that the person believes and trusts in God’s plan of salvation revealed in His mighty Gospel, and no other. It is an act of grace by God which makes a man alive to Him, and consequently draws the man to God. No man can come to God without the power of God upon him. If a man genuinely loves the true God it is irrefutable evidence that God loves the man, moreover, that God loved the man first, in other words, that he is a chosen-before-the-foundation-of-the-world vessel of mercy unto God. Man can take no credit for his believing, or any good works, for it is solely by God that any believe in Him (see 1 Pet. 1:21), and a saved man is the workmanship of God who has created him in Christ Jesus unto good works, not because of good works (see Eph. 2:10 cf. Phil.2:13). Equally, if a man dies in unbelief it is undoubtedly because God did not love him at all. If God did love the unbeliever what good has that love done for the one who is now in Hell? Remember, God’s love is active, and contains a specific purpose which is always fulfilled, and its purpose is to save. The love of God for His chosen is the kernel within the shell of His purpose. God loves those He saves, and He saves only the ones He loves. The carnal teaching and understanding of John 3:16 showcases a gospel which is based on an impotent god who cannot save those he loves and wills to save, who can veritably do nothing for any whom he loves, because their eternal destinies are based upon their ‘free will’ to choose, or not to choose, god. The Arminian god’s will is thus nullified by what a man determines. Therefore, there cannot be any predetermination by God, or Sovereignty of God, just a powerless god who can do nothing except wait in hopeless anticipation upon the will of man. This humanistic rubbish underpins the whole of Arminianism, and reveals it to be a gospel which is completely bereft of the true God. The whole world is filled with man this and man that, as if man himself is his only refuge. Religion overflows with teachings that demand man must do this, or man must do that, holding its adherents captive to laws, rules and traditions which must be diligently and fervently obeyed for there to be any hope of seeing Heaven. However, the Gospel of salvation is filled with God, with what God has done, and the Son He sent to save His people from their sins. “Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what HE hath done for my soul” (Psa. 66:16).
What an impotent god free willism proffers to man. Election, predestination and Christ's death being for the people God the Father gave to God the Son, because He had appointed them to obtain salvation through Christ's death for them, and not for those God has appointed unto His Wrath, must all be placed on the back burner, in fact, they must be taken off the stove altogether, in the mind of the Arminian, for unless he chooses God, God is without any hope of saving him. Therefore, there can be no predestination, no election, no adoption, no justification, no atoning substitutionary and vicarious death, etc., but only a man's will. Like the Pharisee in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican in Luke 18, those who teach free will praise God for what they do rather than praising God for what HE has done and which can only be done by God. This, as Jesus taught, is not a person who is justified before God, for they are still boasters in themselves and what they claim to have accomplished. THE TRUE CHRISTIAN BOASTS ONLY IN WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR HIM: "...Salvation is of the Lord" (Jonah 2:9), and, "...GOD HATH CHOSEN the foolish things of the world...GOD HATH CHOSEN the weak things of the world...And base things of the world, and things which are despised, HATH GOD CHOSEN...THAT no flesh should glory in His Presence... (FOR) OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus...That, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" (1 Cor. 1:27-31; cf. 1 Pet. 1:21). We see, then, that it is absolutely and entirely by God’s work that a man is in Christ Jesus, and that such a man glories ONLY in the Lord and what HE has done. The Arminian does not walk about overtly boasting in himself, but he does say that God enabled him to make a free will choice for God. They do say 'I chose God'. When you start saying you did something, even if you are careful to always praise God for what you have done, you are no different to the unjustified Pharisee of Luke 18 who trusted in himself that he was righteous.
1 John 4:19 alone proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that all those whom God loved, and only those whom God loved, would, with absolute certainty, all inevitably love Him, and believe on His Son. It also proves that without God’s love no man will, or can, love Him. This provides decisive evidence that salvation rests on God’s love, and not on any man’s love for God, for none can love God before He loves them. 1 John 4:9 says: “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” Here we learn that God’s love was manifested by sending His Son to those He loved first. God did not send His Son to the earth for those who would, or did, love Him, but for those He loved first: “…as many as were (He) ordained to eternal life believed”. It is God’s will and purpose to love His chosen, and this is the reason, or basis, for their love toward Him. God’s will reigns, for whomsoever He loves will also love Him. Man’s love for God is not intrinsic to the nature of man, nor is it based on his ‘goodness’, but solely upon the will and purpose of God. God sent His Son for His loved ones, to save them: His lost sheep. Paul informs the believers at Ephesus that “Christ…hath loved us, and given Himself for us…” (Eph. 5:2). In conjunction with John 6:37 where the Lord Jesus reminds us that everyone whom the Father has loved and given to the Son will come to Him, we see an overwhelming, unchallengeable, truth upon which the Scriptures’ spotlight is permanently focused. The whole purpose in God loving a person is to ensure their salvation by Christ, for God’s love is inextricably connected to God’s will and purpose, His Son and His people. God’s love for a person ensures that He has given that person to His Son, and Christ’s atonement for that person guarantees their salvation. God’s love for a man is not purposeless, it does not sit idly by, nor does it wait in vain hope that the man will one day reciprocate that love and come to God. God’s love guarantees the one it loves will also love Him, and come to Him. God’s love never returns to Him void, for its purpose is always fulfilled. IF GOD LOVES A MAN IT IS BECAUSE IT IS HIS WILL AND PURPOSE TO SAVE THAT MAN. The unpreventable and assured result of God’s love for a man is that the man will also love Him. God’s love predestines, it predetermines who will love Him, and be saved by Him. God’s will is predominant, it is first and foremost above all else, and permanently attached to it is God’s unstoppable purpose. God’s will and purpose have kissed each other and produced a love by which all to whom it is directed will love Him. “…the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). The result of God’s will and purpose is God’s love for those He wills to be merciful to, and purposes to save. God loves those He has purposed to be merciful toward, for how can love be without mercy, and mercy without love. God will not lose any whom He loves, for nothing can separate them from His love (see Rom. 8:38,39). Nothing can stop God loving even one of His chosen, and so nothing can possibly prevent, or turn, any of His chosen from loving Him.
Everlasting life can only come from everlasting love. You see, God is Almighty. God backs up His love, He substantiates it through real tangible action that always gets the result He desires. God’s love is a promissory love, it is a covenant love, it is love which is eternally dedicated to the well being of all whom it is directed to and reserved for. God’s love is in Christ, and it is manifested through Christ in all that He is and all that He has done for His people. God’s love is an eternal love based on His will and purpose. God ensures the eternal safety of all whom He loves by saving them through His Son FOREVER! They are given eternal life, for they are eternally loved. God wants them to be His people, and so, has chosen them, elected them to be loved by Him FOREVER. Obviously, 1 John 4:19 shows that all those whom God loves will, in time, ALL love Him. The Lord Jesus declares: “All that the Father giveth Me SHALL come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). No man can come to Jesus the Lord, but those whom the Father has loved and entrusted Him with. Salvation is not about whosoever chooses Him, but whomsoever the Lord God has chosen to be His people. Salvation is not about whosoever chooses life, but about Christ giving eternal life to whomsoever the Father has given Him (see Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn. 5:21). God’s love is an outworking, the very manifestation of His will and purpose. The purpose of God’s love is to draw His chosen people to Him. The Lord Himself says: “…Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3). Notice here how there is action attached to God’s love. God does not merely love, He does something about it. God loves everlastingly, therefore, He draws those He loves to love Him forever. Action always accompanies God’s love, His will, His desire. God’s love is not some silly emotional sentiment, which drives God to hope all, or at least some, will, of their own initiative, come to Him. THE SOVEREIGN GOD DOES NOT HOPE!! THE SOVEREIGN GOD DOES!! THE SOVEREIGN GOD MAKES THINGS HAPPEN. God does not experience disappointment, for God’s will is always done (see Isa. 45:6,7). God is a God of action, therefore, He never wants anything without making certain He gets everything He wants. God does whatsoever He wants and He gets whatsoever He wants, otherwise He could not be Almighty, He could not be God. God says “…I WILL do all My pleasure” (Isa. 46:10), and God’s good pleasure is to have chosen a people before the foundation of the world, having predestinated them “…unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself…” (Eph. 1:5). Adoption is invariably connected to redemption: “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Gal. 4:5). God’s good pleasure is always to the praise of the glory of His grace (see Eph. 1:6 cf. Phil. 2:13). “God is not a man, that He should lie…hath He said, and shall He not do it? Or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (Num. 23:19). God’s love is not something He can do nothing about. God’s love is never an unrequited love, for all who love Him do so only because He loved them first. God’s love for His people draws His people to Him. “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him….Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me” (Jn. 6:44,45). Man’s love for the true God is always a reciprocal love, for it is God Who loves first. Before they are given to Jesus the Saviour, God’s loved ones are drawn—taught by the Father—with lovingkindness, thus all that are given to the Son are they whom the Lord loves. All those God loves He draws to Himself, and it is only by that love that anyone comes to God. It is not because of their love, their will, nor their decision, but by God’s love, God’s will, and God’s decision: “We love Him, BECAUSE He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19).
Verses like John 3:16 must always be compared with other Scriptures, and seen in the light which other Scriptures provide, in order to gain a proper perspective on what they are really saying. As we have shown, there are several verses which directly impact John 3:16, that immediately and evidently reveal that it could not be saying what it is claimed, or assumed, it is saying by Arminian protagonists, and their devoted myrmidons. Perhaps the verse of Scripture which has the profoundest impact on John 3:16 is John 6:37. No discussion on John 3:16 should ever be without John 6:37. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37 reveals so much about what John 3:16 is saying, and what it could not possibly be saying. It attacks the carnal interpretation of John 3:16 with a bulldog-like tenacity, and literally tears it to pieces. John 6:37 plainly shows that salvation is not dependent upon whosoever chooses God, but that salvation is all about whomsoever God has chosen and given to His Son. God’s people are a chosen generation, not a generation of choosers (see 1 Pet. 2:9). The Word of God states clearly that the only people who will ever come to Jesus are those whom the Father has loved and given Him. Who will come to Jesus? The ones whom the Father hath given Him. There is simply no way to circumvent this fact, therefore, it must be dealt with honestly and in a Scripturally objective manner. John 6:37 proves that salvation is something which cannot have anything in the world to do with man choosing God, but everything to do with the Sovereign God’s choosing of man. Notice that the purpose in God giving His chosen, those whom He loved, to His Son is to ensure that they all come to Him, and that they all be given eternal life: “…that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn. 10:27-29). God has chosen them before the foundation of the world according to His will, thus securing their eternal future. This choosing is an act done before time began. It is an eternal act, and, therefore, everlasting, and can never be interfered with in any way by any man. God has elected to love His chosen ones, and the clearest expression of that love is seen in God’s giving those He loves to His Son, and giving His Son for them. This is the clearest indication of the Lord’s love being exclusively for His people. The giving of His Son, and of His people is all inextricably connected to God’s love.
God’s love is always manifested in His giving. God’s giving is never without His love, for His love is always a giving love, and what God gives is from everlasting to everlasting. “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand” (Jn. 3:35), is a perfect example. God’s love is for His people, seen in His choosing them out of the world, and so, He has given His Son for them, and His people to His Son. Arminianism, a mere carnal religion, fails miserably in discerning that Sovereign election is motivated by the will of God for the purpose of God’s loving those He has chosen as His inheritance. There can be no love of God without election, therefore, no love of God outside of election. Election is according to God’s will, and His will is to save His chosen according to His good pleasure to the glory of His grace not their will, or works (see Eph. 1:4-9). Election is one of the many evidences that no man can, and, therefore, does not choose, God. Salvation is of the Lord, and election is before the foundation of the world, before any good or evil is done, so how can it be that a man and his alleged free will determines his salvation? Grace is irrevocably tied in with mercy and is what salvation cannot do without. How this can give anyone the idea that salvation is conditioned on what a man does, falls far short of any logical, Scriptural reason. Grace is unmerited and mercy undeserved. This confirms the state all men are in by nature. None are righteous and none can do anything to become righteous. Man is a thoroughly incorrigible creature fit only for the fires of Hell, and, were it not for God’s intervention, His will, love, grace, and mercy, everyone’s final and eternal habitation would be the Lake of Fire.
The bottom line to all this is that all those that come to Jesus the Saviour, do so only because of God’s having loved them first, and, consequently, giving them to His Son. Christ says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life…My Father which gave them Me, is greater than all…” (Jn. 10:27-29). Christ’s sheep—those people who hear His voice, are known of Him, and to whom He gives eternal life—were all given to Him by the Father. Any man’s love for God comes not from within the man, but is a gift given because of God’s love for him. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19), is a microcosm of how a man goes from being a wretched, accursed, creature to a blessed, saved, child of God. God’s love obliges those He loves to love Him. It is the initiatory, or primary, love which is free, the responsive love comes not from an inherent free will, but because of, out of, and from, God’s love for His chosen. Of course, this is not to say that there are people who love God, but who do so grudgingly, but only that any thought of a free will to love God first, or to not love Him at all, is completely cancelled out due to the fact that any who do love Him do so only because God loved them first. A lost man’s non-love of God comes from the man’s sinful nature. His natural sinful state produces no love for the true God, but only a perverted love for a higher being which in reality is a nonentity, a nonexistent thing, for it springs from the heart and imagination of men. In all of man’s religious pursuits he has only ever come to idols of death, and never to the God of life. Man’s love is a secondary love. Only the primary love, the causative love of the One Who loves first, is the one who is truly free to love. “God's love to us is prior to our love to Him; His love is from everlasting, as well as to everlasting; for He loves His people as He does His Son, and He loved Him before the foundation of the world (see Jn. 17:23); His choosing them in Christ as early, and blessing them then with all spiritual blessings, the covenant of grace made with Christ from all eternity, the gift of grace to them in Him before the world began, and the promise of eternal life to them so soon, show the antiquity and priority of His love: His love shown in the mission and gift of His Son was before theirs, and when they had none to Him; and His love in regeneration and conversion is previous to theirs, and is the cause of it; His grace in regeneration brings faith and love with it, and produces them in the heart; and His love shed abroad there is the moving cause of it, or what draws it first into act and exercise.” “…and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (Jn. 17:23). God loves His people as He does His Son. He loves them from before the foundation of the world, and, therefore, He will love them forever. “The nature of this love is, that it is from eternity; is a love of complacency and delight; it is special and peculiar, unchangeable and inseparable, and will last for ever: now God has loved His people, as He has loved His Son; He loves them not merely as creatures, as the descendants of Adam, or as considered in themselves, but as in Christ. The instances of His love to them are, His choosing them in Christ; making a covenant with them in Him; the mission of Him into this world, to obtain salvation for them; the quickening and calling of them by His grace; the care He takes of them afterwards in supplying their wants, supporting them under temptations, delivering them out of afflictions, and causing all things to work together for their good; to all which add the provisions He makes for them, both for time and eternity. The nature of this love is such as that He bears to Christ; it is from everlasting; a love of the utmost delight and pleasure; it is special and peculiar, unchangeable, and will continue for ever: there is not the same reason for His loving them as his Son; and this as must not be thought to denote equality, but similitude and order.”
Christ prays for no one other than those the Father has given Him. Arminians place great emphasis on their god’s love for all without exception, but fail to answer the vital questions, ‘Why, if Christ died for all without exception does He not pray for all without exception? Why does Christ, Who has now entered into Heaven itself, not intercede for all without exception, but only for the elect, those for whom He died? (see Rom. 8:33,34). Furthermore, ‘Why, if God loves everyone without exception, has He then not given everyone without exception to His Son so that He would provide atonement, thus ensuring reconciliation, for everyone in the whole world’. Why make everyone’s salvation dependent upon their choosing God, when by His love alone God could have ensured the salvation of all? Why make salvation dependent upon man, when all men are dead in sins, dead to God and without God! How could any man be expected to ‘choose God’ when no man even seeks God! (see Rom. 3:9-12). If God loved everyone why did He not give everyone to His Son, seeing that the only ones who will come to Jesus and be saved are the ones whom God gave Him, whom God loved first. How can John 3:16 be saying God loves everyone without exception, when not all come? How can it be saying that Christ’s atoning work was performed on the behalf of everyone, when not all repent and believe the Gospel? John 6:37, supported by the whole of the Word of God, rules out the remotest possibility that salvation is an offer which is conditioned, dependent, on a person’s choosing God, for it shows unmistakably that it is God Who predetermines who shall come to His Son, that it is God’s prerogative, and not of those who come. The apostle Peter speaks of Christians as “…a chosen generation…” (1 Pet. 2:9), and not a generation of choosers. Those whom God loves could not possibly have ever been everyone without exception, for multitudes die not loving Him. In contrast, all those whom God does love WILL all love Him, because God’s love for an individual is the precursor to the individual’s loving God. “…in Thy light shall we see light” (Psa. 39:6), so too, only because of God’s love for His people, shall they all love Him. The sequel to God’s loving a man, is the man’s love for God. The story of God’s love does not end with His love for a man, for its closing scene is always that of the loved man’s love for God. Man’s love for the true God is a continuation of God’s love for the man. A man loves God because God loved him first; it is “by Him” that any “believe in God” (1 Pet. 1:21); and it is by the will of God, according to His mercy, and not the will of man, that a man is saved (see Jn. 1:13; Rom 9:16). All those whom God loves will all come to His Son due to the fact God has loved them and given them to His Son. Proof of this is seen in the verse which tells us that saved people love God, because God loved them first (see 1 Jn. 4:19). Any man loved by God is saved by God through grace. Obviously then, a man’s ‘choosing’ God, a man’s loving God could not possibly be reliant upon, and, therefore, come from, a man’s free will, for it takes the will of God, and the love of God FIRST for a man to know and love Him. There can be no love for God without God’s love first, therefore, how can salvation be conditioned on a man’s loving God when the only way, the only time, a man does love the true God is after God has loved the man. Salvation is conditioned on the Lord, for “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). “…love is of God…” (1 Jn. 4:7). No one can love Him without their first being loved by Him. A man’s love for the true God is always subsequent to, and the direct result of, God’s love for the man, therefore, all who are loved by God will all love Him. “God is the Source, center, and principle of all real love. God is love and sets the tone for any subsequent love.” All He loves love Him because all He loves are His own.
Christ is the Shepherd of His sheep, the ones God loves and has given to Him (see Jn. 10:29). He laid down His life for them: His Church. The principle taught in 1 John 4:19, “We love Him, BECAUSE He first loved us”, is that all of salvation is conditioned on God’s love, and not on a man’s love for God, for God’s love always comes first just as grace always comes first. How can salvation be conditioned upon a man’s free will choice, when those who are, and will be, saved were all, and needed to be all, loved by God first? Their eternal destiny was predetermined by the will of God before the foundation of the world. How can what a man does be what salvation is conditioned on, when it is the grace of God, prompted by the will of God, which always comes before any good works? In fact, the good works that a saved man performs are a consequence of God’s love for him. A born again man is created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Salvation is neither due to, nor is it an effect, a by-product, of what man has allegedly done first (see Eph. 2:8-10). If God’s love precedes man’s love, and is the indispensable prerequisite which is the singular cause behind a man’s loving God, then it is clearly God’s love which dictates whom He will save and who will love Him. Salvation is not conditioned on, or the result of, anything a man does, or does not do, but is preconditioned on what God has willed. It is what God has done which makes a man love Him. It is not something which springs from the heart of man, but that which a man’s heart is infused with so that he will love God. That is salvation: God doing a work in a man’s heart so that the man will believe the Gospel of God, and, therefore, trust SOLELY in Him. Again, in saying a man loves God only because God has loved him first, the Scriptures confirm that it is the will of God which is antecedent to anything a man does, showing conclusively that no part of salvation can be conditioned on man, for man can do nothing before, or without, the will and love of God. Without God, man is without hope. Without God’s love no man can will to love the true God. “God’s love is expressed by His grace (see Eph. 2:4,5).” God makes the difference between saved and lost, for without God man is without hope. A hope-less man can do nothing to provide himself with hope, for if he could he would not be hope-less. Therefore, it is GOD Who makes the difference between a saved man, and a lost man. None can love Him if He has not loved them first. God’s loving is the clearest of all evidences that He has willed to save His loved ones, and that they should love Him. Man is naturally at enmity against God, and has nothing in him which could ever draw him to the true God. No one can boast, no one can say ‘I chose God’, or ‘I loved God and He then saved me', and be at one with the Word of God, for the Scriptures say that God chose His people before the foundation of the world thus proving that God’s love comes first, because of God’s will, which is the sole dividing factor between a man’s being saved, or lost. This puts an end to any consideration that man’s love can possibly precede God’s love, or that God’s love for man is in any way a reward for a man’s loving God.