FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 8)
Has Christ given eternal life to every individual without exception throughout all time? Of course not. Are all saved regardless of whether they believe in God, or not, regardless of whether or not they believe the Gospel of the true God? Most assuredly not. Therefore, John 6:33 is yet another where the word world cannot possibly mean all without exception. The important thing to notice in this particular verse is how Christ giveth life, and does not merely offer eternal life. This matches perfectly with John 17:2 where the Lord Jesus prays: “As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him” (cf. Jn. 10:28; Rom. 6:23). Salvation is all about giving: God giving His chosen to His dear Son, and His Son giving them eternal life. The verse does not say ‘that He should offer eternal life to as many as choose Him’. This life which the Lord Jesus gives is neither offered to all, nor is it given to the one who asks, nor is eternal life given to all flesh, but it is only given to as many as the Father has chosen, loved and given to Christ His Son according to His own will. The original Greek says “that every which You have given to Him He should be giving to them life”. Of the 236 times in 213 verses in which the word offer appears in the whole Bible, not once is the word used in reference to Christ being offered to the people. The word offered appears 143 times in 135 verses, and the word offering appears 724 times in 504 verses of the Bible. Not once, in all of the 1,103 times they appear in the Word of God, are any of these words used to refer to the sacrifice of Christ to the people. The Word of God teaches that sacrifices were always offered to God, or to false gods and devils. Clearly those who receive eternal life have not chosen life, but have been chosen to have life, to be given life, by the Sovereign God (see Isa. 43:10; 2 Thess. 2:13). The Sovereignty of God is on full display in John 17:2: the Father gives the Son power and authority over all flesh, and the Son gives eternal life, not to as many as ‘choose’ Him, not to ‘whomsoever accepts’ Him and ‘decides to believe’, but to as many as the Father has given to the Son. The Father gives His people to His Son FOR the express purpose of His Son giving them eternal life.
Something which has been grossly overlooked by most is the fact that if salvation is by grace, it is because it could only ever have been by grace. Likewise, if it is the Son Who gives eternal life to those whom the Father has given Him, it is because eternal life is that which can only ever be given, and not at all offered. “…A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven” (Jn. 3:27). Eternal life is that which can only be given by the Son to those whom the Father has given Him. Therefore, eternal life can only come by grace to whomsoever God wills to grant it. This completely destroys the absurd notion that eternal life is something which is offered to all, and can be chosen by anyone at any time according to their perceived free will. A gift is not offered to all, but only given to its intended recipient. Moreover, this principle of giving does not merely clash with what Arminians believe, it shows that Arminians do not believe the truth of God at all. Eternal life is clearly not an offer, for it is something which can be, and only ever has been, given by the Son to those whom the Father has given to Him. The water of life is not taken by whosoever chooses to drink it, for Christ speaks in terms of “…Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him…” (Jn. 4:14). Notice Christ does not say ‘Whosoever drinks of the water that I offer to all’, or ‘Whosoever chooses to drink of the water that I offer to all’, for Christ is the one Who determines who the whosoever are that will drink the water that He specifically gives. People are so taken up with the word whosoever, that they fail to see that the remainder of this verse clearly states that those who will drink the water of life (see Rev. 21:6), are only those to whom the Son specifically gives the water to. Any can choose to drink of the water after which they will again thirst, for it is readily available to all, (see Jn. 4:13), but the water which satiates all spiritual thirst is that which is specifically given by Christ to whomsoever the Father has chosen before the foundation of the world and given to His Son. (Revelation 22:17 is addressed later in the book). Christ does not offer this water, He gives the water to whomsoever the Father has given Him (see also Jn. 7:38,39), just as He only gives “…eternal life to as many as (the Father) hath given (Him)” (Jn. 17:2). Christ does not offer Himself to all, but gives Himself to, and for, His people.
Let this sink deep into your heart and mind dear reader: CHRIST DOES NOT OFFER HIMSELF TO MAN, BUT HAS INSTEAD “…OFFERED HIMSELF WITHOUT SPOT TO GOD…” (Heb. 9:14). Of the 28 times where the word offered appears in 27 verses of the New Testament, only 3 times in 2 verses does it ever speak of Christ offering up Himself: “Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for His own sins, and then for the people's: for this He did once, when He offered up Himself” (Heb. 7:27). Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to God for the sins of His people. A sacrifice is always offered to the offended party, and never to the ones who have caused the offense. “Christ offered Himself, His whole human nature, soul and body, and both as in union with His Divine nature; and this being offered to God freely and voluntarily, in the room and stead of His people, was acceptable to God: hereby justice was satisfied; the law fulfilled; sin taken away, and complete salvation obtained.” “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28). Again we notice that Christ does not offer Himself to all without exception, but as a sacrifice to God. Christ has loved, and given Himself on behalf of His people “…a sacrifice TO God for a sweetsmelling savour” (Eph. 5:2). “i.e., acceptable to God alluding to the legal sacrifices (see Gen. 8:21; Lev. 1:9,13,17). Greek, ‘for an odor of a sweet smell’, that is, God is well pleased with the offering on the ground of its sweetness, and so is reconciled to us (see Eph. 1:6; Matt. 3:17; 2 Cor. 5:18, 19; Heb. 10:6-17). The same Greek occurs in Phil. 4:18. It occurs often in the Septuagint of the Pentateuch; e.g. Genesis 8:21; and see esp. Leviticus 1:9,13,17, where the reference is to atoning sacrifices (see also Eph. 5:3). It translates the Hebrew, rêach nîchôach, ‘a savour of rest’. In the picture language of typical sacrifices, the savour was ‘smelt’ by the Deity as a welcome token of worship and submission, and thus it conveyed the thought of pacification and acceptance. As man dies but once, Christ was offered but once, or He suffered and died but once; and that was not on His own account, or for His own sins, ‘but to bear the sins of many’ (see Heb. 7:27): not of angels but of men, and these not a few, (nor all), but ‘many; which is said to magnify the grace of God, to exalt the satisfaction and Righteousness of Christ, and to encourage souls to hope in Him: hence many are brought to believe in Him, and many are justified by Him, have their sins forgiven them, and are glorified; though Christ bore not the sins of all men; for as all men have not faith, all are not justified, pardoned, and saved: what He bore were ‘sins’; all kind of sin, every act of sin, and all that belongs to it; its filth, guilt, and punishment, even the iniquity of all His people; which must be a prodigious weight, and than which nothing could be more nauseous: His bearing them supposes they were upon Him, though not in Him, imputed, though not inherent; that He did not sink under them; that He made an entire satisfaction for them, and bore them wholly away, both from the persons of His people, and from the sight of justice. The way in which He came to bear them was this; He became a surety for all the elect; His Father imputed to Him all their sins, and He voluntarily took them upon Himself; where justice found them, and demanded satisfaction of Him for them, and He gave it; which is an instance both of His great love, and of His great strength.”
The only other verse which includes the word offered in the New Testament, apart from Hebrews 7:27, is Hebrews 10:12: “But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” This verse of Scripture brings clarity to the oft-quoted verse which some use to show that Christ died for all without exception: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10). The context reveals this verse to mean that Christ’s sacrifice was offered once for all time, as Hebrews 10:14 shows: “For by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified”, and also Hebrews. 9:28: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many…” When Christ offered Himself it was as a sacrifice to God, and not as an offering to every individual without exception to ‘make a decision over’. Christ offered Himself for all those the Father gave Him, and His offering was to the Father as a substitutionary sacrifice for all His people’s sins. This sacrifice was offered up to God, and was fully accepted by Him. Of the 115 verses in which the word offered appears in the Old Testament, never once does it speak of any sacrifice being offered to anyone but the true God, or to false gods. In addition to this, of all the 236 times in which the word offer appears in 213 verses (16 verses in the New testament, and 197 in the Old Testament), never once is it used in reference to an offer made to the people, but by, or for, the people to the true God, or to false gods. Thus, the myth of each individual having a free will, and needing to ‘accept Christ’, is utterly dissolved by the Truth of the Word of God which makes it patently obvious that the accepting is done by the One to Whom the offering was made, and not the ones for whom it was made. Nothing has been offered to creatures that are dead in sins who do not know, nor seek the true God. Salvation is not an offer to all, but a promise to all God’s Seed, “And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life” (1 Jn. 2:25 cf. Acts 2:39; Gal. 3:22; 4:28; Titus 1:1,2). The Gospel of God is not some incentive plan designed to motivate people to do, or decide for God so that God can then save them, for it is a proclamation of the promised salvation which is based solely on the grace of God for all those He has chosen before the foundation of the world, and given to His Son, the Lamb Who was slain from the foundation of the world. It is a promise made to those taken out of the world, and not an offer to those who are of the world. A gift is never offered, therefore the gift of eternal life is not something which can be offered, but only given. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Eternal life is NOT an offer, but the Gift of God. A gift is given to the one who is loved, and not merely offered in the hope they will accept it. Thus, eternal life is given to some—those whom the Father has loved and given to the Son—and not offered to all in the hope some will accept it.
The cohesive character of the Scriptures is an impenetrable witness to the fact that the Father did not proffer His Son to whosoever would choose Him, but He gave His Son to, and for, His chosen ones. Christ was given “…to be the Head over all things to the Church” (Eph. 1:22). Christ is not a suggestion, He is the Declaration; Christ is not put forward for your consideration, He is no mere candidate for your affections, He is not an option, He is God’s Declaration; Christ is not a proposal, nor an offer, for He is declared to be THE SAVIOUR of His people who have been given to Him by the Father of love. Christ is a Gift not an offer. To believe in the Saviour is not a motion put to the people, but a Command. Christ was not made available to one and all, for He was exclusively given by the Father to His own people chosen before the foundation of the world. Gave, is a most interesting word, for having a proper, Biblical, understanding of it, will prove to be of inestimable value, an invaluable aid providing enormous assistance to the Bible student, for it is most essential to having a proper, Scriptural, understanding of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave…” The word gave here, means: to ‘give something to someone’. More precisely it means ‘to give of one’s own accord; to give one something to his advantage; to bestow a gift’. Now, it must be asked in light of this, that if Christ died for all, how can the gift of Christ be in any way advantageous to those who remain unbelievers to their deaths? Does this not speak volumes in favour of the Biblical truth that Christ was not offered to all, but only given to some? The Father gave His Son to His people to their advantage, proving that what Christ did through His death was wholly successful, hence all those for whom He died will be saved.
The purpose of the Father’s sending the Son was for Him to make atonement for the people the Father loved and had given, or entrusted, to Him. Christ was not sent by the Father to be presented as an offering to all, nor has He been offered as a gift to all, but has been given as a gift exclusively to His people, for they, and they alone, have been entrusted, or given, to Him, just like their sins were charged to Him, and His Righteousness imputed to them. As they have been entrusted to Him, so too, He is their Surety. It is complete. One can ignore truth, but one cannot escape its reality. The concept of Christ having been given as a gift to all without exception simply makes no sense whatsoever in light of God’s Holy Word, for not all have benefitted, not all have been advantaged, not all believe, not all are loved, not all are saved by grace, for not all are His sheep. Importantly, what highlights the glory of the grace of God is the fact that all those whom God has given His Son to are they whom the Father has given to the Son, and they WILL all come to Him: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me…” (Jn. 6:37). So we see the interdependence, and the “logical coherence and accordance” with the Word of God, between grace and exactly for whom Christ’s sacrifice was offered to God, and to whom God has given His Son. “The words, ‘…He gave His only begotten Son…’ rest on the idea presented—the giving act of the Father. The word ‘eidwken’ (3rd person aorist active indicative of didwmi, ‘gave’) is crucial to understanding God’s intention in the passage. The Greek construction puts some stress on the actuality of the gift: it is not ‘God loved so as to give, but ‘God loved so that He gave.’ His love is not a vaguely sentimental feeling, but a love that costs. God gave what was most dear to Him. This is the ‘love’ which is stated as ‘for us’ in Romans 8:31-32, ‘What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up FOR US all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’” (see also Eph. 5:2,25; 1 Jn. 4:9,10). Again, we remind the reader that the apostle was here writing to Christians, fellow believers, those beloved of God who were called by Him to be His saints (see Rom. 1:7), therefore, these words from Romans 8, especially the phrases for us, and give us, cannot in any way be rightly construed as a general reference to everyone without exception. God freely gives all things to those for whom He delivered up His Son. The apostle states: “…I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved Me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). Immediately following this, Paul shows the reason behind God’s love for him, and the Son’s giving Himself for him: “I do not frustrate the grace of God…” (Gal. 2:21). The grace of God is fully manifested by His loving those for whom His Son was given as a sacrifice for their sins (see also Gal. 1:3,4). Christ was not delivered up for all mankind, but only for the beloved of God, as their Substitute and Surety, who are all called to be His saints, the ones He has separated from the world.
God’s elective and Fatherly love is further explained, and described, in 1 John 4:9,10, “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. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (see also Rev. 1:5). Because of God’s love for His people, He gave His Son for His people that they would all live through Him. “(Jesus) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest, in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:20). Like all the Letters of the New Testament, Peter’s was addressed to believers, and was not an open Letter to the world. Christ is the manifestation of God’s love for His people. God sent His Son, He gave His Son, not according to those who would love Him, but for those whom He loved first. Their love for Him was predetermined because of His love for them seen in His having given His Son for them. God gave His Son as Redeemer to those HE loved first—that is grace—for natural man cannot love, or even seek the true God (see Rom 3:11). “Propitiation, God’s love and His giving are all intrinsically linked together here and paralleled as in John 3:16.” Couple this with the fact that John the apostle, the writer of John 3:16, is, like his fellow apostle Paul, addressing his remarks “…unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God…” (1 Jn. 5:13 cf. 1 Jn. 2:1), and it becomes quite clear that Christ was specifically and exclusively sent to bring life to His people—those whom the Father had given Him—and that these ones whom He was sent into the world for were the ones God loved. “But now the Righteousness of God…is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the Righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Rom. 3:21,22). “But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Gal. 3:22). Notice how all are under sin, but the promise by faith of Jesus Christ is not given to all, but only to those that believe. This, again, links Christ—all that He is, and all that He has done—to His people who “…by Him do believe in God…” (1 Pet. 1:21). “What does it mean to ‘give’ the Son? It is nothing less than the entirety of the oblation of Christ in His incarnation, work, death, resurrection and intercession. In speaking of the giving, it points to the design and intention of God. You have heard of the gracious purpose and design of God, to recover poor sinners to Himself by Jesus Christ, and how this design of love was laid and contrived in the covenant of redemption…Now, according to the terms of that covenant, you shall hear from Galatians 3:22, how that design was by one degree advanced towards its accomplishment, in God’s actual giving or parting with His own Son for us: ‘…God so loved the world, that He gave…’, etc. The whole precedent context is spent in discovering the nature and necessity of regeneration, and the necessity thereof is in this text urged and inferred from the peculiar respect and eye God had upon believers, in giving Christ for them; they only reaping all the special and saving benefits and advantages of that gift. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave’, that is, with the love of His purpose and good pleasure, His determinate will of doing good. This is distinctly ascribed to Him, being laid down as the cause of sending His Son (see Rom. 9:11,12; Eph. 1:4,5; 1 Jn. 4:8,9).”
One of the many Scriptures which shows just who the people are whom God loves, is 2 Thessalonians 2:13: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” Notice who it is that are loved of the Lord. Paul is writing here to his brethren, those who made up the church at Thessalonica. Paul thanks God because He has chosen them to salvation, for these beloved ones are obviously the ones God loved. These are the beloved ones of the Lord whom He has chosen to be saved, and thus given to His Son to die for. His people are characterized by their being saved through the sanctification (being set apart by God for holy use) by the Spirit of God evidenced in their believing, by grace, the Gospel of God, and no other. The word beloved means “To esteem, love, indicating a direction of the will and finding one’s joy in something or someone…spoken of things to love, i.e., to delight in.” Those whom God does not love, He does not delight in, but condemns. “Some attempt to force John 3:16 within a context of a ‘general love’. Neither the context, nor the grammar, or the specific use of the words ‘so’ and ‘gave’, allow for a general love to all men. The specificity of John 3:16 is made clear in the light of the Scriptures which clearly teach Christ laid down His life exclusively for HIS sheep (see Jn. 10:11,15), and that these sheep are none other than the people God gave Him, and to whom God gave His precious Son. Jesus is given to believers (see Jn.3:16 & Eph. 2:8-10 cf. Rom. 3:21,22). God’s giving of Christ, implies His application of Him, with all the purchase of His blood, and setting all this upon us—His people—as an inheritance and portion.” ‘ina pajo` pisteuwn’ ‘in order that every believer’, is to us, and is declarative of the intention of God in sending or giving His Son, containing no distribution of the world beloved but a direction to the person whose good was intended, that love being an unchangeable intention of the chiefest good. ‘Should not perish, but have everlasting life’, contains an expression of the particular aim and intention of God which is, the certain salvation of believers by Christ. The ‘giving’ of Christ is of intense theological importance. Even the Greek construction given to these words shows us the rarity and exclamational intent of the writer. The words ‘that He gave’ is the usual classical construction of the grammar with ‘hoste’ and the indicative (first aorist active) entail a practical result; that God did do such a thing as give His Son, truly. The only other example of this in the New Testament is in Galatians 2:13 where Paul is shocked that even Barnabas was ‘carried away’ with the hypocrisy of the Jews which seemed unthinkable. John 3:16 clearly states for whom this love gift was given. ‘…He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish.’ John 3:16 says more clearly than probably any verse in Scripture that the atonement was made for believers only. God so loved the world He gave His Son that believers should have eternal life.” “…it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21 cf. v.24). “…that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe” (Gal. 3:22 cf. Rom. 3:21,22).
“Why did God do all this giving? The whole Scripture constantly assigneth this sole end of that effect of Divine goodness and wisdom; yea, asserts it as the only foundation of the Gospel, John 3:16. God gave because of His goodness to the elect and His goodness is seen in the Gospel itself, not specifically to all men in general. “…giving thanks unto the Lord; because He is good, for His mercy endureth for ever toward Israel…” (Ezra 3:11). The Divine goodness and wisdom of God has given Christ to ‘whosoever believes’ (see Jn. 12:46). Those (ho pisteuow) believing ones partake of what God gave in His love, ‘His only begotten Son’. To ‘believe’ is immediately linked to Jesus’ instruction in verse 3, those who are ‘born again’ and who ‘see’ the Kingdom of God. ‘…Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables” (Mk. 4:11 cf. Matt. 13:11; Lk. 8:10). Those believing are those Sovereignly regenerated by the Holy Spirit Who gives birth to spirit (see Jn. 3:6). The construction here is considered a ‘purpose clause’ in the Greek. It is impossible to break the line of Christ’s thought, and attribute the special and purposeful love of God which gives His only begotten Son to the entirety of mankind without distinction, where Jesus has, in verse 3 and following, already made the distinction…the theological position to attribute John 3:16 to all men generally is contextually deviant. Nor is there any mention of any special love or grace of God unto sinners, but with respect unto the satisfaction of Christ as the means of the communication of all its effects unto them…God in John 3:16 opened the Kingdom of God to all believers. The Kingdom of God is open to every believer, but that is a limited number—those whom God regenerates and endows with faith. It is the intention of God towards ‘whosoever believeth’ that determines the ‘world’ of the verse, and the direction of His goodness and His love.”
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began” (Titus 1:2). “Eternal life is a ‘promise’, and so of free grace, and not by the works of the law, which is inconsistent with a promise: it is the promise of God, Who is faithful to His Word, and ‘cannot lie’; being the God of truth, that can neither deceive, nor be deceived…and this promise was made before the world was, as early as the choice of God's elect in Christ, and the gift of grace to them in Him; as early as the Covenant was made with Him, and He was set up as the Mediator of it; Who was present to receive this promise as their head and representative for them, and to whom it was made as federally considered in Him, and in whom it was secured for them; “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 1:1).” The promise of salvation is something which could only have been made according to the will and grace of God, and never conditioned on, or determined by, the transitory will and works of men. The only sure thing in this otherwise uncertain world is the will, purpose and promises of God. “The grand promise of life was made before the world began, and Christ was set up as Mediator from everlasting, before ever the earth was, which suppose a Covenant in which this promise was granted, and of which Christ was the Mediator as early; it was made long before Abraham, or any of his spiritual seed, were in being; nor was it made with any single person, any mere creature, Abraham, or any other, but with Christ, as the Head and Representative of the whole election of grace.”
Christ gives life, not merely to Jewish believers, but to those whom the Father has chosen out of all nations to give to His Son for the express purpose of the Son dying for them, atoning for their sins, and giving them eternal life. The Gospel of Christ “…is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16 cf. 1 Cor. 1:18,24; Eph. 1:19). Notice the similar wording here to that found in John 3:16. In fact, the phrase “every one that believeth” is, in the original Greek, ‘every the one believing’ just as it is in John 3:16 (see also Rom. 10:4). “Verse 16 of Romans 1 is the John 3:16 verse of Paul’s writings.” The Word of God is never ambiguous when it comes to the mechanics of the Gospel of God. Not only does the Lord Jesus tell us in John 6:33 that He Sovereignly gives life, but in John 17:2 Christ expounds on this, and, in no uncertain terms, actually reveals to whom that eternal life is given. Importantly, eternal life is not given, as those who have misunderstood what John 3:16 is saying, to those who claim to have chosen God, but Christ here praying to the Father reveals to whom eternal life is specifically given: “…that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him.” The same is stated by Christ in John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me...” Christ gives eternal life to those the Father has given Him, and all that the Father gives to His Son will come to Him. This is all based on God’s love for His people, and not an individual’s love for Him. The very next verse of John 17 shows what eternal life is and why it is given: “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent” (Jn.17:3 cf. Isa. 43:10; Hos. 2:20). Notice that there are no conditions here for the believer to fulfil. Those who receive eternal life have it given to them, not based on anything they have done, but solely upon the will and grace of God. To know God is a gift from God. To know God is not the result of some successful effort on the part of man, but is a gift given by God to His people, therefore: “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the LORD…” (Jer. 9:23,24). “It is not even in the knowledge of God that men are to glory, but in the Lord Himself; and he that understands himself as a creature dependent on God, and especially as a fallen sinful creature; and still more as one regenerated by the grace of God; he will never glory in himself, but only in the Lord.”
The saved are not people who have chosen God, but those whom He has chosen and given unto His Son. Notice, also, those who are given eternal life know the true God, and that Christ’s being sent is connected to those who would be given eternal life, who would know the true God, and who would be given to His Son. Clearly, Christ was sent for the people whom the Father had given Him so that they would have eternal life, and know the true God, believe His Gospel alone, for they are the ones appointed by God to come to Him. Thus, Christ’s sacrifice for sin was made exclusively for these people, it was their sins that were taken away. God’s love is here revealed in His giving His chosen people, His loved people, to His Son, and His Son granting eternal life to them. Christ was given to these people, and so it was for them He laid down His precious life. There is no room in any of this for a universal love, for God has given, not all people, but an elected people to His Son. God has not given the world, everyone without exception, to His Son, nor has He given His Son for all, but only those Jews and Gentiles whom He has loved and chosen out of the world to be His own special people. God’s love is clearly for those He sent His Son to grant eternal life to. There is also no room for the alleged free will of man here. There can be no will of man’s which is independent of God’s Sovereign will. There is not even a hint, in any Scripture throughout the Word of God, of any man being given a free will to choose God, of a man’s decisioning his way to Heaven, of God the Son giving eternal life to those who have ‘chosen’ or ‘elected’ Him to be their Saviour, or of anyone’s loving God first (see 1 Jn. 4:19).
Obviously, John 17:2 teaches that Christ does not offer eternal life, but instead gives eternal life, under the direction of the Father, to all whom the Father has loved, chosen, and given, or entrusted, to the Son. So we see that those that will be saved is not, nor ever has been, an indeterminate number, but a definite number according to the elective love and saving grace of the most High God. Christ is directed by the Father according to His good pleasure to give eternal life SOLELY to those whom the Father has given to the Son, and not to whosoever ‘chooses’ Him. Eternal life was never intended to be offered to all, but only given to some. That Jesus, praying to the Father, said “As Thou hast given (Me) power over all flesh, that (I) should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given (Me)” (Jn. 17:2 cf. 1 Pet. 5:10; 1 Jn. 5:11,12), and that eternal life is a gift of God for those to whom it is promised, and not an offer to all (see Rom. 6:23), are facts which cannot be merely shrugged off, or dismissed, by those who adhere to the false doctrines of God loves everyone, and Jesus died for everyone, who would prefer these truths never existed, for if the Father directs the Son to give eternal life not to the world, not to everyone without exception, but only to those the Father has given to Him, then it is as plain as the nose on your face that (1) God does not love everyone without exception, for He has not given all to His Son; (2) if it is God who gives His Son to those whom eternal life is to be given, then a man’s alleged ‘free will’ plays no part in salvation, for it is only, and all, by GOD’S will that a man is given eternal life, it is the business of God, and not man; eternal life cannot be earned, therefore, it is not conditioned on what a man does, it can only be given as a gift; (3) if God has not given all to His Son in order that they might be given eternal life, then not all will believe, not all will come to Him, not all are loved, and, therefore, not all will be saved. Eternal life is given according to the free will of God, and no other’s. Add to this the fact that Christ does not pray for the world, all without exception, but only those whom His Father has given Him (see Jn. 17:9), and it becomes patently clear just who are saved, and who are not, as well as how and why—on what basis—some are given eternal life, and others are not. Interestingly, those for whom Christ prays, and gives eternal life to, are not principally referred to as those who believe, or will believe, but only as those whom the Father has given to the Son. “…that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him….I pray for them…which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine” (Jn. 17:2,9). Those who were chosen to be saved are identified as the ones God has elected to be His own people, and given to His Son to be saved. The chosen are given to the Son before they believe, so that, they will believe. They are given to the Son before they have eternal life, because they have been chosen to eternal life, so that they will be given eternal life. Never does a man’s believing dictate whom the Lord will give to His Son for Him to give eternal life to. God’s love is always first, and so, it is God’s love according to His will that is the prerequisite of a man’s believing in Him.
After these few introductory examples of Scriptures which stand diametrically opposed to a general, or generic, love of God, and a sacrifice of His Son for all, we now present the reader with a word study of John 3:16, beginning with its opening phrase “For God so loved the world”. This initial statement in the verse has come to be universally, and traditionally, accepted to mean God loves every individual ever created. In addition, according to this incorrect understanding, it is inferred that God wants everyone without exception to be saved. Anyone denying these conclusions, is seen as anti-God, a blasphemer of the highest order, often ridiculed, verbally abused and even ostracized by those who hold that one cannot believe God is love, if one does not believe God loves everyone without exception. The reality of the situation is that the lie that God loves all men without exception is, far from honouring God, a denial of Who the true God is, and a rejection of His Sovereignty, and the Lord’s right to be merciful and compassionate to whomsoever He wills to be merciful and compassionate to (see Ex. 33:19). Such thinking, that God loves all without exception, is the cornerstone to many a false gospel, and has led to countless other false doctrines principally the immediately subsequent teaching which claims God hopes to save all men without exception (cf. 2 Pet. 3:9), and so, does not predetermine the salvation of any. The free willer insists God is awaiting man’s decision about His ‘offer’. The choice, it is said, is completely up to man. He is free to choose for God, or against God. “‘Free will’ has made the fickle will of man the basis of the Divine decrees; it has made the great Controller of the world a mere spectator; it has deified the will of man, pulled God out of Heaven, destroyed the essence and nature of grace, suspended the efficacy of Christ’s death, and falsified Scripture…” Some have gone so far as to say that God has cast his vote for man, Satan has cast his vote against man, and now man has the deciding vote as to where he will spend eternity. What kind of a ‘God’ is this whose vote carries with it no more weight, or influence, than that of Satan, or even man’s! This is the supposed Sovereign King of the universe? This is the God Whose will is never thwarted? And what of the man who does not cast his vote, who is indifferent to both salvation, and damnation? Is there some special place prepared for those whose vote stands at 1-1? And, if there is a special place, neither Heaven or Hell, prepared for them is it a place of punishment or bliss? Or is it merely a place where nothing ever happens. What lunacy! God will not influence man either way, they say, but just makes His ‘offer’ and hopes for the best. God cannot influence man, in fact, they say God is a gentleman and would never go against the will of man, He would never intervene in a man’s life, and try and influence a man’s will one way or the other. My friend, YOU HAD BETTER HOPE THAT GOD INTERVENES IN YOUR LIFE AND SAVES YOU, FOR IT IS ONLY BY GOD’S WILL THAT A MAN IS BEGOTTEN OF GOD!! "Of HIS OWN WILL begat He us..." (Jas. 1:18). Without God’s intervention, a man will remain without hope, unbegotten of God. The doctrine of free willism makes man the sovereign over his own destiny and turns God into a helpless onlooker. Man being left with the ultimate decision that will determine his fate is something which is akin to Satan’s lie to Eve rather than to anything God has taught. If you believe in the free will of man, then you cannot believe in the Sovereignty of God. If you believe in the free will of man, then you cannot believe in the free grace of God. The god who hopes to save all men, and the God Who does save all whom He loves, are not the same God. God hoping all men will come to Him, changes God from being one Who does whatsoever He pleases (see Psa. 115:3; Job 23:13), and Whose will is always fulfilled, to one who cannot do whatsoever He pleases, and who can only hope His will is going to be fulfilled. Some, attempting to defend their belief that God loves all without exception, say ‘Real love risks rejection’, however, to say that God’s love is subject to rejection, places the will of man on a higher plane than the will of God. If one can reject God’s love, then God’s will and purpose can also be rejected, and thus, the Sovereignty of God is compromised. This reduces God to the level of man, and flies directly in the face of the fact that far from being an impotent, or partially impotent God, the true God is OMNIPOTENT, meaning He can and does do all that He wants, whenever He wants with whomsoever He wants, for His power is unlimited, unstoppable and nothing shall be impossible to Him. Nothing and no one can stop, or even, hinder God’s will from being done.
God’s alleged universal love is inferred, or assumed, as fact from John 3:16, by the presence of the single word world. However, this is far from what the Scripture actually teaches. The most popularly accepted, yet false gospel of Arminianism, is founded upon this one single verse of Scripture, or should I say, it is founded upon a misinterpretation, or misrepresentation, of this one totally innocent verse. Where an interpretation of soteriology leads you is one sure way of recognizing whether you have a correct understanding of what the Gospel of the grace of God is, or a mistaken one which has led you to a false gospel. Again, I remind the reader of the fundamental principle of Sovereign grace in salvation. It is solely by grace through faith that a man is saved (see Eph. 2:8). Faith in what, one may well ask? Faith in what God has done BY GRACE TO SAVE His people from their sins, and absolutely NO faith whatsoever in one’s own works as playing any contributory role in salvation. If it is by grace through faith that a man is saved, then he is to trust solely in the God of that grace by the gift of faith for his salvation, and in nothing, and no one, else. Ephesians 2:8-10 clearly teaches that a man is not to have faith in himself, in what he does, but solely in what God has done, which is all by, and defined as, grace. The grace of God does not merely make salvation possible, it does not merely create the possibility, or potentiality, of salvation, it does not make a person saveable, for grace guarantees salvation for all those whom God has chosen before the foundation of the world, to whom He grants the gift of faith in order that they believe His Gospel of salvation by grace alone, and reject all other gospels as having any power to save. Salvation is inevitable for those God has chosen because it has been predetermined by the will of God in accordance with the love and grace of God. Those who are of God have been given the gift of faith from God, not so they can believe the Gospel, not to make their believing some potential reality, but rather an assured realit11111y, a reality they have been predestined to walk in, thus ensuring they will believe only the Gospel of God. The gift of faith is given to the elect of God who have been chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit of God, and belief of His truth (see Titus 1:1 & 2 Thess. 2:13). The gift of faith which God gives to all His people does not require them to add anything to it in order to ensure their salvation which can only be by grace through belief in the true God as He is revealed in His true Gospel. It is purely by grace through the gift of faith whereby one is saved. Without the gift of faith one cannot savingly believe the Gospel of God. The Gospel is God’s power unto salvation, and the gift of faith given by the grace of God is the power to believe it.
The element, or presence, of grace in salvation rules out any notion that salvation can be obtained any other way. Grace is the primary constituent of salvation. Salvation by grace is a gift from God. Therefore, salvation by grace is according to God, to what God has willed, purposed and accomplished, and not as a reward for what a man does, or was foreseen would do. Man forsook God at the Fall, and has gone about following other gods ever since, evidencing the fact that no one by nature seeks the true God. No one, by nature, believes the true Gospel. There is no unjustness on God’s part in election by grace, for “…Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25 cf. Job 4:17; Job 34:10,18,19; Job 36:23). “The LORD is Righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works” (Psa. 145:17). “…for the LORD our God is righteous in all His works which He doeth…” (Dan. 9:14). “…Is God unrighteous Who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” (Rom. 3:5,6). “…there is no unrighteousness in Him” (Psa. 92:15). Paul’s respondent in Roman’s 9 asked: “…Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?” (Rom. 9:19), and was promptly rebuked: “…O man, who art thou that repliest against God?...” (Rom. 9:20). “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him?...” (Job 40:2). “Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being His counsellor hath taught Him? With whom took He counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of judgment, and taught Him knowledge, and shewed to Him the way of understanding?” (Isa. 40:13,14). “For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been His counsellor?” (Rom. 11:34). “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him?...” (1 Cor. 2:16). “Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job. 4:17). Job said of the Lord: “…He is not a man, as I am, that I should answer Him…” (Job. 9:32). “…not to questions put by Him, but in a judicial way to charges and accusations He should exhibit; no man in this sense can answer Him…” What is unjust is the fact that all have sinned against God, and come short of the glory of God. Only in light of this reality can one gain a proper perspective on the true God, and how He saves. What God has done in saving some is truly a merciful act, full of love and according to His grace alone (see Rom. 9:20-26).