Volume. XXIV, No. 33
Sunday, 14 February 2010


The Marvelous Love of Christ


Introduction

 
Speaking of the love of Christ, the Prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon said, “Jesus does not love his own with a little of his love, nor regard them with some small degree of affection, but he says, ‘As the Father hath loved me, even so have I loved you,’ and the Father’s love to the Son is inconceivably great, since they are one in essence, ineffably one. The Father cannot but love the Son infinitely, neither doth the Son ever love his people less than with all his heart. It is an affection which no angelic mind could measure, inconceivable, unknown.” Without a doubt, Christ’s love for His people is marvelously immeasurable, inconceivable and unknown as Rev. Spurgeon described. Yet, God has revealed enough to us in the Scriptures so that we are able to understand the extent, the depth and the benefit of His love toward His people. Let us consider this subject beginning with the extent of God’s love. 
 
The Extent of God’s Love
 
God Hates Doers of Iniquities
 
According to the Scriptures, the Word of God explicitly says that God hates not only sins but He also hates the “doers of iniquity” although many may find this an extremely uncomfortable truth. The following are passages which teach that God hates not just sins but also the wicked or doers of iniquities. Lev 20:23: “And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” Deut 18:12 “For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” Ps 5:5: “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” Ps 10:3: “For the wicked boasteth of his heart\'s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth” (cf. Ps 11:5-7; cf. Ps 50:22; 78:59; 106:40). Pro 3:32-33: “For the froward is abomination to the LORD: but his secret is with the righteous. The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.” (cf. Pro 6:16-19: 16:5; 17:5; 22:14). Jer 17:5: “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” (cf. Hos 9:15; Mal 1:3-4; Rom 9:13; 1 Cor 16:22; Jas 4:4; 1 Pet 3:12; Rev 14:10-11). Some may argue that the idea that “God hates sinners” is just too radical. They may further argue that this must be the view held by a few extremists and Hyper-Calvinists. On the contrary, some of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time support this view.
 
AUGUSTINE (354-430, Bishop of Hippo): “For it may be that GOD HATES A PERSON to the degree more mildly, as not to destroy him, but whom He destroys HE HATES THE MORE EXCEEDINGLY, by how much He punisheth more severely. Now HE HATETH ALL WHO WORK INIQUITY: but all who speak lies He also destroys.” (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol.3, p.462)
 
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791, founder of Methodism): “But as for the wicked, GOD HATES THEM, and will feverishly punish them.” (Explanatory Notes Upon the Old Testament, Vol.2, p.1639)
 
JONATHAN EDWARDS: “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much in the same way one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect, over the fire, ABHORS YOU, and is dreadfully provoked: His wrath towards you burns like fire: He looks upon you as worthy of nothing else but to be cast into the fire: He is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in His sight: you are ten thousand times more ABOMINABLE in His sight than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.” (Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God, July 8, 1741)
 
CHARLES G. FINNEY: “The very thing that God hates and disapproves is not the mere event - the thing done in distinction from the doer; but it is the doer himself. It grieves and displeases God that a rational moral agent under His government should array himself against his own God and Father, against all that is right and just in the universe. This is the thing that offends God. The sinner himself is the direct and only object of His anger.” (The Guilt of Sin, pp.84-85)
 
CHARLES H. SPURGEON: “Psalm 5:5 - Note the singular opposition of the two sentences. GOD HATES THE WICKED, therefore in contrast He loves the righteous...” (The Treasury of David, Vol.2, pp.57-58)
 
MATTHEW HENRY: “He is a holy God, and therefore HATES THEM (the sinner), and cannot endure to look upon them; the wicked, and him that loveth violence, HIS SOUL HATETH... Their pros-perity is far from being an evidence of God’s love...their abuse of it does certainly make them objects of HIS HATRED. He hates nothing that He has made, yet HATES THOSE who have ill-made themselves.”
 
AUGUSTUS HOPKINS STRONG: “There is no abstract sin that can be hated apart from the person in whom that sin is represented and embodies. It is the sinner who is punished, not the sin.” (Systematic Theology, p.290f)
 
J. VERNON MCGEE: “ If you think God is just lovey-dovey, you had better read this (Ps.11:5) and some of the other Psalms again. GOD HATES THE WICKED who hold onto their wickedness... I do not think God loves the devil, I think He hates him, and HE HATES THOSE WHO HAVE NO INTENTION OF TURNING TO GOD. Frankly, I do not like this distinction that I hear today, that ‘God loves the sinner, but hates the sin.’ God has loved you so much that He gave His Son to die for you, but if you persist in your sin, and continue in that sin, you are the enemy of God. And God is your enemy.” (Psalms, Vol.1, p.72)
 
The fact that God hates the “wicked” or “doers of iniquities” does not inevitably suggest that God is happy to see them perish or that He has no regard or concerns whatsoever for the wicked. The Word of God explicitly says God has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways.(Ezk 33:11). The Bible also says that God allows sunshine and rain to be given to non-Christian nations and non-Christian people in the world. Matt 5:45 says, “…your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.This shows that God “cares” even for the “doers of iniquities,” “the wicked,” “the non-elect,” ”non-Christians” or “unregenerate”. This is called the Common Grace of God. The Common Grace of God is an exhibition of God’s general love “for all people” as His creatures regardless of their standing before God and despite His hatred of those who do wicked deeds and those who refuse to repent. There is no contradiction between the two theological concepts. God alone who possesses both “perfect love” and “perfect hatred” is capable of exhibiting both love and hatred and remaining as an absolutely Holy and Righteous God. Now, does it mean that God’s people are also called to hate sinners and doers of iniquities? No. We are called to hate sins and not sinners for one simple reason—we are sinners ourselves and were once hated of God. If not for the love of God who has chosen us in His Son (Eph 1:4,5), we would have all perished.
 
God Loves His Chosen People as His Children
 
Although God hates the wicked and doers of iniquities, he bestowed common grace as the evidence of His love to all of His creation but He loves His chosen even with a special kind of love. According to God’s Word, God loves His chosen people or His elect with a special kind of love, which is not common, and goes beyond His love for the non-elect. Some may want to argue, “That is not fair! God who is loving and merciful should love everyone the same!“A woman once said to Rev Charles Spurgeon, “I cannot understand why God should say that He hated Esau.” To this Spurgeon replied, “This is not my difficulty, madam. My trouble is to understand how God could love Jacob.” Having this thought in mind, one must ask this question: Is it unfair and Biblical to maintain that God loves His chosen more than the non-elect? An analogy may help to shed more light on this truth. All mothers love children, but it is totally fair and natural for every mother to reserve a special kind of love for her children. No one would say that a mother is unfair for loving her children more than other children who are not her own. Likewise, although God loves all people as His creatures, He has a right to love His chosen people in a special way—as His children.
 
What does the Bible say? Jer 31:3 says, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.”Bear in mind that this is saidin context of the nation of Israel, His chosen people. But the same principle also applies to the New Testament church today. The New Testament Church, which predominantly consists of the elect Gentiles,is engrafted to the spiritual commonwealth of Israel and have become spiritual descendants of Abraham (Gal 3) as a chosen people (Deut 7:6; 1 Pet 2:4-9). Now, is it fair for God to choose some unto eternal life and leave the rest in their eternal condemnation? Some would still think it is unfair and incomprehensible to imagine that a “loving and merciful God” would elect and predestinate only some unto eternal life. Well, even if finite men like us perceive God’s action as unfair or incomprehensible, it does not really matter. The Scripture tells us that there is no unrighteousness with God (Rom 9:14). As the potter, God has the power over the clay to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour (Rom 9:14,21).
 
Conclusion:
 
God loves all people as His creatures, but hates workers of iniquities and loves the church, His bride, with an everlasting and special kind of love reserved only for His elect. We have already considered the extent of God’s love this week. Next week, we shall consider the “depth of Christ’s love”.
Pastor Weng
 

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Announcements

Announcements
Kitchen Rosters:Team Leader: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day Kitchen Roster: Team Leader: Dn Edwin D’Mello.
Bible Classes on “Church History for Everyone” will begin on 28 Feb.
Basic Bible Knowledge Class (BBK): Starts 7 Mar. Anyone seeking Baptism, Re-Affirmation or Membership is advised to attend this class. For details, please see Ps Weng or Elder Lee.
Corporate Prayer Meetingto start on Wed, 3 Mar, at 7:30pm. All are encouraged to come & pray.
Sis Susan Veradihas now shifted to Unit 51 in the same retirement village.
Looking Ahead
O-Week at the University of Adelaide on 22nd & 25th Feb 2010.
Family Bible Camp, Easter weekend, 2-5 April 2010.

Praise & Thanksgiving
Journey mercies:Elder Michael & Sis Alice Lee; Bros Samuel Ki (Adl) & Raphael Ng (Brisb/Adl); & Sis Serene Wong (Adl); & all others who have travelled.
Church activities - Men’s & Ladies’ Meetings; Wed Prayer Meeting & Bible Study; YAF Bible Study over the past week.
Ebenezer BPC’s Batam Missions (Jan).
Bethel BPC’s Myanmar Missions (early Feb).
Daily mercies, protection, and guidance.
Prayer Items
Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Rev Stephen Khoo, Dr & Mrs S H Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tommy Brooks, Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Alan Marion, Len & Richard Pearson, Winston Selvanayagam, Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki; Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Myung Ki, Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville).
Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam.
iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim (Melb).
IBPFM (USA) - missionaries & funds.
Ps Ki’s family & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond). For Moslems in the area to receive Christ.
Hopefuls in S’pore; Teo family (Kuching).
God’s comfort in grief: Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser, Sis Margaret Hooper and their family; Sis Nita Chong & family; & others in grief.
Journey mercies: Rev & Mrs Pong Seng Yiew (Adl); Sisters Ethel Ong & Serene Wong (S’pore); Corinne (Syd) & Emmelin (Adl) Teng; students & others who are travelling.
Job - Sisters Marion Chan, Hui Wei Chua, Judy Li, & Corinne Teng.
Good health in pregnancy - Sisters Bernadette Ng, & Josephine Wong.
Unity of fellowship & doctrine of B-P Churches.
God’s guidance for future: Sis Mag Yu (Shanghai).
O-Week at Adelaide University - YAF’s outreach ministry to uni students. 
 

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063