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God's Saving Love Bestowed

God is Love  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  34:16
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God has a special love for His own, His chosen people. This is a love that only those who belong to Christ can possibly know. It is a unique and marvelous love. It is a life-giving love. It is a love that saves. We are not more deserving than a condemned sinner, we are not better than an unbeliever. We are wholly unworthy. Our salvation is not our own to obtain. It is purely and simply a gift of grace from God.

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Introduction

Last week we discussed God’s universal love. However, no one should conclude that because God’s love is universally extended to all humanity that means God loves everyone equally.
Remembering Romans 9:13, it is clear that He does not:
Romans 9:13 ESV
As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Furthermore, in verse 11, Paul gives us context to God’s choice “though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad-”.
Pause there.....Why would God choose to love one person and hate the other before either of them could do anything to merit God’s love or hatred?
Paul continues in verse 11 to answer our question: “in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls-”.
Paul is teaching us that God is sovereign in the exercise of His love. God has set His love on certain individuals in eternity past and predestined them to eternal life.
This biblical teaching is what theologians call the doctrine of election.
Many people struggle with this doctrine. It assaults our human sensibilities. Our already broken moral compass goes into a free-wheeling spin when we think that God chooses in this way.
Yet, I believe, the doctrine is clearly taught in Scripture.
Moreover, it’s implications on our understanding of God’s love is so crucial, I feel we it is time we address it.

God’s Universal Love Is Not Saving Love

Humanity rejects God’s universal love, which is meant to lead to repentance.
The compassion and goodness God bestows on all humanity has its limits, according to Scripture. It can be resisted. It can be rejected. Romans 2:4 says:
Romans 2:4
Romans 2:4 ESV
Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
God’s love and goodness should lead sinners to repentance, but because of the utter wickedness of their sinful hearts, sinners stubbornly choose to remain in sin and unbelief. So ultimately, God’s universal compassion and love gives way to judgment of sinners.
1 Corinthians 16:22
In 1 Corinthians 16:22, the Apostle Paul literally pronounces eternal damnation against those who reject God:
1 Corinthians 16:22 ESV
If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!
God has a holy revulsion for humanity’s sinfulness.
Be that as it may, we can’t ignore that some people would rather believe that God loves everyone so much that everyone will be saved.
They suggest that those who reject Him during their time on earth will be given a second chance or, that God will just blanket forgive everyone on judgment day. But Jesus’ own words in Matthew 25:46 leaves no room for this error in belief:
Matthew 25:46
Matthew 25:46 ESV
And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matthew 10:28
Similarly, others deny that god truly hates anyone. They say that God hates sin, but loves the sinner. This is a false distinction, though. Matthew 10:28 tells us that it is the sinner who is judged, condemned, and punished:
Matthew 10:28 ESV
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
If God hated only the sin and not the sinner, He would strip the sin away and redeem the sinner, rather than destroying “both body and soul in hell.” The biblical truth is that God does hate the unrepentant sinner in a very real and terrifying sense. Hell is, after all, the final expression of God’s hatred.
Be careful not to classify this as a sinister hatred, though; it is a holy revulsion for that which is sinful, vile, loathsome, and evil. But it is true hatred nonetheless.
God’s love for humanity does not nullify His wrath against sin.
So while there is a genuine sense in which God’s love is universal towards humanity, there is another sense in which it is limited.
The love of God for all humanity is not the sort of love that nullifies His holy loathing of sin.
It is not the sort of love that guarantees everyone’s salvation.

God’s Saving Love Is A Special Love

Eis Telos: A completely perfect love.
However, there is an even greater love of God, one that does accomplish the salvation of sinners.
This special love is bestowed from all eternity on those whom He has chosen as His own. God’s love for those who believe, His elect, is infinitely greater than His love for humanity in general.
It is crucial that we see that God has this special love for His own, His chosen people and that He loves them with an eternal, unchanging love. John 13:1 describes Christ’s love for His disciples:
John 13:1
John 13:1 ESV
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
That last little phrase “to the end” is the key phrase. The Greek expression is ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os) “to the end” is an accurate enough translation, but it doesn’t portray the full thought behind the expression.
ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os) is an expression meaning “completely, perfectly, fully, to the uttermost.”
God loves the world, but He loves “His own” perfectly, unchangingly, completely, fully - ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os).
Basically, He loves His own to the complete extent of His capacity to love His creatures. He loves them enough to make them joint-heirs in Christ.
He lavishes them with all the riches of His grace for all of eternity. His love for the elect knows no limits.
That’s the meaning behind ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os).
Eis Telos: An unconditional love.
Let’s look at the context of this verse:
Jesus was in the Upper Room with the disciples on the night He was betrayed. He was very much aware of their failures, weaknesses, and their disappointing actions.
They seemed to struggle to comprehend the simplest truths.
They were a cowardly, disloyal, frightened group who would very soon scatter when He was taken prisoner.
Christ knew this, He predicted that Peter would deny Him three times. He knew that when He was hung on the cross the next day, most of the disciples would be in hiding.
However, His love for them had never failed. He had proven it time and again, it was a love that would never die and it was unconditional.
Eis Telos: A unique, eternal, saving love.
Likewise, the expression ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os) also carries the idea of neverending, of eternality. It speaks of a love that lasts forever.
John 14:2-3
Not only did Christ love His own to the end of their lives; not only did He love them to the end of His earthly life; He would love them eternally. In this same context, he tells them in John 14:2-3:
John 14:2–3 ESV
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Here is where the true greatness of God’s love is seen. Christ faces the cross.
He will bear their sin and He will undergo the agonizing wrath of God on their behalf.
He will suffer the painful, lonely sense of being forsaken by the Father, not to mention the human pain of execution, murder, and public shame in the most brutal form of the time.
Yet, he is totally immersed in His love for His own, and as He faces death, He affirms how much He loves these completely unworthy men.
This is a love that only those who belong to Christ can possibly know. It is a unique and marvelous love. It is a life-giving love. It is a love that saves forever, ĕis tĕlŏs (ice tel´-os).

God’s Saving Love Is Sovereignly Bestowed

God’s children are chosen out of His sovereign grace.
Deuteronomy 7:6-8
Moreover, in Deuteronomy 7:6, God told Israel:
Deuteronomy 7:6 ESV
“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
Here God is speaking about His chosen people, His own, and He continues by saying:
Deuteronomy 7:7–8 ESV
It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
God didn’t choose Israel because they were better than the other nations, not because they were more worthy of His love, and not because they were a greater or more impressive nation than any other, but simply because of His grace.
God’s chosen are those who belong to Him spiritually through faith.
Some might object by interpreting that the words of Deuteronomy 7 are directed to an entire nation, including many who evidently were not numbered among the chosen to receive salvation, the elect.
Romans 9:6-7
However, the Apostle Paul, replies to this objection when He writes in Romans 9:6-7:
Romans 9:6–7 ESV
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”
In other words, Paul is clarifying that God’s elect is not determined by belonging to a nation or by blood descent. This is an example of why we must always allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.
So taken in light of everything Scripture has to say about Israel, we know that the words of Deuteronomy 7 are addressed to the elect among the nation of Israel.
Galatians 3:5-7
Galatians 3:5-7 further clarifies:
Galatians 3:5–7 ESV
Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.
When God speaks in Deuteronomy 7 of His eternal love for Israel, He is speaking of the spiritual children of Abraham.

Conclusion

Christians should be humbled before God’s sovereign, undeserved, loving choice for their salvation.
Why, of all nations, was Israel chosen as God’s people? Because they chose God? No; because God chose them. That’s exactly what Deuteronomy 7:7 means.
It was God’s sovereign choice to set His eternal love on Israel. God makes it crystal clear that they were not to think they were any more deserving than any other nation.
This should be a humbling realization for Christians.
We are not more deserving than a condemned sinner, we are not better than an unbeliever.
We are completely unworthy.
Our salvation is not our own to obtain. It is purely and simply a gift of grace from God.
Meditate on that, let it sink in deep into your heart, I guarantee you will come to a new level of appreciation and worship when you do.
It was a sovereign act of God’s own will that He loved Israel; and out of His love, He chose; just as He chooses us.

PRAYER

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