The doctrine of election is an important truth that greatly helps us to properly understand, humbly accept, and greatly appreciate the love of God displayed in Christ’s death. The emphasis in scripture has always been that God freely sets His special love and affection on particular people. I know that I’m stepping on toes. I’m aware that I’m dwindling down my audience, but scripturally it is impossible to avoid this topic if I’m going to discuss the love of God in depth. Consider God’s chosen people Israel:
“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. 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 the he swore to your fathers… (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)”
The Lord is in and of Himself a loving God, but we are an undeserving people of that perfect love. Therefore, God is free to choose who He sets His redeeming and electing love upon.
Consider also Deuteronomy 10:15 “The Lord set His heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring…” The NASB translates “The Lord set His love on” as “The Lord set His affection to love them.” This is an excellent translation. The word for “set His love” in the original language is “chasaq” which is a powerful word implying a strong desire to cling to, join to, love and delight in another. The word itself carries with it not just strong emotional desire to be joined to another, but a particular purpose for this kind of love, which is literally: To deliver, to preserve, to hold back punishment, to reserve and to spare. This is what happens when God saves a person from His wrath. God’s most intimate, deep, and special love is towards those whom He has spared.
Let’s look at a few of many New Testament verses:
Romans 9:15-16 “’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy.”
Ephesians 1:3-6 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
It is my experience that people today seem perfectly fine with God electing Israel while rejecting other nations in the Old Testament, but they are furious that God would remain consistent to His ways in the New Testament. My purpose in writing is to delve into the love of God and not to hammer you with election. Nevertheless, it’s everywhere in scripture and I do want you to notice it.
Now I know someone will say that I am saying God doesn’t love everyone. That is not what I am saying, but I think it is much more biblical to say that God doesn’t love everyone to the same extent or in the same way. An example of God’s general care for all men is found in Matthew 5:44-45:
“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
There are several ways in which God has cared for every person, such as creating us and providing for our practical needs. God has even blessed all people by allowing them to experience His creation, but to many this evidence will be brought up against them on the day of judgement. We are to love our enemies as God loves His enemies, which is not with the same measure or type of love as we would love our own children and family members. I have a special love for my husband that does not belong to anyone else, and no one would accuse me of being unfair. God has a special love for those whom He has adopted as Beloved Children, and this love is exclusively towards them.
It is essential to keep in mind that at one time we were ALL God’s enemies and He still showed love towards us in practical, yet still amazing ways. But He is not intimate or close to the wicked who remain in their wickedness.
Proverbs 28:9 “If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination.”
We are all originally enemies of God. We are all naturally disposed to be rejected by God, and worthy of that rejection. As I have already discussed it is not as though anyone goes to Hell having cared about God, but rather we have no spiritual appetite for Him or His truths, and are “not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:13).” We are not spiritually able to know Him, but neither do we want to: “’Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me,’ declares the Lord (Jeremiah 9:6).” The key is that we need God to intervene or we could never have a hope of personally experiencing His love, mercy, and grace.
Our desperate, helpless, and Hell worthy state is what makes the love of God breath taking. Don’t dare say He isn’t fair friends. The fact that He would rescue anyone like us should make us fall on our faces in awe.
The best way I can think to explain this more clearly is to discuss the topic of the pleasure and delight of the Lord. This is not a topic that is easy to grasp, or for many to accept, but it is wrong to turn a blind eye to the truths of God’s word because they are difficult or uncomfortable for us. The more we seek God’s word, and His heart in prayer, the more we can understand His truths for the sake of our joy. Please follow up by reading my next section when it is posted.