AUSTRALIAN BIBLE CHURCH – March 19, 2006
GOD IS LOVE, NOT SHOVE OR ROVE
I John 4:7-8, I Corinthians 13
I John 4:7-8
When I John 4:8 declares that God is love, it is not asserting that He is not truth, wisdom and life. It is not adding the word 'only' or 'alone'! However it is asserting, as a minimum, that He is utterly, essentially, continually, uncompromisingly, in quality and in procedure, love. It is not episodic or uncertain, wavering or rash, given to impulse: it is characteristic, unimpedable, undepressible, clear of all contrary content.
If there is any question that He will damn someone because He did not love enough, to the uttermost, this is nonsense. He FOREKNOWS His own people (Romans 8:29ff.), and predestinates them, nothing fooling Him, beguiling Him or corrupting Him. Desiring that ALL repent, and having made peace through the blood of the Cross (as Colossians 1 STATES), it pleases Him, is good in His sight to reconcile ALL things to Himself, yes whether in heaven or on earth (cf. I Timothy 2, Ezekiel 33:11, Matthew 23:37ff., Luke 19:42ff).
To be damned, you have to fulfil the biblical criterion: EVEN THOUGH God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, and though He came not to condemn that world, but that the world through Him might be saved, YET there is a way to be damned. In John 3:19, He immediately declares it. If in the light and face of all this, God’s intent, plan, purpose and action, you prefer light to darkness, if this remains your choice, then chosen it is. God does not force, is no dictator, does not threaten to blow you up if you do not believe - does indeed warn you of the folly of not providing for His protection (Proverbs 1, Ecclesiastes 11-12), since this is true, but does not make force an implement of faith. Leave that to the religions of vile violence. In His case, HE is the One to die, HIS is the sacrifice, and HIS is the payment for the way back for man, to come to God (I Peter 3:18).
Judgment must occur, and it will - but God has offered Himself, a prelude and a peace-offering, sent His only begotten Son, incarnate from His eternity, expressed His love in this offering.
Yet the world is like a stray colt, now grown to become a stallion, tossing its mane, shaking its proud head, indomitable and proud of it, thinking whatever wild thoughts or dreams have its approval, and pursuing them like children with no heads on their shoulders, by will, determination, the clatter of power and the clutter of culture.
It runs into walls in its frightened self-assertive dashes, and never learns. It has an end, as II Peter 3 declares, and Christ also, in Matthew 24:35 - in fact as Isaiah 51:6 made so simple and clear.
It has to have an end; some things are so foul, their stench so offensive, their griefs so manifest and manifold, that it is a kindness that they end. Moreover, when you abuse some things, there is an end of the tolerance of the design to such treatment. It HAS to end.
Civilisations, like those of Egypt in its imperial grandeur, have forever been humbled (Ezekiel 29:14-16):
"And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt,
and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation;
and they shall be there a base kingdom. It shall be the basest of the kingdoms;
neither shall it exalt itself any more above the nations:
for I will diminish them, so that they shall not rule any more over the nations.
"And no longer shall it be the confidence of the house of Israel,
but will remind them of their iniquity, when they turned to follow them.
"Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD."
The same is true of the forsaken Tyre, summarily dismissed from its place (Ezekiel 26:12,14,20-21, and it was fulfilled by Alexander the Great, mainly) and as to Babylon (Jeremiah 50-51, Isaiah 13), the ample ruins of that vast megapolis lying in vast rubble to this day, mute testimony to the divine word.
Jerusalem had the same result (predicted in Luke 19:42ff., happening in AD 70, at the hand of Rome and Titus); but in this case, its restoration was also predicted (Luke 21:24), and the great triumphs (which occurred visibly in 1938, 1967, 1973 likewise – Zechariah 12). In its case, there is a future, after many tribulations, but it is in return to the Lord!
The same is true of the forsaken Tyre, summarily dismissed from its place (Ezekiel 26:12,14,20-21), and it was fulfilled by Alexander the Great, mainly); and as to Babylon (Jeremiah 50-51, Isaiah 13), the ample ruins of that vast megapolis are to be seen lying in vast rubble to this day, mute testimony to the divine word.
Jerusalem had the same result (predicted in Luke 19:42ff., happening in AD 70, at the hand of Rome and Titus); but in this case, its restoration was also predicted (Luke 21:24), as were the great triumphs (which occurred visibly in 1938, 1967, 1973 likewise – Zechariah 12). In its case, there is a future, after many tribulations, but it is in return to the Lord!
For the rest, their end was predicted and has duly been fulfilled. Love bore long; but it did not become indulgence! It has offered the Cross of Christ, and to repentance, it offers a way.
It offers it to one, to all, to every race, place, face (John 3:16, Colossians 1:19ff.): and the preference of any for darkness is known to Him (John 3:17), like the place for grace, foreknown without man's works of any kind (Romans 9); and this is implemented by the One who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), knowing what fallen man cannot know (I Corinthians 2:14).
This counsel applies meanwhile to the blessed work of salvation.
By grace alone, He acts, fulfilling His stated volition that all might be brought to repentance and knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2). This sublime wonder is worked by His own hand (John 6:6:65). Predestination has merely fulfilled beforehand, the realities of the case, and these are sure: love secures its target (John 3:16-19), purity has paid (Hosea 13:14), and He looks from the travail of His soul (Isaiah 53), and is satisfied.
(See Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 11, Great Execrations, Great Enervations, Greater Grace Chs. 7, 9.)
With such solemn intent, irrevocable grace, wholehearted love, the God who ransomed, has acted.
I CORINTHIANS 13
God is love, and ends the frustrated turmoil of those who ruin successive generations, waiting long before the end (II Peter 3:9), but warning of it, and entreating, while paying the price of return, as for a voyage back from another country, covering enough for any, assigning it to those who come.
I Corinthians 13 shows how YOU are to show love. It does NOT say: Love is pushy, but that it is patient; not, love is irritable, but suffers long; not, puts up with nothing and imposes its will, but bears all things; not, is surrounded like an island with water, with the depths of its own self, but does not seek its own; not, it is canny, but it is kind; not advertises its wares, but does not parade itself, is not puffed up; not, grabs its thing and gets it, but does not behave in an unseemly fashion; not, ponders evils and manipulates them, but thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoices in the truth; not, keeps itself uptight and cranky, but believes all things, hopes all things; not, gives up and redirects its efforts when it is too hard, but love never fails; not yaps for ever, but leads on to knowing God face to face.
Love is indispensable; and its lack is the lack of all. Have your money, or give it up, have your great knowledge or give it up: it is all one. Have love or be nothing of any value! It is the pre-condition of life in godliness, and the coin of commerce in heaven, the wallet for earth and the witness of truth: indeed love "rejoices in the truth." If therefore you do not rejoice in the truth you are not loving. How could you be, if the source, original, basis and Father of all love, you ignore, or His work, despise! Is love a vagrant, then, an officious formulator of gods, and not in the heart for its Maker!
In truth, God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself and has given to us the word of reconciliation, that He made Christ to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Just as Christ became a sin offering, and bears the sin of all who deposit it, not in the bank, but on Him and His death (Colossians 1:22), so those who receive Him and accept His dynamic by faith, receive His righteousness, even that of God, as a gift, and life as children, bought back, redeemed, adopted (Ephesians 1:5-7,12-14), sealed by His Spirit and inhabited by Him (Colossians 1:27). All things follow His word, and the return of the Lord’s Christ draws near! (Answers to Questions Ch. 5).
Love rejoices in that, that God is good in practical things, and is to be found in a practical work, that of Christ, in a practical way, by entrusting your sin to Him for pardon, and your life for direction.