Ordo Salutis III: For God So Loved The World
Now that we have established who we are in the sight of God, let us tackle the bigger, nay impossible question:
Who is God? Ask my son and he would immediately quote:
God is the universe’s Creator And Sustainer plus the only Savior, there is no one greater. He’s Triune, holy, omnipotent, omniscient, absolute, loving, sovereign and righteous are just a few of His attributes.
– Shai Lynne, Atonement Q&A
To be sure, God is all of those things and so much more. Beyond the authoritative Scriptures, each single attribute has had countless books and papers written describing in full detail the awesome majesty of God.
Yet, when I read the Bible, I am truly confident of who God is for God is love. The Bible overwhelmingly states this to be so. To read the Bible, surely you can walk away from knowing that God is love.
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
But what is love?
Some adults would say that “if you love me, you would give me what I want.” To which, anyone who has ever raised kids, that statement is complete insanity. Yet, most of the world views God in this light.
God did not spare the life of my loved one.
God did not ease my suffering.
God did not bless me as much as this guy.
God was not there when I needed him the most.
God did not help me when I needed it most.
My father was brutal, distance and unloving so surely God is just like my dad.
Why doesn’t God just reveal himself so that we can believe in him?
God refused to be my divine waiter and He has failed me.
You know what is the clearest example of God’s love to each of us? The fact that He has revealed that He alone is God and we are not gods. I understand it might be easy for me to say that, the one with the regenerative heart. It is easy for me to say that but really hard to live it day in and day out. If it is hard to live out, how I am different than the unrepentant?
There are examples of multiple examples in the Bible where God comes down, calls and that person then chooses every day to trust in Him. But in that I don’t think is the clearest example of God’s love.
There is also the very historical view that Jesus Christ lived the perfect life, falsely accused, illegally tried and died the most horrific death. This has been made plain to those with a little bit of education within the last 2000 years. But in that I don’t think is the clearest example of God’s love.
The one that shines brightest is the story of Moses and more specifically when God called Moses and Aaron to go and preach the gospel to the Pharaoh.
Think about it: Pharaoh equated himself to be a god. Pharaoh declared himself king and lord of the world. Pharaoh declared himself master of the creation around him. Pharaoh proclaimed himself ruler over life and death itself.
Upon the authority of God himself, Moses and Aaron became prophets and missionaries to their own country and approach the Pharaoh and vehemently declares, “You are not a god for there is only the One True God. There is no doubt that you are king and lord over Egypt but who put you there? There is the King of kings and Lord of lords and He has put you there. You were not around when the world was created so surely you cannot be the Creator? Who has stitched you together in your mom’s womb? You were not even born. Who can take your life? We as mankind will shed blood but there is the One who determines the number of our days here on earth.
Pharaoh, you are not Him.
He is the great I AM.
So let His people go!”
Did Moses really say this? No. Instead, God let his words to be few and simply showed Pharaoh he was not a god.
God hammers down the ten plagues.
Through God’s absolute control over His creation, he shows this mere mortal that there was only One True God.
God had nothing to prove to Pharaoh, Egypt, the Israelites, the Prophets or even the world.
He brings down the ten plagues because to every single child of wrath who has ever walked the earth and will ever walk the earth, God relentlessly, passionately, lovingly pursues even to all of those who have exchanged God for themselves as a god.
Romans 9:17-18 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.
For His people, he has mercy. To others including Pharaoh, His love and pursuit only serve to harden their hearts.
In his righteousness, just and holiness, God has every single right to remove us from existence and as Creator, he would be perfectly right to do so.
Yet in his grace, mercy, and love, God runs after every single one of us and yells, “I love you.”
It was in God’s love that only served to harden the heart of Pharaoh.
To that very thought, do we desire God to simply leave us alone?
Never! God loves us too much to simply leave us alone.
John 3:16a “For God so loved the world…
If God truly loves the world, how does he claim to have hated Esau (Malachi 1:2-3 cf. Romans 9:13)? Is that a contradiction? Absolutely not. I am fully convinced that God loved Esau when Esau was alive on the earth. But as soon as he perished, he was judged by the Just and Holy God:
Hebrews 9:27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,
For as long as your body draws breath on this earth, make no mistake: God is pursuing you. The question remains: does His pursuit harden or soften your heart towards Him?
Salvation was there for Esau. Salvation was there for you. All you have to do is trust Him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.