Skip to comments.God's Love ;An awesome Mystery... John 3 pt 12
Posted on 03/03/2012 5:21:15 PM PST by pastorbillrandles
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us (Ephesians 2:4)
John 3 is the record of an interview that Jesus gave to a leading Rabbi, a Senator(Sanhedrinist) and a Pharisee, Nicodemus.The Topic? The New Birth.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the New Birth was more than the acceptance of a new set of responsibilities such as marriage or ministry, as the Jews believed. The New Birth was an act of God,the Holy Spirit. It was and is the fulfillment of the promise given through Ezekiel, that God would grant Israel a washing in water and give them a new tender heart of flesh that they might keep His commands.
No human being could ever become good enough to attain this new birth, it is a gift of God, given to us by the descent of the Son of Man which is in heaven, but who has come to the earth.
The gift of the New Birth would come as a result of something akin to Moses brass serpent, lifted up in the wilderness. Even so must the son of man be lifted up, that those who believe in him might receive the gift of eternal life. The Son would bear the judgment that we deserved, on the tree, that we might live.
We discussed last time what is not meant by the phrase For God so loved the world . We had to because decades of humanistic teachings, the influence of psychology and the increasing sentimentalization of christianity, have led to serious misconceptions about Gods love.
God did not love the world because of something which he saw that was desirable in it. Nor is the cross the measure of our worth as so many in this psychologized age assert. There was nothing in us at all that compelled God to love the world.
The word for Love in John 3:16 is Agape, and it means that God chose to Love us, He willed it, and set his love upon us, solely because of who He is, not who we are. God saw our plight, chose to will our good, and did what needed to be done, to save us.
There are many facets to this ,Love so amazing, and so Divine, in fact it would take eternity to even begin to plumb the depths of the love Jesus mentioned in John 3:16.
Let it suffice us for now to look at just a few of them. What was it in God that compelled him to offer up his Son for our salvation?
* Mercy- The God revealed by Jesus in John 3 is a God of mercy and truth. He doesnt wish for anyone to perish, as the apostle Peter says, but that all might come to repentance, and receive the gift of God which is everlasting Life.
His very nature is forgiveness, as the Psalmist indicates,
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.(Psalm 103:8-11)
The mercy of God compels Him to want to relieve the sufferings even of those justly afflicted. He saw our sin, and with it all of its implications, all of he misery, shame, pain, confusion and death that the aggregation of human sin would bring about, and He did something to bring us relief and salvation.
*Holy Love- But the Love of God is Holy Love. He had to relieve our sufferings in a Holy and Righteous way, He could not just sweep our sin under the carpet, he had to make a way consistent with His own nature to relieve us.His answer? Substitution.
Because God is Holy, sin must be answered for, the demand that the sinner must die and that wrath be satisfied against all transgression, iniquity and sin. Jesus is the offering God made to himself , for us.
* Compassionate love- The Love of God compelled Him to save us by entering fully into our humanity. God himself would feel what we feel, fully experiencing everything of humanity,(except sin). God was in Jesus Christ, coming to us, tasting death in all of its forms; hatred and rejection,hunger, thirst, limitation, betrayal, unrequited love, humiliation and even shame. The prophet Isaiah said of Him,
For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.(Isaiah 53:2-6)
Small wonder Charles Wesley taught us to marvel in song of adoration;
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Saviors blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Somewhat over-used these days, this word, “awesome.”
True, but never can it be over- used when it is describing any attribute of the only true God, and Jesus his Son.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! Romans 11:33
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:3
I agree, the people have lost the vision of a Holy God, one who is to be feared. The false prophets have given them a false God to worship.
Older theologians like Albert Pink in his book about ‘Soverienty” conclude that God infact can NOT love sinners who are predestined for hell- He can NOT love sin, and htose predestined for hell are sinners- He can noly love His own- those who are known by Him to receive Christ at some point in their lives. (which may be why God tells us to avoid convorting with the unsaved EXCEPT for the purpose of presentign htem with the gospel or to work alongside them- We certainly don’t know who will be saved and hwo won’t- but this isn’t liscence to wallow in the muck with the unsaved)
God does indeed have an attribute of love in Him, however, it’s my beleif His love is only for His own- Holiness and sin can NOT coexist in God’s holy Presence-
This is a real touchy subject, and many people don’t like learnign that God does not ifnact lvoe the workld- the verse John 3:16 uses a word for ‘world’ that is indiciative of “His own”, not of ‘the whole world’. In Gill’s Exposition of the whole bible- he shows where the word is meant of only those whom will be saved
Pink’s book is a heavy heavy read (it can be found online btw) and I’m not sure exactly how I beleive about it- but if it is infact how God views the elect and those predestiend for hell, then it’s a heavy truth that is quite hard to take (and actually drove me to a drinking binge that landed me in hospital)
God is love, yes indeed, but let’s not foget that God is also Holy and that justice MUST be meeted out to those who reject Him, and with heavy hearts and humble attitudes thank Him for our salvation in fear and trembling knowing that we could have been the unelect-
Never used in Scripture as an attribute. “Awful” is an attribute, and so is “terrible,” and a God of judgment, and “a consuming fire.” Of course as well as love, and mercy. “Awesome” is just a hip popoular expression used for everything from the gutters to the goons.
But there is the wrath of God also. To be poured out on all who reject His reconciliation, His love toward us, through the finished work of His Son. And justified wrath, it will be.
I read a book a few years ago titled:
“The Seven Last Things” and what
I remember most is: “We have lost the Aspostolic Zeal;”
The other quote was: “We have lost our “AWE” of the person and message (Gospel) of Christ.
I like the thought of: “Awsome and Unsearchable” together!
Prayer: “May our God and Saviour help us regain and renew the Zeal and Awe for us today.”
I believe that these things are the "neglected matters" of this evil generation of backslidden pastors and preachers.The reason we are seeing such decline and anarchy in our day is because the people don't fear God.
This article on John 3:16 is part of a series on the third chapter of John which addresses all of these themes.God alone is truly awesome!
Amen. Thats is why the emphasis of this article is the fact that He loved us , freely, and for no reason within us. God took the initiative towards people that hated him, and constantly rejected Him. God’s love is an awesome mystery.God’s wrath also is an awesome certainty.
It is a deep mystery, indeed. I realize that on the one hand, Psalm 7 says, “All day long Gd is angry at the wicked”, but Romans 5 tells me that “While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me, and if He loved me then, how much more does He love me now? 2 Peter tells us “God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance, and I John 2 tells us that Christ became a propitiation, not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world! I’ll take the apostles word for it.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
I don't think so.
1.Genesis 28:17 He was afraid and said, How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.
2.Exodus 15:11 Who among the gods is like you, LORD? Who is like you majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?
3.Exodus 34:10 Then the LORD said: I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the LORD, will do for you.
4.Deuteronomy 4:34 Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?
5.Deuteronomy 7:21 Do not be terrified by them, for the LORD your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.
6.Deuteronomy 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
7.Deuteronomy 10:21 He is the one you praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes.
8.Deuteronomy 28:58 If you do not carefully follow all the words of this law, which are written in this book, and do not revere this glorious and awesome namethe LORD your God
9.Deuteronomy 34:12 For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
10.Judges 13:6 Then the woman went to her husband and told him, A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didnt ask him where he came from, and he didnt tell me his name.
11.2 Samuel 7:23 And who is like your people Israelthe one nation on earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to make a name for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?
12.1 Chronicles 17:21 And who is like your people Israelthe one nation on earth whose God went out to redeem a people for himself, and to make a name for yourself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt?
13.Nehemiah 1:5 Then I said: LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
14.Nehemiah 4:14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, Dont be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.
15.Nehemiah 9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great God, mighty and awesome, who keeps his covenant of love, do not let all this hardship seem trifling in your eyesthe hardship that has come on us, on our kings and leaders, on our priests and prophets, on our ancestors and all your people, from the days of the kings of Assyria until today.
16.Job 10:16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me.
17.Job 37:22 Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty.
18.Psalm 45:4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
19.Psalm 47:2 For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
20.Psalm 65:5 You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
21.Psalm 66:3 Say to God, How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies cringe before you.
22.Psalm 66:5 Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind!
23.Psalm 68:35 You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!
24.Psalm 89:7 In the council of the holy ones God is greatly feared; he is more awesome than all who surround him.
25.Psalm 99:3 Let them praise your great and awesome name he is holy.
26.Psalm 106:22 miracles in the land of Ham and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
27.Psalm 111:9 He provided redemption for his people; he ordained his covenant forever holy and awesome is his name.
28.Psalm 145:6 They tell of the power of your awesome works and I will proclaim your great deeds.
29.Isaiah 64:3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.
30.Ezekiel 1:18 Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around.
31.Ezekiel 1:22 Spread out above the heads of the living creatures was what looked something like a vault, sparkling like crystal, and awesome.
32.Daniel 2:31 Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statuean enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.
33.Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
34.Zephaniah 2:11 The LORD will be awesome to them when he destroys all the gods of the earth. Distant nations will bow down to him, all of them in their own lands.
If you look at the Strong's Concordance, the word used in John 3:16 for "world" is kosmos and it means:
1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, 'the heavenly hosts', as the ornament of the heavens. 1 Pet. 3:3
3) the world, the universe
4) the circle of the earth, the earth
5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews (Rom. 11:12 etc)
Arthur Pink is known as a "hyper-Calvinist". From the site http://www.spurgeon.org/~phil/articles/dutyfth.htm we learn:
Arthur Pink's early writings reflected the highest of high-Calvinist opinion. Some have suggested that Pink was flirting with (or even embraced) a kind of hyper-Calvinism. Certain hyper-Calvinist tendencies certainly marred some of his earlier works. For example, Pink's well-known and mostly helpful book on the sovereignty of God originally included material (later edited out of the Banner of Truth edition) denying that God loves all His creaturesparticularly the reprobate. According to Pink, God's hatred for non-elect sinners allows for no disposition toward them that can properly be called "love." Pink's denial of the love of God toward the reprobate set him at odds with Calvin, Flavel, Charnock, Manton, and most of the Puritans. But in Pink's later ministry, he encountered a virulent strain of hyper-Calvinism, promoted by the "Gospel Standard" churches in England. The Gospel Standard articles of faith deny that it is the duty of every sinner to repent and believe in Christ. In the article below, Pink argues against the "Gospel Standard" error, pointing out that if God commands all sinners to repent and believe in Christ, then faith is their duty and unbelief is a sin. In support of this position Pink cites many writers who, ironically, would have differed with Pink on the love of God for the non-elect. (One is tempted to point out that if the more mature Pink had simply reexamined his own position on God's love in the same way he urged his readers to evaluate the "duty-faith" controversyby Scripture, not bare "reason"; and by considering the wisdom of our Puritan forebearsPink himself might have abandoned his insistence that God's demeanor toward the reprobate must be utterly devoid of any kind of love.) Notice also that Pink, quoting Calvin, affirms an important truth denied by many later Twentieth-Century hyper-Calvinists: that divine mercy is offered to all, indiscriminately, in the gospel.
Would you like the better translation for those passages in that pathetic modernistic translation you are using?
Is that an entertainment, emergent church translation from a Rick Warren type group?
There are numerous translations that use the word "awesome" including the New King James Version (1980) as well as the New International Version (1984) and the World English Bible. The Hebrew word is yare' and in the Strong's Concordance means:
1) to fear, be afraid
2) to stand in awe of, be awed
3) to fear, reverence, honour, respect
1) to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared
2) to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe
3) to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe
c) (Piel) to make afraid, terrify
Barnes' Notes on the Bible describes Psalm 47:2 and its use of the word as:
Now, I agree that the word "awesome" is so overused it has almost become a joke, "Dude, that wave was awesome!!!", but the way Almighty God is described as having attributes or his ways that are "awesome", does not in any way take away from the intent of the Holy Spirit's message. I resent the way so many words today have been confiscated and almost copyrighted so that people hestitate to use them. Words like "choice", "equality", "radical" and, yes, "awesome". But the word DOES fit when we use it to express the nature of our God because he IS to be feared, to stand in awe of, to reverence and respect.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary says about Psalm 47:2:
Lighten up, dude. :o)
from corrupt sources.
For the trendy, uniformitarian reading of “awesome” in :
Gen. 28:17. The better translation is “dreadful.”
Ex. 15:11. The better translation is “fearful in praises.”
Ex. 34:10. The better translation is “terrible.”
Deut. 4:34. The better translation is “great terrors”
Deut. 7:21. The better translation is “mighty . . . terrible”
Deut. 28:58. The better translation is “fearful”
(To be continued)
Save yourself the trouble. I realize the difference between the ubiquitous use of the word "awesome" today and its REAL sense in the awe producing greatness and terribleness of Almighty God. If you don't like it, don't use it. I'll continue to use it because I AM in awe of our great and mighty God and I stand amazed in His presence and love Him more and more every day.
It’s not just about you now.
Older theologians like Albert Pink in his book about Soverienty conclude that God infact can NOT love sinners who are predestined for hell- He can NOT love sin, and htose predestined for hell are sinners- He can noly love His own- those who are known by Him to receive Christ at some point in their lives. (which may be why God tells us to avoid convorting with the unsaved EXCEPT for the purpose of presentign htem with the gospel or to work alongside them- We certainly dont know who will be saved and hwo wont- but this isnt liscence to wallow in the muck with the unsaved)
God does indeed have an attribute of love in Him, however, its my beleif His love is only for His own- Holiness and sin can NOT coexist in Gods holy Presence-
This is a real touchy subject, and many people dont like learnign that God does not ifnact lvoe the workld- the verse John 3:16 uses a word for world that is indiciative of His own, not of the whole world. In Gills Exposition of the whole bible- he shows where the word is meant of only those whom will be saved
Pinks book is a heavy heavy read (it can be found online btw) and Im not sure exactly how I beleive about it- but if it is infact how God views the elect and those predestiend for hell, then its a heavy truth that is quite hard to take (and actually drove me to a drinking binge that landed me in hospital)
God is love, yes indeed, but lets not foget that God is also Holy and that justice MUST be meeted out to those who reject Him, and with heavy hearts and humble attitudes thank Him for our salvation in fear and trembling knowing that we could have been the unelect-
How many believers were there before Jesus came? not many, so God must have loved the world despite the fact that the world was not made up of believers, also i think we need to let God decide what sin is and what is not sin, also Jesus drink and ate with what the religious leaders called sinners.
In fact if sinners can not be saved then i am lost, and most Churches that i recognize as a Christian church would say that i am lost because they have their own ideas of what sin is.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
While at the same time many Churches are accepting any thing, even homosexualism which is an abomination.
So because of the man made laws in the Churches, some stricter than the laws Jesus made and others just plain followering after satan i am just not interested in going to Church any more.
And the Bible which makes the most sense to me and the one that does not contradict itself in the same ch is the KJV.
I am sure others look at it different but thats up to you.
A great post.
I know. But our God is STILL an awesome God!
Just like your mail man, shoe shine boy, the last Christmas tree you decorated, or your newest computer?
I've debated with myself for the last few days about whether or not your comment really wanted an answer or you were teasing me. Just in case you were serious, my answer is:
I am very particular about using the word "awesome" and it is not something I say casually about the mail man, shoeshine boy, last Christmas tree or newest computer. In fact, I pretty much reserve it for the one whom I also call Almighty God, Heavenly Father, Lord and Savior. Since you seem to insist the words "terrible"; "fearful" and "mighty" are preferable, may I ask if you ever use those words outside of reference to God? Is the weather ever "terrible"? Or your head cold? Or your last meal? Are you ever "fearful" for our country? Or of your next electric bill?
On the other hand, if you are just teasing, as I kinda suspect since we have usually agreed on other Religion Forum topics, tell me, do you truly dislike anyone using the word "awesome" about our Lord God when it IS a valid and Scriptural word use? I'd really like to know if your knickers are actually in a knot over this word. It won't stop me from using it, when relevant, of course, but I am curious about the reaction you had.
In my late 50s, and having observed enough trendiness pass through the Body of Christ while the world goes on to hell, it does deeply grieve me when professing children of God think it's "awesome" to follow trends and fads. The current use of "Awesome!" is a trend, a fad. It will pass. But the current use of it (like the goatee fad) indicates men looking at men or the world for direction, instead of the Lord.
The modern bible versions that have replaced solid, distinctive vocabulary for a uniformitarian use of the word "awesome" are themselves trendy, faddish bible versions that will also pass, when the publishers, in search of the next buck ($$$) come up with the next version(s).
I don't look to the world for direction, but let the Holy Spirit through the Bible speak to my heart. Rather than relinquish a perfectly good word that more than adequately describes the terrible, fearsome, praiseworthy holiness of Almighty God and his amazing (oops, you don't like that one either, right?) splendor and wonder, why not retake it from those who misuse it so callously? Even St. Augustine, as well as other early theologians used the word "awesome" in their praises of God - though I know what they wrote has been translated. I was reading something of Augustine's a few days ago and saw it although some dictionaries say the word's origins were from around the 1600's. From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/awesome we learn:
Word Origin and History
c.1600, "profoundly reverential," from awe + -some. Meaning "inspiring awe" is from 1670s; weakened colloquial sense of "impressive, very good" is recorded by 1961 and was in vogue from after c.1980.
So, of course it is overused and, as slang, it has lost some of its meaning, but I don't think we should give in and just let "them" copyright a good word. I don't think it deserves to be relinquished. But, if you feel that strongly about it, then you shouldn't use it. When the "fad" or "trend" passes, as you seem to think it will, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief. Hope you have a good weekend!
Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.