This note is borne of a sermon I heard yesterday on the topic "God is love." The background to this note can be found in my two "Glory" notes: Glory (original note), and Glory, part 2.
If you are going to tell me to leave my church - please don't waste my time and yours. I feel *very* strongly about this and you are not here in my situation. Church hopping is never something to be undertaken lightly or done for any reason other than gross ongoing biblical error. This sermon was the exception, not the norm.
God is love (1 John 4:8,16).
God is holy (Isaiah 6:3).
God is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29).
God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14).
God is good (Mark 10:18).
God is a lot of things other than love.
These are the notes I took during a recent sermon. This is not meant to put down my pastor or my church. I love them both and know I belong there.
What I am contending is that love is not who God is at His center; glory is. I am sure some people would agree with my pastor that God’s love is the center, the essence, of who God is. I used to think so, too. But recently I have come to see that God’s glory is the center. All other things – His love, His mercy, His wrath, His holiness, etc. – are merely expressions of His glory.
The questions below were phrased as statements. For the most part, they sounded wrong to my ears, so I wrote them down as questions, then jotted my thoughts down after. The verse references were added the next day when I had some time to look things up in my Bible. Bracketed comments were also added the next day as I had more time to mull over what I heard.
April 30, 2011
1 John 4:7-16
1) Is God’s love the reason for creation? I think He created to show His glory. Why would God create everything knowing everything that would happen? [I asked God this question not long ago, and He told me everything is as it is *for His glory*!]
2) Is God’s love the reason for free will? I think we can’t love Him unless He makes us a new creation. He has to change our hearts so we can love Him (John 6:37, 65). ["Free will" is never mentioned in the New Testament, and it is only mentioned in the Old Testament in regards to free will offerings.]
3) Is God’s love the reason for providence (His care for His people)? This, I think, is right. God does love and care for His people (Matthew 7:7-11, 1 Peter 5:7).
4) Is God’s love the reason for salvation? I think Romans 9 says His glory is the reason He saves some (Romans 9:22-23).
5) Is God’s love the reason for eternal life? I think we will all live eternally in heaven or hell (John 6:58 [heaven], Matthew 18:8 [hell]). God saves some (Romans 9:22-23) to show His glory to all (Philippians 2:10-11).
Does God need somebody to love? Or is He perfect in Himself, needing nothing? [Do I really want to worship a God who needs anything?]
From creation to eternal life (# 1-5), God’s glory - not His love - is paramount (Isaiah 43:6-7, 43:25, 48:11).