And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son (1John 5.11).(Part 1 of 3)
I am convinced that the judgment will reveal that salvation full and free was given to every man, woman, and child. If any people are lost at last, it won’t be because they didn’t do enough to convince God to save them, but rather that they threw away the salvation God had so fully placed in their laps.
It’s a question of verb order. But it’s more than just grammar. Upon this subtle difference depends everything.
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3.16, emphasis supplied).
God loves, and therefore He gives. His gifts always precede our belief in them. Yes, our belief is, in effect, a “receiving” of those gifts; from God’s perspective, His grace has been given to all.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2.11).
Yes, but although He is the Savior especially of those who believe, this does not change the fact that He is also the Savior of all men, believers or not, as well (see 1 Timothy 4:10).
What does all this mean in regards to our picture of God?
God loves, and therefore He gives. His giving isn’t dependent on our acceptance. His giving is based on His love for us. It is universal in its scope. And yes, it’s with the hope that we will believe, but God’s grace must needs precede our belief in order that grace be not cheap but free (more on the comparison of expensive, cheap and free grace next week).
But God’s grace is right now being poured out on all “as real as the air we breathe.”
I want you to write two verb orders down on a piece of paper this week.
1) Love Give Believe
2) Love Believe Give
Look at both of those orders carefully and ask yourself the following questions:
What type of person is each of these orders describing? Write down one adjective at a time. What type of person loves you and therefore just simply gives to you based on that love? And what type of person, by contrast, loves you, but requires you to do something first before they will give to you? There is a comparison to be made between reservation and extravagance; calculation and generosity; someone conservative in the expression of love, and another liberal. One efficient, the other wasteful.
We’ll pick up here with your list next week and a story about Jesus and two leapers.
I wish you God’s best this week. Happy pondering.