THE PURITY AND REALITY
OF THE LOVE OF THE TRIUNE GOD
Predestination and Freewill,
Ch. 2, Calvin, SMR p.
Bulletins 105, 157, 160
It is not only that Calvin's "horrible decree" - decretum horribile - wrongly and without biblical authority attributed to God, is a horrific invention of that theologian, with abhorrent unscriptural Christology, as if Christ and the Father diverged in desire and direction (flatly contrary to John 5:19), not only this, It is is also an escape from further wonders in the love of God.
Why escape ? Where divine love is concerned, let us rejoice rather and receive! (cf. Bulletin 105). As many as received Him and His gift, were authorised to become the children of God, we learn in John 3. There was no false advertising when the word of God declares that as to its quality and coverage, the love of God is SUCH, that whoever believes has eternal life. It is not a segment given the offer, the rest excluded, Itr is not a partial presentation.. His love is not attested in a limited offer: it is on the contrary SUCH for the whole world, that WHOEVER takes it has it. It is not denied to some; for that would fail to have the prodigal quality depicted.
Thus, though the abhorrence of sin, horror of evil. is rightly addressed by Calvin, in man's current destitution and ravagement before the God against whom mankind has as a race rebelled, and to whom he needs to repent: yet utterly different aspects in the love of God which figure. In His own word, these replace this theological wandering. It is these indeed which replace anything horrible in His staggering love, surpassing empathy with incarnation, that He personally might bear the sin, a sacrifice adequate for all and effectual for those who receive it, known to Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:29ff.).
It is ALL, God tells us in Colossians 1:19, I Timothy 2, whom He Himself desires to be reconciled to Him. even all in heaven and earth, He declares emphatically. It is not as if He has any pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather His love surges, we find in Ezekiel 33:11. His exhortation here mounts in intensity towards those who wilfully refuse, for God (Hebrews 4:13) knows the depth of the heart in that freedom He designed, past all the cluttering and obfuscation of spiritual pathology. This He can and does transcend, as in physical miracles He transcends the biological norms and conditions.
A buffer and a barrier to God cannot be effective, unless of course He finds past all simple reactions, an exhibition of that freedom with which He endowed man, and enables its action in His own power and intervening grace. How much and how often man has lost the blessings and wonders of God and knowing Him, for a divinely described wholly unnecessary wilfulness; and the loss of Jerusalem as shown in Matthew 23 and Luke 19, is but one example.
You see the same divine lament in Isaiah 48, in an account of all the good things He had in mind, before the recalcitrant Israel prevented this divine and prepared outcome, by failing to use their opportunity. There was nothing automatic about it. It was not precluded in advance by fiat. Instead, the power of God could and did keep the avenue open, under His jurisdictive control, but with no such thing as a parade of insincerity or deception, or delusion short-circuiting deliverance. After all, God foreknew His own before man even existed on earth, and before any sin could dash his downfall! (Ephesians 1:4).
It is biblically presented as a departure from the offerings of divine and prodigious mercy, which they, as in the case of the children of Israel who had everything prepared for their entry into the promised land and that in short order, yet elected to reject that offer. Indeed, they would not turn, obdurate likewise to the sharp appeals made to them to enter. In the end, those who reject, foreknown like those who accept in the time before creation, are likewise assigned, not to abort their preference, but to consort with what the foreknowing God knows, who implements it as in I Peter 2:8. If any were to feel deprived, why since the operation is all in the truth, such have only to turn and accept and so gain entry according to promise. Always one must recall that God WOULD HAVE ALL (Colossians 1:19). If they could be freely gained, they would be! After all, foreknowledge does not foreclose; it exposes.
As to the offer of entry into the promised land, it was focussed but refused, at their bad pleasure. It comes thus into the category of sin against the revealed light, and movement awry from the much prepared way of God for them; and for this they were duly and justly and explicitly held responsible, as in the death of Christ much later.
God does not let love replace truth, but with sacrifice adequate for all, enforced on none, which is the way of love, not usurpation or push, He acts according to truth amidst the multitudes of His mercy (Psalm 51). As He declares in Hosea 7:1, He WOULD have healed Israel, but their added actions sealed off that preparedness (cf. John 15:21-25). Without grace, indeed, full and total, free and wonderful, our whole race would proceed to hell (Luke 13:1-3); but without the restraints of divine love, the rescue would lose both its beautiful quality and the aspect of man coming home to the loving Father. It would be someone else who came, using the same body.
As Christ put it in Matthew 23:37, I WOULD ... YOU WOULD NOT. Indeed, He OFTEN would.