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BULLETIN ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SIX
God SO loved the world . There is part of the SUPER-natural message conveyed in the heart of the Gospel, in John 3. We are instructed; so we listen and we learn.
How much then did God love the world ? to what extent was He willing to go, in the exhibition and fulfilment of this stated love for the world.
It is stated that He SO loved that world that certain things happened. What these are is to inform us of the nature and degree of His love for this world.
I t is then SUCH that whatever person IN this world, whosoever, will be saved if he or she should believe in what He presents.
What is that ? It is nothing less than a death on behalf of this love, one which would enable those who believe in this, the declaration of His heart and performance of His sacrifice, not to perish.
NOT ONLY in this a matter of SO loving the world, but in it, He acts personally. Not only this, but He takes the form and format of man, whom He made in His own image, to place upon a person to do this sacrifice, SO THAT ANYONE in the whole world who believes in Him, should have eternal life. This transforms prodigious loss, because of sin in all mankind, even to the point of perishing, yes, on the part of the human occupants of this world, all set to perish, into something else. It in fact, into prodigious gain, and the underlying perishing destiny so becomes the opposite, a living forever, for a new future in place of doom. God has not forgotten what He made, but He loved, and did it so much that this stated result exhibits it.
We thus are given to see the meaning of 'SO' in this case. It is spoken of a love capable of and executive of personal loss, humiliation, lowering, exposure to horror, ghastly connivance and false charges leading to murder. Murder ? and that of the only begotten Son of God.
THAT precisely is HOW MUCH God loved this world. It is most emphatically NOT that some selection which happens to exclude some, would make this a false claim; that the SO would entail only those who are going to be made able, and that in fact it is only so much that these exclusively may avail themselves of this offer. That would be a far less profound thing, not at all a genuine offer to all, but rather hidden would be an exclusion clause.
It does not matter how or why (see my work, Predestination and Freewill, where this aspect is resolved as a separate issue), because the point in view is that such a MEANING to the statement of the degree of love involved ion the John 3 offer, would be other than the plain statement declares. It is not on the diminuendo view to WHOSOEVER in the world finds and receives this offer; that it is giiven, but only to those who will, out of all the rest, be in a separate sub-group. They only are enabled to respond. The offer, on this view, is not available to the others.
At once the proportions, the sheer wonder of the magnificent coverage of the offer, is falsified. It is not after all as much as all that that He loves.
The fraud squad might declare it false advertising. You SAID whoever in this world, and now we find you did not mean it.
The answer is that it WAS meant, and how dare anyone downgrade the offer in this monstrous fashion.
Colossians 1:19 is of course emphatic on the point. If you want clarity again, then get this: What God would like would be that EVERYONE both in heaven and on earth should be reconciled to Himself, but of course love does not force (John 3:19, Matthew 23:37), so this is after all, not what happens. NOT all are in fact reconciled to Him,despite that desire. God restrains Himself as seen so grievously in Isaiah 48:15ff., for example.
THAT then is the scope and kind of the love. Its provisions are offered SO broadly that anyone in the world who believes, no restrictions in view, or stated: has eternal life. That is the KIND of offer, its spread, its wonder, its indisputability.
Calvin even invented a false Christology when trying to defend this distortion in expositing Matthew 23:37, as if the Father were moving one way, and Christ another in this matter, a gross defilement of John 5:19. By such error, and thus in such a view, God is stopped, in precise terms, from the outcome of SO loving this world that whoever (in this world, not some other foreshortened one) believes in the One sent in what He did, has eternal life. It is not suppositious, under import restrictions, only so in intrusive contradiction.
Not at all like that is this divine and delightful, love defining offer of John 3:16. It is to that as stated height that His love comes, and those who think otherwise are committing one of the greatest possible pieces of eisegesis, on the base of their interpretation of various texts, which have no such result. When GOD operates in ANY natural realm, realm of the natural man for example, the position is no longer under mere natural law, whether in raising the dead or illuminating the dead heart. Q;uite briefly, that is a problem to some, Hebreews 6 and 10 reminding us of more actual things. Indeed, it is simply because they are leaving God out of the situation that they act as if He COULD not transform the situation by His presence and power, as at the Exodus escape. There was no way; but He made one.
How puny this write-down of His love. If the Arminian error is also grievous, this does not redeem this distortion - even of His love!