Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Matthew 5:43-48 and God's Love for His Enemies (Part 1)

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (NIV)

In the above passage, Jesus corrects a common misconception about our duty to love, and He commands love for enemies. Taking the main point of this passage as the main point of one's teaching about the passage, the faithful Bible teacher/preacher will rightly emphasize the Lord's specific correction and command regarding our duty to love our enemies.

But the faithful theologian (and the faithful Bible teacher/preacher who is concerned with training his students/congregation to be theologians in the sense of knowing God better and loving God with all of their minds) will also observe what the above passage teaches about God Himself.

v. 43-44a,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies...

The command of love for enemies, like all other of God's commands, flows from His own holy character. There is no injustice in God (cf. Rom 9:14), and therefore He commands only those things that are just. Thus, we see that there is nothing unjust or unholy about loving even those who hate us. Likewise, God's love for His enemies in no way violates His attributes, or His settled disposition of wrath against all sin.

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