Thursday, April 25, 2013

Called To Love God

Romans 9:
22  What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction,
23  in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory--
24  EVEN US WHOM HE HAS CALLED, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?
Romans 8:
28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, FOR THOSE WHO ARE CALLED according to his purpose.
29  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30  And those whom he predestined HE ALSO CALLED, AND THOSE WHOM HE CALLED he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
31  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32  He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
33  Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.
34  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Romans 8:28 is an oft maligned verse as the last half of the sentence is usually never read or taught in conjunction with the first half. Paul in laying the foundation of the letter to the Romans, (1:18-32 and 3:10-18), makes it very clear that the entirety of fallen mankind, (jew or gentile) does not inherently have a love for God.
John in his first letter (chapter 4) reveals that the proof of our love for God is demonstrated by our love for His saints, i.e. for one another. He also makes it plain that we are incapable of loving God or His people without God first loving us:

1John 4:
9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.
10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
19 We love because He first loved us.

This is in perfect agreement with the apostle Paul:

Romans 5:
6  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
7  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--
8  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

So how does one who does not seek God at all, come to claim a genuine love for Him?

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Paul is speaking in respect to the saints alone, i.e. the called out, the ekklesia..
For all things to work to our good, we must be called, as all things work for good solely to those who love God, and only the called love God. Therefore if one loves God, (and subsequently one knows that all things are working to one’s good), then one is “called by Him according to His purpose”

Not only are the called loved by God and they return that love, they are justified and
glorified in Christ as a result of their calling.

Who then are the called?
The called are those whom are predestined by God to be conformed to the image of His Son.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who are the predestined                                                                                               
Those whom the Father foreknew in Christ, from before the foundation of the world.          
 (Ephesians 1:3-12)

God’s foreknowledge is not confined to knowledge of our future actions or decisions.

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies.

In this statement Paul is letting the reader know that in all that he has written prior to this, (and subsequently in all the he writes after) he has been speaking of the “elect”. Therefore God’s foreknowledge of the saints is based on the fact that He first chose them. God’s foreknowledge, which is essential to His being omniscient, is based on the fact that he has already decreed it to be. If this were not so, if He did not first love those whom He had chosen, and then sent His Son to redeem them, no one could claim to love God. All things are initiated by and from God in Christ.
God’s love is demonstrated in His election, and both His love and his election are without any prerequisite that we must fulfill, i.e. they are given without condition. He bestows salvation sovereignly, according to His will, purpose and good pleasure.

Romans 9:
10  And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac,
11  though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad--in order that God's purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of him who calls--
12  she was told, "The older will serve the younger."
13  As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."

Only the foreknown elect, predestined to the image of the last Adam, who is the express image of God, (1 Cor 15:45; Colossians 1:15) are loved by the Father (John 16:27) and are therefore able to return that love.

So let us walk in a manner worthy of our calling. (Ephesians 4:1)
That as the Father meets all our needs, and accomplishes His purposes in us and for us, causing all circumstances to work together for good, we demonstrate that we are the called, chosen by Him in Christ, and show that we are truly His by loving one another, thus proclaiming our love for Him.

1John 3:1a  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are……….
John 13:35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Luke 10:27  And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
Romans 8:28  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:
38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

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