For the Love of (an impotent) God
Jesus knew those who had no love for God in themselves (Jn 5:42). If someone says, “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar, for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen (1 Jn 4:20). A man can only truly love, if God has first loved him (1 Jn 4:19).
There is faith, hope, and love. These are all gifts from God, poured out in our hearts, as accompaniments to the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 5:5; Phil 1:29; Col 1:27). It is the Spirit who works these in the hearts of God’s elect, redeemed people. Without the indwelling Spirit of Christ, there is no faith (Jn 3:24–26; 6:29; 10:26; Rom 8:9), no hope (Eph 2:12), and no love for God or the brethren.
It is the Spirit who guides us into the truth that all things are from God (Jn 16:13; Rom 11:36). The natural man cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit of God (Jn 1:5; 1 Cor 2:14) because he does not have the Spirit (Rom 8:9), who is from God, to teach him (Jn 14:27). This man is void of the mind of Christ because he is none of His (1 Cor 2:14–16; 3:23). He does not understand who God is, nor does he seek Him, who is true (Rom 3:4, 10–12). He does not have right standing with God, nor is he able to achieve that position by his own will or choice (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 8:7; 9:16).
Most people are not atheists. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God (Ps 14:1; 53:1).” Many are inclined to the false teaching of false religions, however. They enjoy rites, rituals, and icons in their temples. They prefer the doctrine of demons, which invariably entices them to believe they, too, shall be like gods (Gen 3:5). It is the quest of man-made, man-centered religion to meet God on man’s terms.
Man loves an impotent God. The flesh of natural man wars against the Spirit of Christ (Gal 5:17). Man tells God what he is going to do, and God must wait patiently for sinful man to make his decision, his choices. The natural man worships at the altar of his own free will (a myth). He says, “Today, I will go to this city and do business. Tomorrow, I will build bigger barns to store my goods,” but this man is not rich toward God (Lk 12:21). He does not set his mind on God’s interests (Mt 16:23; Mk 8:33).
In his striving against God, however, this man believes he is doing right in his own eyes. In reality, he is leaning on his own understanding. He has configured a god from his holy book that he can control, a god who gives him what he wants. “God wants me to be rich,“ he says. His economy with his god is blessing for obedience. This man earnestly tries to do what he thinks is good, and god is then obligated to agree with this man’s self-assessment, “I am a good person.”
The religious man, without God’s Spirit, is very offended when he is told that God does not accept him, nor does He validate the man’s “good works.” He is incensed when he is told, “God hates those who do iniquity (Ps 5:5; 11:5), and that God is angry with the wicked every day (Ps 7:11).” He does not believe the god, who is love, only, has his wrath directed against anyone (Rom 1:18).
In this man’s twisted mind, love conquers all…including justice. His god is not offended by men who break his laws because god loves them too much. In his deranged thinking, god finds incredible worth in sinful, fallen humanity. The depraved rebels mean so much to god that he sent his only begotten son, in response to their situation. In his maniacal skewing of truth, he says, “God loves and respects all people; therefore, God has given all people the chance to be saved by Jesus.” Sinners are told that there is only one work to be done by them, “Accept Jesus into your heart.”
In this, God is made impotent. His eternal election, meaning His gracious choice of His people (Rom 11:5) is rejected, in favor of every man’s choice. God’s will for who is to receive Jesus (Jn 1:12–13) is rejected, in favor of every man’s free will. Further, Jesus Christ is made to die for everyone because He is told He needs to love everyone. Everyone will then decide for himself whether he prefers to let Jesus save him. Salvation belongs to man.
The Spirit sent by the Father and the Son is stymied in His mission to save everyone, everywhere. He actually saves no one. The best the Holy Spirit can do is to convict the world of sin and righteousness. Once He has done that, He can only plead with wretched sinners to accept the well meant offer of the gospel to let Jesus save them. It is all up to man.
There is no true love for God in these people because their love and allegiance is to the impotent god they have constructed in their own image, from the Bible or another “holy” book. So who actually loves God in truth?
The lover of God has been loved by God, first (1 Jn 4:19). At every stage, this person has been loved by God. The Father loved him in election, from eternity (Eph 1:4–5). The Son loved him at the cross, where he died for him (Rom 5:8; Jn 10:11, 15). The Spirit loved him when He baptized him into Christ, having transferred him into Christ’s kingdom (Col 1:13).
Jesus Christ, our Lord and King, is coming for His beloved bride (Eph 5:25), His church (Mt 16:18), the Israel of God (Gal 6:16). Behold, He is coming quickly, and she who is loved by Him is readying herself for their wedding day (Mt 25), when Christ comes to cut down His and her enemies and rescue her. Her love for God is captured in these words, “I am my Beloved’s; and My Beloved is mine (Songs 2:16).” Hers is a love for God… the Lord God omnipotent who reigns with sovereign power and grace. He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36), and there is no god besides him (Is 44:8; 45:21), even the impotent god professed by many, today.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 29, 2022