God’s Exclusive Love for His Chosen People
Moses wrote, “Yet on your fathers did Yahweh set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day (Dt 10:15).” Yahweh’s electing love is exclusive for His people, Israel, in every generation. We must remember the apostle Paul’s explanation that “Not all Israel is Israel (Rom 9:6).”
To be more specific, Israel is the name given to God’s holy nation of chosen people (1 Pet 2:9), gathered from every nation, tribe, and tongue (Rev 5:9). Each person is a member of Christ’s body of called-out ones (ekklesia) — chosen redeemed, regenerated, adopted…loved by God (1 Jn 4:19).
As a foil, God does not set His love on the reprobate, the unclean, doers of iniquity. These have no love of God in their hearts (Jn 5:42). They do not love Jesus because God is not their Father (Jn 8:42). In contrast, God the Father does love His only begotten Son (Jn 10:17; 15:9), and with the same love, He loves His own people (Jn 17:23).
People cannot love God unless He first loves them (1 Jn 4:19). God is love (1 Jn 4:8), and unless God gives His Holy Spirit, who is the love of God poured out in one’s heart (Rom 5:5) — that man is void of God’s love. Can a person provoke God to love him or her? That notion never even crosses the mind of the natural man (Rom 3:10–12; 1 Cor 2:14), who does not seek God because he is at enmity with Him (Rom 5:10; Eph 2:15, 17), even hating God (Rom 1:30) and Jesus (Jn 7:7).
Whereas the Universalists and most Arminians view God as “love” exclusively (as in “God is love, only”), the Christian believes in the exclusive love of God for His chosen people, as revealed in the Scriptures. God’s exclusive love is an offense to unbelievers. They insist that God must love everyone, or He is unworthy of worship. Who are you, O man, to tell God the scope to which He must love? Is it required of God to love Jacob and Esau?
God’s Word clearly reveals God’s hatred of Esau (Rom 9:13) and the scope widens from there, to all who do iniquity (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5). God sends sinners to hell for eternal punishment (Mt 25:46; Jude 7), so obviously He does not just hate sin. God is righteous and just when He judges guilty sinners. God is also righteous and just, when He has mercy upon whomever He chooses to do so (Rom 9:15–16).
Legally, God can have mercy upon guilty sinners. The requirement of the Law is that the sinner’s trespasses be covered by the blood of a substitute (Lev 16). A sacrificial offering must be made by the offending party through a consecrated priest of God’s own choosing. In Old Testament Israel typology, the priests were descendants of Aaron, Moses brother and God’s chosen man to be the high priest of His people. Aaron served as a type of Christ, our great high priest (Heb 4:14; 9:11).
If God loved everyone, everywhere head-for-head, then the Universalists would be correct in their proposition that everyone without exception is saved. Not everyone is saved, however, because God does not love everyone, everywhere head-for-head. Love never fails (1 Cor 13:8), so God cannot fail to keep those He loved (Jn 10:28–29; Rom 8:35–39). The Bible does not hide the blessed assurance enjoyed by the beloved, who belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23), as the people of His pasture (Ps 79:13; 95:7; 100:3).
The passage in Deuteronomy 10:15 clearly states Yahweh’s exclusive love for Israel. The Israel of God is the church of Jesus Christ (Gal 6:16), which He promised to build (Mt 16:18), into a holy temple in the Lord, the dwelling of God in the Spirit (Eph 2:21–22). In that structure, Jesus Christ is the choice stone (1 Pet 2:4, 6), the precious cornerstone, which is precious in the sight of God.
As the Master builder, it is God’s prerogative to choose which stones will be salvaged from the ruins of Adam. It is His work to position each one in alignment with the cornerstone, and then craft that stone to fit into conformity with the whole. The elect believer, through sanctification by the Spirit (Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2), is being conformed into the image of God’s perfect Son (Rom 8:29).
Just as stones do not choose their place in a great building edifice, so Christians never chose to have their place in God’s temple building project. The building imagery of the Bible makes this idea of a dead stone choosing to be included, positioned, conformed, even over-riding the will of the architect and builder, as s simple absurdity. God is sovereign in His free will and choice (Rom 11:5; Eph 1:11), to do with His own as He pleases (Mt 20:15).
God loves the Son (Jn 3:35; 5:20), and the Son loves the Father. The Father loves His own (1 Jn 3:1), those He has adopted as His children (Rom 8:15, 23; Eph 1:4–5), and to whom He gave His Spirit (Jn 14:17), as a token of His love (2 Cor 4:6; 5:5). These (e.g. love, Spirit, pledge) He did not give to the world, which is being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men (2 Pet 3:7), who share the pit of darkness and hell, with angels who sinned against God (2 Pet 2:4).
My dear reader, Jesus loves His own to the end (Jn 13:1). Nothing can separate them from His love (Rom 8:35–39), and we are to abide in His love (Jn 15:9), which can only be a reality for those grafted into Christ by God the Father (Jn 6:44; Rom 11:23).
The world has not been grafted into Christ by God the Father. This should be obvious to you. He has not set His love upon the world, being reserved by Him for destruction (2 Pet 3:10–12). Why the delay? The apostle Peter informs us that God does not want any of His beloved to perish (2 Pet 3:1, 9), and so the world waits for the revelation of the sons of God and the fullness of the Gentiles to appear (Rom 8:19; 11:25).
The end will come. None of His sheep will be lost because He never left them nor forsook them (Jn 10:28–29; Heb 13:5). In fact, those He set His love upon bore witness of His love for them (Acts 1:8; 1 Jn 3:1), and for this reason, the world hated them (Jn 15:18–19) even as it hated Him (Jn 7:7) and the Father (Rom 1:30) because He did not set His love upon them. His is an exclusive love for His chosen people, as it is written in Deuteronomy 10:15 and again in Ephesians 1:4–5.
Spokane Valley, Washington
February 27, 2021