The Exclusive Love of God for His Church, the Beloved of God
When one sets his love upon another, the object is called, “beloved.” God the Father loves His only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. At Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River, a voice from heaven, said, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mt 3:17).” A voice out of the cloud, atop the Mount of Transfiguration, said, “This is My Beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him (Mt 17:5)!”
In God’s election of Christ, as recorded by the prophet Isaiah (42:1), and quoted in Matthew’s Gospel (12:18), God the Father says, “Behold My Servant, who I have chosen; My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall proclaim justice to the Gentiles.” Also, Jesus identified Himself in the telling of the parable of the wicked vine growers, as the beloved son, sent from the landowner (Mk 12:6).
God the Father has set His love upon God the Son, and He declares this love publicly. There is another relationship brought into union with the love of the Father for the Son. The Father has arranged a marriage for His Son. Christ and His church are brought together by election; and the redemption and ingathering of God’s people into this union are both acts of love.
God the Father loves His elect Son. God the Father, in love, predestined the elect people to salvation (Eph 1:4-5), so that they might know the love of the Father and the Son. See how great a love the Father has for His adopted children (1 Jn 3:1). See the demonstration of Christ’s love for His people, the church, as He died for them on the cross (Rom 5:8; Mt 1:21; 1 Pet 2:24; Eph 5:25).
The Father and the Son have acted in love toward the bride and body of Christ. They have set their love upon each elect soul (Dt 7:7; 10:15; 1 Kgs 10:9; 2 Chr 9:8), by sending the Holy Spirit (Jn 14:17, 26; 15:26; 2 Cor 4:6), who has spread the Trinitarian love of God, broadly, in each regenerate heart (Rom 5:5).
God showed the exclusivity of His love for His beloved people, who call one another “beloved,” or “beloved brethren,” in the Old Testament typology of Israel, God’s eternal Beloved (2 Chr 9:8). There is Christ, the Israel of God (Is 49:3), and there is the Israel of God, the church (Is 49:6; Gal 6:16). One is the Head, Christ, and the other is His Body, the church (Col 1:18, 24).
The holy love affair between Christ and His church (Eph 5:25), God and His people (Jer 31:3), is vividly depicted in the Song of Solomon, where the term “beloved” is used 27 times. The classic line from that Old Testament wisdom literature is, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 2:16; 6:3).
To see this Trinitarian love of God, so voluminously displayed for His elect people, across the entirety of the holy Scripture, begs the question why so many Evangelicals teach a universal love of God for all humanity, elect and reprobate, alike?
When David set his love upon another man’s wife, it was sin. When Solomon set his love upon three hundred wives and six hundred concubines, it clearly departed from the Genesis prescription for marriage, one man and one woman. The king’s heart was led astray. The church of Jesus Christ, at times, resembles Gomer, the whoring wife of the prophet Hosea, but God is faithful in His love for His chosen ones, even when we fall short in returning love to Him (Mt 22:37; 2 Tim 2:13). What He does not do is love those who do not belong to Him (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5; Jn 5:42; 10:26; 1 Cor 3:23).
This penchant, among Arminian Evangelicals, to preach God’s love for those the Bible says God hates (Ps 5:5; 11:5; Rom 9:13) reveals why this error is the most common…too many Evangelicals are biblically ignorant. They are often spending their days trying to win goats into the church; sometimes effectively turning a church into a synagogue of Satan, and all of this to the neglect of reading, meditating, and studying their Bibles. Evangelicals love their favorite Bible verses, which they are notorious for pulling and using out of context. If they actually knew their Bibles, they would see God’s exclusive love for His church, the Beloved of God. Christ loves His church, and He gave Himself…for her (Eph 5:25)!
“Beloved” is an endearing term for Jesus Christ (Col 1:13). It is a used to describe individual Christians (Rom 16:5, 8, 9, 12); groups of Christians (Jas 1:16, 19; 2:5); a church in a city (Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 4:14); and the whole church (Col 3:12; Eph 1:6).
“Beloved” is a term used by all of the New Testament writers. Most importantly, when it is employed by every New Testament author, it either refers to Christ or His church.
“Beloved” is not a term used to describe the mass of humanity in even one, single case. There is no employment of it, apart from the two parties that both know the love of God the Father, in a most intimate way…indwelling. The love of Christ constrains the believer (2 Cor 5:14), but it hardly compels the reprobate. That is not for lack of power, but the love of God is discriminate, as it is placed upon the elect, born again, believer…exclusively, by God’s free will mercy and grace.
God has sent his love to His people in the world, and in the Spirit, they have returned His love. The reason they love God back, where the people of the world do not love God at all, is because God has made them the object of His love, thereby, giving them the name “Beloved.” As His beloved, they are known by their love for Christ and for the other beloved brethren. Together, these are the Beloved of God, who know the love of God…and that is exclusive.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 18, 2021