Love The Sinner Hate The Sin…..A Meaningless Distinction?

A.W. Pink says in Chapter 11 of his book The Sovereignty of God

It has been customary to say God loves the sinner though He hates his sin. But that is a meaningless distinction. What is there in a sinner but sin?

I had to read this twice or three times. It hit me in the face and I am still a bit dazed by it. This phrase is used so often today that it is just accepted. In fact, until I read this quote I had never heard it questioned.

As with most quotes the context is vital. Pink had been discussing whether or not God loves everybody and how that position, as held by many groups, is a universalist position. He says that it is a modern invention that would have been foreign to early Christians. He attributes D.L. Moody to being the primary person who popularized this concept (loving the sinner while hating the sin).

In the interest of full disclosure…I have used this phrase and I have taught this concept. All of a sudden I am wondering if I have done someone damage in misleading them in this way. What kind of damage could I have done? Pink says it this way

To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.

Wow, now this is powerful. Notice how Pink qualifies his comment. He aims it at “Christ-rejecters” not at all sinners. We know that the Bible says that while we were still sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). The difference here is between those elected by God for salvation – He chose them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:30-10) and thus has loved them eternally. “Christ-rejecters” would be the non-elect.  As a result of this teaching, it would seem that we would need to stop using this phrase and concept.

So what now?  Should we continue to use and teach this concept?  Is it Biblical?  What is your understanding?  I think I am going to have to think about this some more to see if I can get a better grasp on it.

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27 Responses to Love The Sinner Hate The Sin…..A Meaningless Distinction?

  1. mechmorph says:

    I haven’t read Pink’s book, but I suspect he’s addressing the “pearls before swine” concept. There are stages of knowledge, awareness and receptiveness, and some people might not be ready to understand the concept of unconditional love. If someone is told that God loves them, then they go on sinning, there’s a maturity problem there (assuming they believe in God). I suppose in that sense, most of us still have growing up to do. But the idea of loving the sinner and hating the sin seems quite biblical to me. “For God so loved the world …” and so on. In fact, the idea that we are not merely our actions seems a necessity for forgiveness. If a sinner is nothing but his sin, then he can’t repent and can’t be saved. There is a clear distinction between the person and the action. Some may take this as a license to go on sinning, but others may take this as a license to ignore someone’s continued sinning. Both attitudes are mistakes. God offers forgiveness, but we have to reach out to receive it.

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  2. billphillips says:

    Tom,

    When a parent disciplines a child, we know they do that because they love the child. When God sends someone to hell for eternity, that’s not the same as discipline. That’s pouring out wrath and justice on someone, not so much love.

    I think God is showing mercy and love while the non-elect are on earth, but that runs out at their death. I think telling an unsaved person that Jesus loves them, without telling them the whole truth of them going to hell without Jesus isn’t good.

    I think that phrase is biblical advice for us, but it doesn’t describe God’s thoughts very well, especially if the L in TULIP is true. “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” covers evangelism and whether we should tell people that God loves them. You can listen at http://www.wayofthemaster.com/audiolessons.shtml if you’ve never heard it.

    Psalm 5:5 says, “The boastful shall not stand in Your sight; You hate all workers of iniquity.”

    Thanks,
    Bill

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  3. tomterrific says:

    I’m sorry tha tI don’t have time to fully respond to your thoughtful and serious question; however, let me jsut say I have a big problem with any doctrine that restricts God’s love for sinners; that doesn’t differentiate between love and approbation.

    I love my children dearly. I do not always approve of what they do. If my son committed murder I would mourn the rest of my days even as I kissed him goodbye just before they pusshed the plunger.

    I remember years ago, visiting with a young missionary-friend in Germany. He’d attended a Calvinist college. He showed me his yearbook, pointed to a teacher and said, “That’s Professor So-and-so. He’s the one who destroyed my love for God.”

    “How,” I asked.

    “He told me God doesn’t love everyone and proved it from the scriptures. It took me about five years to recover my trust in God’s love.”

    Believing in the universal love of God for all mankind does NOT necessarily lead to universalism.

    Wish I had time to say more.

    tjkterrific@aol.com

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  4. Tom says:

    Bill said

    I think God is showing mercy and love while the non-elect are on earth, but that runs out at their death. I think telling an unsaved person that Jesus loves them, without telling them the whole truth of them going to hell without Jesus isn’t good.

    I think this is exactly right. We don’t want to give someone a false sense of security about salvation when they don’t have salvation or are when they have a misunderstanding of what salvation is. That false sense will lead many down the path to Hell.

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  5. Tom says:

    mechmorph said

    In fact, the idea that we are not merely our actions seems a necessity for forgiveness. If a sinner is nothing but his sin, then he can’t repent and can’t be saved.

    What you have touched on here is the Doctrine of Total Depravity. You are right in the fact that we can’t be saved while in this state….God must first change our nature from one enslaved by sin to one that is free from it. Then we can be saved.

    mechmorph said

    Some may take this as a license to go on sinning, but others may take this as a license to ignore someone’s continued sinning. Both attitudes are mistakes.

    This is exactly what we have to work diligently to avoid. This attitude is certainly not biblical and actually is an indication that the person has not yet been truly saved.

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  6. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    Believing in the universal love of God for all mankind does NOT necessarily lead to universalism.

    I want to believe in the universal love of God and I have always believed that in the past but I am not sure the Scriptures teach that anymore. A.W. Pink sums it up this way

    With the exception of John 3:16, not once in the four Gospels do we read of the Lord Jesus, the perfect Teacher, telling sinners that God loved them! In the book of Acts, which records the evangelistic labors and messages of the Apostles, God’s love is never referred to at all! But when we come to the Epistles, which are addressed to the saints, we have a full presentation of this precious truth-God’s love for His own. Let us seek to rightly divide the Word of God and then we shall not be found taking truths which are addressed to believers and mis-applying them to unbelievers.

    I am having a hard time right now refuting that. And, truthfully, if that is correct then I don’t want to refute it.

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  7. dylanhanover says:

    For reasons of my own, I need to believe that we are all, somehow, forgiven our sins and loved by the God who created us.

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  8. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    We get so hung up on semantics. Love is not approval. Love is not the opposite of hate. God loves every person He will ultimately send to Hell.

    The best definition I know for love is “willing the highest good of being,” and “a state of disinterested benevolence toward all.”

    How can any person believe God commands us to do what He Himself does not do? Love all men. How can anyone be so blinded by theological jargon and gnat-straining that they would explain away a plain statement of fact like “God is Love”. (Sorry, I don’t have time nor inclination to dig up exact references. If you don’t recognize these phrases from Scripture you need to do some more studying)

    [I am having a hard time right now refuting that. And, truthfully, if that is correct then I don’t want to refute it.]

    I admire your committment to Scriptural truth even when it goes against the dictates of your own heart. But you don’t have to. Remember first principles. First, define your terms. What do you mean, what does Pink mean, by the word “love”?

    Stop reading so much systematic theology (not all, just so much). The Bible is not a textbook. It is the accurate and inspired record of man’s experiences of God revealing Himself. Man’s experiences. It is primarily full of stories, parables, allegories, metaphors and myths (true-myths, not legends or tall-tales). NOT philosophical theorems.

    Theology comes along after the experiences and tries to create non-contradictory axioms and dogmas to give those of us who did not have the direct experience a handle on it for future reference, future use. And that’s all good.

    Unless it ends up destroying the very fruit it was intended to feed and water.

    The apostles didn’t talk about tongues of fire. They saw them. They learned God’s love not as an abstraction, but as an event — the Crucifixion.

    Theology is like the body’s skeleton. Good theology is like a well-formed, properly functioning skeletal system. It give us our form, our ability to hold our shape, allowing us to move ourselves through this world. But it is the flesh and blood, muscle and sweat and heart that is meant to cover our bones that actually carries us on our journey with God through life.

    A skeleton uncovered, without heart and muscle and skin. . .or eyes that show the soul inside. . .is a holloween monsterscaring anyone who sees it. Such is the theology of Dr. Pink.

    Put him down. He’s not able to teach you how to live a life pleasing to God. At best, he can only show you a map. But the map is not the territory. The menu is not the meal. You will not find true, living sustenance in his words, just as you will not be fed by a cookbook. Even on written by a great cook (which pink is not).

    Do you want to feed your soul?

    Get out and go do.

    Do you need to feed your soul with words?

    Read Lewis. Perelandra. That Hideous Strength. The Pilgrim’s Regress. Till We Have Faces.

    Get out of your head and into your heart.

    Loving God is Rational. Loving all men is our duty. And our joy. Anything that causes you to love God less is false.

    What do you want from God? What is your heart’s desire?

    More Light!

    Experience the JOY in believing that promise and you shall have it.

    God’s Best.

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  9. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    The best definition I know for love is “willing the highest good of being,” and “a state of disinterested benevolence toward all.”

    The best definition for love that I know is “putting others needs and well being before your own”. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of this when He willingly gave His life for His people.

    tomterrific said

    (Sorry, I don’t have time nor inclination to dig up exact references. If you don’t recognize these phrases from Scripture you need to do some more studying)

    I am very familiar with the phrases as well as the concepts they teach.

    tomterrific said

    I admire your committment to Scriptural truth even when it goes against the dictates of your own heart. But you don’t have to.

    What exactly do you mean here? I admit I do not follow what you are saying. If what we believe is not in agreement with what Scripture teaches then we have to change our beliefs…right?

    tomterrific said

    Stop reading so much systematic theology (not all, just so much). The Bible is not a textbook. It is the accurate and inspired record of man’s experiences of God revealing Himself. Man’s experiences. It is primarily full of stories, parables, allegories, metaphors and myths (true-myths, not legends or tall-tales). NOT philosophical theorems.

    My wife and my Sunday School class might agree with you that I should stop reading so many theology books. You also seem to be placing a high level of significance on man’s experiences in God’s revealing Himself. I agree that the Bible is a record of how God revealed Himself to His creatures but the focus always has to be on God…not man’s experiences. We may be saying the same thing from different perspectives..but I am not sure.

    tomterrific said

    Theology comes along after the experiences and tries to create non-contradictory axioms and dogmas to give those of us who did not have the direct experience a handle on it for future reference, future use. And that’s all good.

    Theology is the study of God. Since God never changes, we are studying the same God with the exact same attributes and the same qualities as those who had the privilidge of knowing Jesus while he was walking the Earth in human form.

    A sound Biblical theology is the only foundation that allows a person to mature spiritually and become more Christ-like. Anything built on any less of a firm foundation will surely crumble and fall short in the time of tribulation.

    tomterrific said

    Put him down. He’s not able to teach you how to live a life pleasing to God.

    I understand Pink’s writings are not inspired Scriture but his writings, like many others, are very useful in helping people to properly study and understand what the Scripture teaches.

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  10. tomterrific says:

    Hey Tom, I’m working on my reply. I’ve got some great stuff for you, really amazing thoughts and ideas!

    They’ll make your heart soar, I guarantee it.

    So I’ll get back to you in a day or so. O.K.?

    I hope you don’t mind long comments on your posts. If you do, I can always email my response. Let me know.

    God’s Best to You!

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  11. Tom says:

    Tomterrific,

    I don’t mind your responses at all. In fact, to hear from other people is one of the reasons I started this blog. I hope I can help others and that I can also learn something myself.

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  12. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    I wish I knew how to pull out quotes and set them apart like you did above. I’m new to wordpress so I’ll be on a (learning) curve for a while. I separated your quotes with brackets instead.

    To your post.

    In response to my definition of love, disinterested benevolence, You say,

    [The best definition for love that I know is “putting others needs and well being before your own”. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of this when He willingly gave His life for His people.]

    Man Tom, I wish I could convey to you what a bad definition of love that is! And I can already guess what kinds of problems it has caused for you. And I’m not sure, but I can’t think of a single Calvinist divine (pre-20th C.) who would agree with you!

    First off, it negates you. Why is that necessary? Why is that good? Why are your needs irrelevant? Your well-being? Because sometimes you put yourself first when you shouldn’t and that is a sin? So? The sin is in putting yourself first when you shouldn’t, not in ever putting yourself first.

    Second, it is contrary to God’s commandments. “What is the greatest of all the commandments? Love God. And the second is like unto (just like!) the first: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That doesn’t sound to me like God is commanding you to “put others needs and well being before your own.”

    Third, it is irrational. It makes no judgment as to what is good or bad for you or the other person. Nor the ends to be achieved by the sacrifice of your wants, needs and well-being for someone else’s, apparently anyone else’s, needs or well-being.

    And again, that’s not what Jesus commanded.

    Remember, Tom, Jesus is God’s wisdom. He is also the “logos”, the “logic,” of God. (Hey! They do come from the same root at least! LOL!)

    What God commands and Jesus does always make sense once we know the all the facts.

    “Look at Jesus, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross. . .and [now] He has sat down at the right had of the Father.”

    Means and ends. A rational decision made for desirable ends. Jesus sacrificed Himself to obtain JOY FOR HIMSELF!!

    And. . .get this. . .his JOY was to redeem mankind.

    It was not a duty. It was not a burden. He was not “obligated” to die. The dying was hard. The sacrifice hurt, yes. But it was for JOY that he did it.

    Do your sacrifices bring you JOY?

    And while on earth, Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself for the needs of just anyone at any time. There were times he didn’t help others, when He sent the crowds away so He could rest. He put His needs and well being before the needs of others!

    Love is not irrational. God’s commandments are not irrational.

    Then you quote me saying,

    [tomterrific said
    (Sorry, I don’t have time nor inclination to dig up exact references. If you don’t recognize these phrases from Scripture you need to do some more studying)

    I am very familiar with the phrases as well as the concepts they teach.]

    Please accept my apology, Tom. I should have realized how snide that sounded when I said it. Unfortunately, I have had discussions with Christians who believed if you didn’t quote chapter and verse, you were probably lying! My goal since I was a boy (15) was to “think in Scripture.” That is, learn and incorporate the concepts within the verses and make them a part of my mental framework, not just learn the words. The result is I sometimes “speak in Scripture” without giving attribution. And sometimes people, say those trained as Navigators, don’t like it. Oh, well.

    You then quote me:

    [I admire your commitment to Scriptural truth even when it goes against the dictates of your own heart. But you don’t have to.

    [What exactly do you mean here? I admit I do not follow what you are saying. If what we believe is not in agreement with what Scripture teaches then we have to change our beliefs…right?]

    What I meant was, your heart and the Scripture are not in conflict. There is no conflict. Pink is wrong.

    Think about it. Jesus said, “Love your enemies. . .for if you only love those who love you, what reward have you?”

    Then, He gives as the example of loving your enemies, God giving rain to all, even His own enemies. GOD LOVES HIS ENEMIES!! Not just the Elect.

    Ask yourself, has God ever provided rain for the damned? Of course He has! Not just for the Elect? NO! Rain for All!!

    Then according to Jesus, God LOVES everyone He has ever given rain to!
    Which is eveyrone!

    Pink is wrong.

    And ask yourself, if he’s wrong about something as basic as the character of God, what else is he wrong about that you just haven’t figured out yet?

    First principles, for Jesus’ sake! “For God so loved the world that he gave. . .”

    Every Sunday School child knows that! Why doesn’t Pink?

    Because he’s been indoctrinated away from his common sense. And his Heart.

    And you could easily follow him down that barren path.

    But now you don’t have to.

    You don’t have to sear your heart to be an orthodox believer.

    Always beware when a religious “truth” wants to lead you away from the deepest ideals of your heart. 9 times out of 10 your heart will shed light on your questioning and point you in the right direction. (I am not saying your heart has the truth. The nature and function of the “heart” is too much to go into right now.)

    How can I say that? Because what we call the “heart” is the emotional connection we have made with our own deepest thoughts, beliefs and decisions. That’s what proverbs means when it says, “Out of it [the heart] are the issues of life.”

    The “heart” need not be irrational, uncontrollable, if the things we have put into are consistent and non-contradictory. It is irrational when we have fed it conflicting ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, truth and falsity, desires and dreams.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way.

    You then say,

    [I agree that the Bible is a record of how God revealed Himself to His creatures but the focus always has to be on God…not man’s experiences. We may be saying the same thing from different perspectives..but I am not sure.]

    Sorry, my brother. In the entire Bible you can’t divorce the two. Even the receiving of the Law on Sinai was wrapped up in the people’s experience of it. The thunders, the fire, the ground shaking, how the people reacted to it and what God did in response, etc.

    The receiving of the Law was an experience to those who were there. And we are not to interpret the Law without taking what happened to the people into account.

    Or take the crucifixion. It could have been performed like Abraham and Isaac on Mt. Moriah. That was its analogy, right? Instead God arranged for it to take place not only in public, but in the capitol of Israel, before the largest crowds of the year. And Jesus wasn’t ceremonially sacrificed with a sharp, smooth knife then bled out like a lamb on Passover. He was first beaten, tortured and then stripped naked before being hung on a cross.

    Why?

    Because how it happened was just as important as that it happened. The context is a key to understanding.

    Ask yourself. How does the “experience” of Jesus’ crucifixion change his sacrifice compared to what it would “mean” if it had modeled Mt. Moriah?

    Such reflections would fill a year-long devotional and perhaps a doctoral dissertation or two.

    And even in the epistles, the closest thing to pure theology in the Bible, the writers are always relating what they are saying back to the people’s experiences of Jesus through the Gospel. The writers (especially Paul) are explaining in the epistle the meaning of what the people had experienced when they believed.

    One example: “You were (past tense, referring to their experience of regeneration) buried with Him in baptism. . .raised. . .sitting with Him in the Heavenlies, etc.”

    Now don’t get me wrong, Tom. I’m not advocating putting experience above Scriptural truth. I’m not a touchy-feely, new-age pseudo-Christian, looking for some kind of “spiritual orgasm.”

    No! Every experience in life we have, that we seek to put into a spiritual context, must be measured against our own, albeit limited, understanding of the Word of God.

    But the Christian life is a life. And what is a life but a chain of experiences? And the Christian life is a chain of experiences lived by a redeemed soul, from beginning to end infused with the reality of God’s love, care, discipline, direction and goals.

    What is the Christian life but an individual saint’s experiences of God revealing Himself? And that saint trying to interpret his experiences according to the Word of God.

    We can’t escape it, Bro. Life is experiences.

    And it terrifies us, doesn’t it? Us intellectuals? Us struggling theologians?

    What? What terrifies us about living this life?

    That we might get it wrong. That we might be deceived. That we might end up missing God’s will, even as we say we believe that it’s impossible to ever really miss God’s will! LOL!!

    Sometimes Tom, God makes me laugh out loud!

    Sometimes I think the only thing God created funnier than sex is theology.

    Both can have horrific consequences, it’s true. But come on! Admit it. Sometimes we are funny!

    You say:

    [Theology is the study of God. Since God never changes, we are studying the same God with the exact same attributes and the same qualities as those who had the privilege of knowing Jesus while he was walking the Earth in human form.

    A sound Biblical theology is the only foundation that allows a person to mature spiritually and become more Christ-like. Anything built on any less of a firm foundation will surely crumble and fall short in the time of tribulation.]

    Tom, I don’t have a book to recommend for this, but start a study of both Jewish and Christian doctrinal history. Start looking into what beliefs people had at what points in history and how each new concept came along, bringing more light about God.

    For example, I’m sure you know the sadducees didn’t believe in an after life. . .yet they were considered orthodox Jews! Members of the Jewish Supreme Court even! How could that be?

    But in fact, each of the two groups, pharisees and saduccees, believed the other was the more liberal, did you know that? True.

    The saduccees believed they were orthodox because they only believed the revelation given to Moses. The Pharisees believed they were the orthodox ones because they accepted the “new revelations” given by the prophets (like an afterlife).

    And David’s concept of Hell (sheol) was not the place of fire and brimstone Jesus spoke of; but a place of shadows, full of muttering ghosts who could not remember God or their pervious life on earth.

    Or take the doctrine of “original sin,” also called “total depravity.” That wasn’t developed into a theological concept until the fifth century by St. Augustine–four hundred years after Jesus’ resurrection. And his primarily motivation was to explain his own experience with uncontrollable lust. He taught it was a substance, possibly transmitted by sperm, and so man was, literally, conceived in sin.

    My point? Not the relative merits of doctrines about Heaven and Hell or the sinfulness of man. But to show you the Bible is not a book of systematic theology. It is not a treatise on doctrines about God and it did not spring full-blown and complete into the hands of man in one day. Even in Jesus’ day it is estimated there were more than one hundred separate ‘cults’ of Jews, each with their own interpretations of various prophetic passages, each claiming it had the truth. Mostly it was the truth about the Messiah they were interested in.

    In fact, even on of Jesus’ own apostles was from such a group. Simon the Zealot.

    You must take these facts into account if you hope to accurately interpret the Scriptures.

    [tomterrific said
    Put him down. He’s not able to teach you how to live a life pleasing to God.

    [I understand Pink’s writings are not inspired Scripture but his writings, like many others, are very useful in helping people to properly study and understand what the Scripture teaches.]

    I was not under the misapprehension that you thought Pink’s writings were inspired Scripture. My plea to you was to abandon his writings completely because they will only shrink your soul. They do not bring truth. They will cause any love you have for man and God to shrivel up and in its place all you will have is intellectual arrogance that whispers to you that it’s o.k. if you no longer feel love for others, or feel joy in living your life for God or feel drawn to God when you pray; after all, what do you need feelings for? You’ve been taught The Truth. You’ve got it all figured out. What do you need with emotions anyway? They’re messy. They get in the way. And you can’t trust them either!

    What I have learned from both theology and psychology is that a man who’s mind and emotions do not agree is a sad man, separated from all the good in life God has for him.

    And I’ve known too many men, friends, who ended up like that because they thought it was their Christian duty to believe doctrines that shriveled their souls. Doctrines that made God Himself small even as they loudly claimed they were lifting Him up on high!

    What is it Jesus said about being “wounded in the house of my friends”?

    God’s Best to You.

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  13. Tom says:

    tomterrific,

    To put something into a quote like I did you simply use the “blockquote” command. It looks like you have can use the “bold” command and the “blockquote” command is done the exact same way. At the beginning you put the word “blockquote” between the symbols “”. At the end you do that same thing but add a “/” before the word “blockquote” like this “”. Like I said, it is the same as the bold command…just insert the word “blockquote” in place of the “b”.

    As for the rest or your post, give me a little time to read, digest it. I will post some thoughts on it soon.

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  14. Tom says:

    Tomterrific,
    I will now begin to respond to your post. I will do it in separate sections. I will deal with the concept of LOVE first.

    tomterrific said

    The best definition I know for love is “willing the highest good of being,” and “a state of disinterested benevolence toward all.”

    I said

    The best definition for love that I know is “putting others needs and well being before your own”. Jesus gave us the ultimate example of this when He willingly gave His life for His people.

    tomterrific said

    Man Tom, I wish I could convey to you what a bad definition of love that is! And I can already guess what kinds of problems it has caused for you.

    Where to start…..

    I am still not sure what “disinterested benevolence” is. How can love be disinterested. The bible defines love this way (and I think we can agree that the bible should be our first and final reference): John 15:13 says Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.. 1 John 3:16 says By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. It seems that the clear teachings of the bible are to put others needs before our own.

    Next you give 3 reasons why my definition is “bad”. Your first reason was:

    First off, it negates you. Why is that necessary? Why is that good? Why are your needs irrelevant? Your well-being? Because sometimes you put yourself first when you shouldn’t and that is a sin? So? The sin is in putting yourself first when you shouldn’t, not in ever putting yourself first.

    Putting someone else’s needs before your own does not “negate” you. It gives you joy. It is how we, as Christians, are supposed to relate to one another. You correctly point out that Jesus went to the cross for the joy he was about to receive…but he did not go for the joy, the joy He received was in lifting up His children by restoring of the relationship.

    Next you said

    Second, it is contrary to God’s commandments. “What is the greatest of all the commandments? Love God. And the second is like unto (just like!) the first: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” That doesn’t sound to me like God is commanding you to “put others needs and well being before your own.”

    I think you have a misunderstanding of this commandment. Jesus knew that most (maybe all) people have a me first self-love mentality. He is simply saying that we need to love others as much as we love ourselves. If we do that, then we will always consider their needs and their well being in all that we do…..would our world not be a better place if we all did that? I think it would.

    Third you said

    Third, it is irrational. It makes no judgment as to what is good or bad for you or the other person. Nor the ends to be achieved by the sacrifice of your wants, needs and well-being for someone else’s, apparently anyone else’s, needs or well-being.

    I agree, it is irrational to our sinful nature. It only makes sense after we have a new nature…the new nature the Holy Spirit gives us at the point we are regenerated. We cannot judge Godly things from our human perspective…we must turn to God’s word and see how He said they should be….even if it is against our nature….only believers can do that.

    Then you asked me:

    Do your sacrifices bring you JOY?

    The answer is a resounding YES!! For example, there are times when I must sacrifice something I want personally in order to provide something for my kids. They usually don’t even know that I had to choose to do without something in order to give them what they want. I receive joy in an unmeasurable amount watching them enjoy what I have been able to give them.

    It is always this way…..we will receive joy ourselves by putting others needs before ourselves. But there is another side to this….and it is part of God’s design as well. Those that love us also get joy in putting our needs before their own. It is a win-win situations…just as God designed it to be.

    I will respond to the other parts of your comment in a bit.

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  15. tomterrific says:

    Wow Tom! Great reply.

    Give me a day or so, okay?

    Like

  16. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    What I meant was, your heart and the Scripture are not in conflict. There is no conflict. Pink is wrong.

    This is simply not correct. It we are not saved, then our heart will always be in conflict with Scripture. If we are saved, then our heart will still be in conflict with Scripture some of the time….this is the spiritual warfare that we all face, i.e. doing God’s will or our own.

    John 8:34 says Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.. Before we are regenerated we are slaves to the sin that makes up our nature. This sin permeates our entire being, including our heart. There is no part of us that is not affected by our sin nature. This is known as the Doctrine of Total Depravity.

    Next, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. In the process of regeneration, we are given a new nature…one that can see and seek God. At this point, our heart can be in agreement with Scripture but there are still times in which we return to our old sinful nature.

    tomterrific said

    Then, He gives as the example of loving your enemies, God giving rain to all, even His own enemies. GOD LOVES HIS ENEMIES!! Not just the Elect.

    Ask yourself, has God ever provided rain for the damned? Of course He has! Not just for the Elect? NO! Rain for All!!

    God is the Creator of all things. I agree with the fact that He does have some love for all but in His sovereignty He only selects the Elect to receive salvation. Therefore, He has a different of special love for the Elect. All of God’s creation receive some measure of His grace but not all of His creation receive salvation.

    tomterrific said

    Always beware when a religious “truth” wants to lead you away from the deepest ideals of your heart. 9 times out of 10 your heart will shed light on your questioning and point you in the right direction.

    Jeremiah 17:9 says The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? We cannot trust our heart. It will lie to us. We can only trust God and His word.

    Like

  17. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    You say,

    I agree with the fact that He does have some love for all but in His sovereignty He only selects the Elect to receive salvation. Therefore, He has a different of special love for the Elect.

    O.k. You’re gonna have to give me chapter and verse for that, Tom.

    But of course, I don’t need to. My theology allows me to believe God loves all and will send sinners who reject His Son to Hell. AND that He cannot save anyone against their will.

    You, however, believe we are all robots, puppets controlled by the omnipotent puppetmaster, who for no good reason is sentencing to eternal torment individual humans beings whom He could save if He only loved them with “the right kind of love.”

    Whoops! an argument from reason!

    Quick, jump back into your tight little theological box and slam the lid against reality!

    But before you do, Tom, do something for me. A little thought experiment.

    Imagine you are God, the God of the Bible you say you believe in. And begin applying your theology to your own children.

    Decide that from this day forward you will favor one above the other.

    From this day forward you will help one to achieve your dreams for him and the other, ignore or toss away.

    Lavish expensive gifts on one but ignore the other.

    Give all your wealth to the one and kick the ohter out of your house.

    And if He ever comes back and begs, BEGS for help, IGNORE him.

    Oh, and make sure He knows you are doing this JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN and for no other reason.

    Tell me, Tom. Do would you like yourself? Would you think you were a good father? Could you?

    I hope not.

    And if not, how is it you can be, without omniscience, A BETTER FATHER TO YOUR CHILDREN THAN GOD IS TO HIS?

    Now, before I go, can I ask you a question?

    Since you’ve countered every argument I’ve make from reason with YOUR interpretation of some verse pr ptjer, arrived at by reason no doubt, please tell me:

    How do you know your interpretation is the correct one? What is your primary tool of interpretation?

    And how do you know it’s correct? How can you be sure?

    I have been involved in ministries to cults through the years and they all believe their interpretation is the correct one and everyone else is wrong. But when you ask them how they know that, how can they be sure of that, they have no answer.

    OR, they argue a special revelation e.g. Mormonism.

    So why should I believe you? Your interpretation?

    And if you say I can’t unless I am one of the elect, unless God reveals it to me, they your theology is no different from Mormonism.

    God’s Best to you, Brother.

    Tom K.

    Like

  18. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    Are you trying to misunderstand me?

    From your earlier post, you quote me:

    What I meant was, your heart and the Scripture are not in conflict. There is no conflict. Pink is wrong.

    You said:

    This is simply not correct. It we are not saved, then our heart will always be in conflict with Scripture. If we are saved, then our heart will still be in conflict with Scripture some of the time….this is the spiritual warfare that we all face, i.e. doing God’s will or our own.

    “. . .If we are saved, then our heart will still be in conflict with Scripture some of the time. . .”

    Fine! No problemo! But you acknowledge then that some of the time our hearts will not be in conflict with the Word of God.

    What I was saying was, on this issue, your heart is not in conflict with Scripture! I was not arguing for the primacy of heart-knowledge. I don’t believe in it.

    I was simply saying on this point your heart was not in conflict with the word of God.

    But of course, you believe it is because it contradicts Calvinist theology.

    And you’re right.

    But it doesn’t contradict Biblical theology!

    But tell me please, why are you so desperate to beleive God doesn’t love everyone?

    Why is it so important to you Calvinist to believe that God, by any objective standard of proof, is a sadist?

    Islamic terrorists believe it is o.k. to cut off an infidel’s head for no reason than because he is an infidel.

    And you Calvinsts believe it is o.k. for God to damn someone to eternal torment simply because he can.

    How are you different from the Muslim terrorists?

    How is Jehovah different from Allah?

    He isn’t. Not as long as He tortures His creatures for all eternity for doing the very things they were created by Him to do. Sin.

    Tell me, does sin exist outside of God?

    How can that be if God is sovereign? If everything is His will?

    As I see it, under your theology, God is the author of all sin in the universe since nothing can exist except by His sovereignty.

    Oh! the blackness of such a belief system! How do you live with it?

    Oh, that’s right. You comfort yourself with the knowledge that at least you are one of the elect.

    And to Hell (literally) with everyone else!

    Talk with you later.

    Tom K.

    Like

  19. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    You say,

    Jeremiah 17:9 says The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? We cannot trust our heart. It will lie to us. We can only trust God and His word.

    So tell me, Tom, if the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things, how do you know when you are interpeting God’s Word correctly? How can you be sure?

    Do the elect receive a special faculty, a new “sixth sense” that tells them what the true meaning of the words of scripture are?

    They do?

    But how do they know that new ability to interpret scripture is right?

    How can you be sure?

    Especially since you can’t trust reason?

    How do you KNOW you are right?

    It can’t be because you are one of the elect. Because all the elect don’t agree on the meaning of even the simpliest scripture verses.

    So how do you know? And how can you be sure?

    Just another question.

    Tom K.

    Like

  20. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    Earlier, you said:

    I think you have a misunderstanding of this commandment. Jesus knew that most (maybe all) people have a me first self-love mentality. He is simply saying that we need to love others as much as we love ourselves. If we do that, then we will always consider their needs and their well being in all that we do…..would our world not be a better place if we all did that? I think it would.

    More specifically, you said,

    He is simply saying that we need to love others as much as we love ourselves. If we do that, then we will always consider their needs and their well being in all that we do….

    Thank you for making my point! I appreciate it.

    “Love others as much as we love ourselves.”

    In other words, when it comes to deciding whose needs to put first, it is perfectly legitimate to weigh your own needs against the needs of others. And if your needs are more important than theirs, to put yours first. Or not.

    And how are you to judge whose needs to put first?

    God has given you the plumbline. God’s needs first. Others needs equal with your own.

    NOT as you argue, automaticaly ahead of your own needs.

    Tom K.

    Like

  21. Tom says:

    tomterrific…

    I was out of town for the weekend. I will read and respond to your comments this week

    Like

  22. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    So tell me, Tom, if the heart is deceitful and wicked above all things, how do you know when you are interpeting God’s Word correctly? How can you be sure?

    Do the elect receive a special faculty, a new “sixth sense” that tells them what the true meaning of the words of scripture are?

    Are you implying that the heart is not wicked and deceitful? Are you implying that the Word of God is not accurate when it states that the heart IS wicked and deceitful. The Word is explicit here…no need for interpretation. It is correct or it is not.

    Now, to the question of how we know the correct interpretation of the Bible. We must let the Bible itself interpret itself wherever possible. It is the only thing that is inerrent in its interpretation. Men are fallible and may get something wrong. That is why we are told to meditate on the Word day and night.

    The elect do not receive a “sixth sense” for the purpose of Bible interpretation. They get something immeasurably better…a whole new nature from the HOLY SPIRIT. He is our guide, He is infallible, He is God who speaks to us in the still, small voice. Trust Him and Him alone for interpretation.

    Like

  23. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    How do you KNOW you are right?

    It can’t be because you are one of the elect. Because all the elect don’t agree on the meaning of even the simpliest scripture verses.

    So how do you know? And how can you be sure?

    Our hope is not in ourselves….but in the One who did the electing. He is the one we must look to for confirmation.

    Like

  24. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    And you Calvinsts believe it is o.k. for God to damn someone to eternal torment simply because he can.

    It is funny to see someone calling me a Calvinist. As recently as one year ago that would have really ticked me off. But, through God’s grace during the last year I have come to recognize that the label has actually always applied to my beliefs…I just did not realize it. Go figure.

    First, if you create something, do you not then have the right to define what its purpose as use are? Does the object, or even someone else, have the right to make those decisions for you? The answer is that the creator defines the function, purpose, and the use of the object. Now, THE Creator has created something…US. So, who gets to define our function, purpose, and use…..He does. Why is that concept so hard to grasp? It is straight out of the Bible.

    Second, the Bible in no way teaches that God sends someone to eternal torment simply because He can. This is not an accurate portrayal of what God’s Word teaches. Those who end up in eternal torment are there because of their own choices. They chose to sin. The wages of sin is death. What part of that don’t you understand? What is more is that we ALL sin. We all are destined for eternal torment because Adam chose to sin. Do you deny that the Bible teaches these things? I don’t think that you will. God knew this before He created us…..and He created us anyway. Now for the Good News, God chose to save some of us from eternal torment. Why? Only He knows but the Bible clearly teaches this as well. To be honest, I wish that God had chosen to save all people…after all, He could have done that if He had chosen to but He did not choose to. We simply have to accept His will in the matter, otherwise, we will be very unhappy.

    Like

  25. Tom says:

    tomterrrific said

    Tell me, does sin exist outside of God?

    How can that be if God is sovereign? If everything is His will?

    Nothing exists outside of God. Sin exists because God allows it to. We can see that throughout scripture. One example is in the story of Joseph. God allowed His brothers to sin and used their sin in order to accomplish His will. Joseph recognizes this when he tells his brothers that what they intended for evil God intended for good.

    Like

  26. tomterrific says:

    Tom,

    Sorry for not replying sooner, but you seemed to be absent so I thought you didn’t want to respond. And then Fenderpooh and I agreed to disagree and I didnt’ check back. Until now.

    I don’t have time at this moment to reply to your valid points and questions. I will at my earliest opportunity.

    But for now I’ll simply ask how it is that total depravity doesn’t mean no ability to choose not to sin? You say God is sending men to Hell for choosing sin. Yet total depravity says they cannot choose otherwise.

    Sounds like a contradiction between your concept of sin being a choice and the extra-Biblical doctrine of total depravity.

    Any thoughts how to resolve the conflict?

    Tom K.

    Like

  27. Tom says:

    tomterrific said

    But for now I’ll simply ask how it is that total depravity doesn’t mean no ability to choose not to sin? You say God is sending men to Hell for choosing sin. Yet total depravity says they cannot choose otherwise.

    Sounds like a contradiction between your concept of sin being a choice and the extra-Biblical doctrine of total depravity.

    Any thoughts how to resolve the conflict?

    This is actually a question I struggled with myself for a little while. And on the surface, it appears to be a contradiction just as you say. But, there is no contradiction here.

    First, total depravity means that the sin nature that we inherited from Adam has permeated us so thoroughly that there is no part of our being not corrupted by it. Do you agree with that statement?

    Next, since we have this sin nature, the choices we make will only be in agreement with the sin nature. We are not able to choose anything contrary to our nature. Do you agree with that statement?

    Next, even though we have a sin nature we must still choose to commit the sin. Our nature influences or limits our choices but the choices still have to be made and the choices still have to be carried out. I am not saying that we can simply choose not to sin.

    To recap, even though we have inherited a sinful nature from the fall of Adam and Eve we are still responsible for our sins because we choose to commit the sin each time we do. Therefore, we are responsible for our sins and we are responsible for our being cast into Hell.

    Like

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