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God Is Love
[See also How Can A God Of Love Send People To Hell?]
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. (1 John 4:8)
God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)
Most people do not know love, because they do not know God (Psalm 10:4; 14:1-3; Matthew 7:13-14), and are therefore incapable of loving in any kind of godly way (Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 3:10-18; 14:23; Titus 3:3). God is the defining factor in a proper understanding of what is love, because God is love. If you do not know God (Galatians 4:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:8), you will not understand love, for the Lord is love. Therefore, if you do not understand (Ephesians 4:17-18), or you reject what is revealed in this report about God and love, it is indicative of your lost state (John 8:47; John 17:3; 1 John 4:6). May the Lord have mercy, and may you come to know the God of love.
I. God Is Patient (1 Corinthians 13:4).
In its first definition of love, 1 Corinthians 13:4 defines God (Love) as One who "suffers long" (NKJV). The Lord suffers? Yes, in His love, He suffers long. Jesus said,
I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! (Luke 12:49)
The Almighty Holy God loves justice (Psalm 37:28; 99:4) and hates those who do evil (Leviticus 20:23; Psalm 5:5-6; 11:5; 78:59; 106:40; Proverbs 6:16-19). "God is angry with the wicked every day" (Psalm 7:11), and if they do not repent,
He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death; He makes His arrows into fiery shafts. (Psalm 7:12-13)
He prepares to destroy them. But, in the meantime, He suffers long with them and continues to make,
His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45).
He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and vegetation for the service of man, that he may bring forth food from the earth, and wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart. (Psalm 104:14-15)
These all wait for You, that You may give them their food in due season. What You give them they gather in; You open Your hand, they are filled with good. (Psalm 104:27-28)
God loves His enemies (Romans 5:8-10). He loves those whom He hates (Psalm 5:5-6; John 3:16; Romans 3:10-18). He is extremely patient towards evil men (e.g. Nehemiah 9:30). He has even been crushed by wicked men (Ezekiel 6:9). He suffers long with them (Romans 2:4), but not indefinitely.
You hide Your face, they are troubled; You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. (Psalm 104:29; see also Luke 16:19-31)
For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare, so the sons of men are snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:12)
God is patient, but His patience has an end; and He chooses when that end will be.
Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3)
Finally, the Lord is particularly patient with believers, as 2 Peter 3:9 says.
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV; NAS "patient toward you")
II. God Is Kind (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Along with His longsuffering, is His kindness toward mankind and all of His creation. Day after day He gives life and breath and sustenance to man, animals, and all life (Psalm 104; Acts 17:25).
The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. (Psalm 145:9)
The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16)
He is "gracious in all His works" (Psalm 145:17), and He gives gladness of heart (e.g. Psalm 97:11; Acts 14:17) and enjoyment (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13; 1 Timothy 6:17).
The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 33:5; see also Psalm 119:64)
In His awesome love, the Lord is even "kind to the unthankful and evil" (Luke 6:35). Israel's history well illustrates this. Nehemiah records,
You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger, and brought them water out of the rock for their thirst, and told them to go in to possess the land which You had sworn to give them. But they and our fathers acted proudly, hardened their necks, and did not heed Your commandments. They refused to obey, and they were not mindful of Your wonders that You did among them. But they hardened their necks, and in their rebellion they appointed a leader to return to their bondage. But You are God, ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abundant in kindness, and did not forsake them. (Nehemiah 9:15)
Although, "with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness" (1 Corinthians 10:5), God did not utterly forsake them (Nehemiah 9:31), but was abundant in His kindness toward Israel (Nehemiah 9:18-31).
Jonah knew well the lovingkindness of the Lord, so well, he fled to Tarshish. He did not want the Lord to save the Ninevites. After the entire city of Ninevah repented in response to Jonah's preaching (Luke 11:32), Jonah lamented,
Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish.; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. (Jonah 4:2)
Jonah wanted harm, not mercy, for the Ninevites, but the Lord had other plans; because He is abundant in lovingkindness. Yet, God's kindness is not without bounds.
Ninevah did not remain in His goodness (Romans 11:22). Therefore, the Lord later testified against Ninevah and declared,
God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies; the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. (Nahum 1:2-3)
Ninevah, eventually, was destroyed (Nahum 3:5-7).
Furthermore, in His kindness, God afflicts people and then saves them, as Psalm 107 testifies.
Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalm 107:17-21; see also verses 10-15 & 23-31)
This is the kindness of God towards men. As rebuke is a kindness (Psalm 141:5; Proverbs 27:6; Revelation 3:19), so God's affliction is a kindness to bring people to repentance (Romans 2:4). Although, men often do not take heed (e.g. Amos 4:6-11; Revelation 9:20-21; 16:8-11). But, those who do repent speak like this:
It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes. (Psalm 119:71)
I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me. (Psalm 119:75)
III. God Does Not Envy (1 Corinthians 13:4).
The possessor of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19, 22; Deuteronomy 10:14) would never envy (Job 34:12). Who or what would there be to envy? He is the One Who created everything (Isaiah 42:5). He is the One Who "gives to all life, breath, and all things" (Acts 17:25). He is the One Who upholds "all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3). "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses" (Daniel 4:32). What is left for God to envy?
The godly may be tempted to envy the wicked (e.g. Psalm 37:1; 73:1-3; Proverbs 23:17; 24:1), but when they enter "the sanctuary of God," the santuary of love, they understand their end (Psalm 73:17-20); and the envy dissipates (Psalm 73:21-28). When they enter the sanctuary of Love (God), they see, in reality, all things considered, the wicked, and their lot, is undesirable (Psalm 37:2, 9; 73:18-20; Proverbs 24:19-20).
IV. The Lord Does Not Parade Himself (1 Corinthians 13:4).
"Love does not parade itself" (1 Corinthians 13:4, NKJV). Thus, we know God, who is love, does not parade Himself. As Job said,
If He goes by me, I do not see Him; if He moves past, I do not perceive Him. (Job 9:11)
Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him; when He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. (Job 23:9)
Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel. (Isaiah 45:15)
The Lord hides Himself. He does not parade Himself, nor does He brag (1 Corinthians 13:4, NAS) or boast (1 Corinthians 13:4, NIV). Jesus said, "I do not receive honor from men" (John 5:41; note also Isaiah 53:2).
V. God Is Not Proud (1 Corinthians 13:4).
Love is not puffed up (1 Corinthians 13:4), therefore God is not puffed up. Jesus said,
Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:29)
The Lord is indeed lowly in heart. Although He is the King of Kings (1 Timothy 6:15), when He came to Jerusalem, He came in a humble way. As it is written,
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zechariah 9:9; see also Matthew 21:1-9)
Furthermore, the Lord dwells "with him who has a contrite and humble spirit" (Isaiah 57:15). He dwells with the lowly. As it is written,
God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5)
Moreover, it takes humility on His part to have anything to do with His creation. As Psalm 113 says,
The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth? (Psalm 113:3-6)
He humbles Himself just to look into the universe (the heavens), let alone to gaze upon the earth (Psalm 113:3-6).
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. (Psalm 147:5)
"And His greatness is unsearchable" (Psalm 145:3). There is no pride in Him. "The Lord is righteous in all His ways" (Psalm 145:17).
VI. The Lord Is Not Rude (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Love does not behave rudely (1 Corinthians 13:5), therefore God does not behave rudely. But what is rude? The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:5 for "rudely" is only used one other place in the New Testament and that's in 1 Corinthians 7:36 translated "improperly." The Lord does not behave improperly, or rudely.
Even though Christ is the Rock of Offense (Isaiah 8:14; Romans 9:33) and men were offended (Matthew 13:57; 15:12; Mark 6:3) and are offended because of Him (1 Peter 2:8), He nonetheless behaves properly, and not rudely. "For the Lord is righteous," and He loves righteousness (Psalm 11:7).
Even though God has spread dung upon people's faces (Malachi 2:3, KJV), describes males as those who "pisseth against the wall" (1 Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:21, KJV), and has caused people to eat their own children (Leviticus 26:27-29; Deuteronomy 28:53-63), He is never rude. He behaves properly, for God is love (1 John 4:8). He speaks truth (Psalm 33:4; 119:160; Proverbs 12:17) and judges at the proper time (Psalm 75:2).
VII. The Lord Does Not Seek His Own (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Love does not seek its own, and this is beautifully illustrated in Christ,
who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)
Jesus did not do this for Himself, as He Himself said.
For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (John 6:38)
Jesus was so engrossed in love His food was to do the Father's will (John 4:34). The Lord did not seek his own (John 5:30).
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5)
He poured out His soul unto death. (Isaiah 53:12)
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:6-8)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
When you understand how God hates sinners (Psalm 5:5-6) and how repulsive they are in His eyes (Deuteronomy 25:16; Proverbs 3:32; 6:16-19; 11:20; 15:8-9, 26; 16:5; 17:15; 21:27; 28:9), then, and only then, can you truly understand the immensity of God's love towards mankind. For He sacrificed His own Son, and His Son sacrificed His own life, for those who are or were loathsome to Him (Proverbs 13:5).
By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. (1 John 3:16)
VIII. God Is Not Provoked (1 Corinthians 13:5).
God has been provoked time and again in the past (e.g. Deuteronomy 9:7-8, 22; 32:16, 21; Judges 2:12; Psalm 78:40, 56-58; Mark 3:5) and is daily provoked by ungodly men (Psalm 7:11; Romans 1:18). When Christ was on the earth, at least twice He cleared the temple in His zeal for His house (John 2:13-17; Matthew 21:12-13), but His anger is right. "The wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:20), but the wrath of God is good (Psalm 34:8; 90:11; 100:5; 145:17).
Now, if God is so provoked, how or in what way is the Lord not provoked? Just as there is a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to love and a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3:3, 5, 8), so there is a time to be angry (Psalm 4:4; Ephesians 4:26) and a time not to be (Ephesians 4:31); and the Lord knows this perfectly.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4)
As for God, His way is perfect. (Psalm 18:30)
In His perfect way, the Lord is not provoked in any way He should not be. For example, when Jesus came,
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)
Therefore, when Jesus was on the earth He was not provoked into condemning anyone (e.g. John 8:11), even though He hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7).
For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)
Although God's wrath continued to abide on those who do not obey Him (John 3:36, NAS), and continued to be revealed from heaven as Christ walked the earth (e.g. Luke 13:1-5; Romans 1:18), and He continued to be angry with the wicked (Psalm 7:11), Christ's mission in the flesh was not to be provoked, but to save. As He Himself said,
I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)
IX. God Thinks No Evil (1 Corinthians 13:5).
Jesus said, "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts" (Mark 7:21), and Jeremiah writes, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). But God has no such evil heart (Psalm 18:26; 1 John 3:3). He has no evil thoughts. He thinks no evil. For His thoughts are above our thoughts and His ways above our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).
1 Corinthians 13:5 "thinks no evil" (NKJV) may also be translated a little more literally, "does not consider the bad" (ou logizetai to kakon). This is consistent with love.
Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins. (Proverbs 12:10)
He who covers a transgression seeks love. (Proverbs 17:9)
Love is merciful and forgiving, and in this, the Lord is the Champion (Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2). He says,
"Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword;" for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:18-20)
For those who are willing and obedient (verse 19), the Lord is extremely merciful and will not consider the bad (1 Corinthians 13:5). As He says in Isaiah 55,
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7; see also Psalm 86:5)
In His love, God's forgiveness is massive.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. (Psalm 103:11)
This mercy is toward those who fear Him. Although the Lord may be temporarily merciful to wicked men and then He torments them (e.g. Matthew 18:21-35), His mercy toward those who fear Him has no end. As Psalm 103 declares,
The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to such as keep His covenant, and to those who remember His commandments to do them. (Psalm 103:17; see also Psalm 25:10)
God's eternal love does have a condition (Isaiah 48:22; 57:15-21). It is for those who keep His covenant, who remember to do His commandments (Revelation 22:14), who are pure in heart (Psalm 24:3-5; 73:1), and who devise good, as it is written.
Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good. (Proverbs 14:22)
X. The Lord Does Not Rejoice In Iniquity (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Love does not rejoice in iniquity (1 Corinthians 13:6). Instead, love (God) hates wickedness (Psalm 45:7). It is wicked not to hate evil (Psalm 36:1-4), thus the Lord hates sin and in no way rejoices in it. Evil men rejoice in iniquity (Proverbs 2:14), but the Lord is not like wicked men.
For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; His countenance beholds the upright. (Psalm 11:7)
An example of the Lord not rejoicing in iniquity can be found in Mark 3.
And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand. So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him. And He said to the man who had the withered hand, "Step forward." Then He said to them, "Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they kept silent. And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. (Mark 3:1-5)
Jesus did not rejoice in their iniquity, but instead it made Him angry and grieved Him. The Scriptures are filled with example after example of the Lord not rejoicing in iniquity, but rather, being angry and grieved over the wickedness of mankind (e.g. Genesis 6:5-7; Psalm 78:40; 95:10-11; Isaiah 63:10).
XI. The Lord Rejoices In The Truth (1 Corinthians 13:6).
Although He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief (Isaiah 53:3), the one time Scripture records Christ rejoicing is when He rejoiced in the truth.
In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." (Luke 10:21)
Rejoicing in the Spirit is rejoicing in the truth, because He is the Spirit of truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). Christ here rejoiced in the work and truth of God, that is, how God hid the truth from some people and revealed it to others. This is how God works.
God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
Jesus rejoiced in this truth, because He is love; and love rejoices in the truth.
XII. God Bears All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Throughout the ages, the Lord has patiently borne with lawless and insubordinate men, murderers, adulterers, fornicators, sodomites, kidnappers, liars, perjurers, blasphemers, boasters, backbiters, lovers of money, lovers of themselves, traitors, rebels, slanderers, hypocrites, fools, despisers of good, haters of God, the covetous, the violent, the unthankful, the unforgiving, the unmerciful, and unholy men (e.g. Romans 3:25). Truly God has borne and does bear all things, and His forbearance should lead men to repentance (Romans 2:4). But for most (Matthew 7:13-14), their hard impenitent hearts treasure up for themselves wrath for the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Romans 2:5). Even though God, being love, bears all things, He does not bear all things indefinitely. As He said to Moses,
How long shall I bear with this evil congregation who complain against Me? (Numbers 14:27)
The answer to the Lord's question is given in the next verse.
"As I live," says the Lord, "just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above. Except for Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun." (Numbers 14:28-30)
His forbearance for these Israelites was all used up within the course of the next forty years. The Lord killed them in the wilderness (Numbers 14:32-35).
Likewise, the Lord bore long and hard with the Israelites before the Babylonian captivity.
The Lord God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His people, till there was no remedy. (2 Chronicles 36:15-16)
The Lord could no longer bear it, because of the evil of their doings and because of the abominations which they committed (Jeremiah 44:22). So His fury and anger were poured out and kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they were wasted and desolate (Jeremiah 44:6).
Jesus, being holy and perfect in love, bore long and hard all things while He walked on the earth, but His forbearance was not without comment.
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him." Then Jesus answered and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me." (Matthew 17:14-17; see also Mark 9:14-19 & Luke 9:37-41)
It takes endurance to bear all things, and Christ had it; although the people around Him obviously greatly taxed His love.
XIII. God Believes All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
The Greek word used in 1 Corinthians 13:7 (pisteuei) has inherent in it the ideas of faith, trust, & belief which indicates love is always faithful, believing, and trusting. God is indeed always faithful (Psalm 119:90; Hosea 11:12). Yet, God is not naive or simple minded as in Proverbs 14:15. His understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5). But, He nonetheless does believe all things, all things that are true that is (John 14:6; Titus 1:2). And though He would not entrust Himself to evil men (e.g. John 2:24-25), He is nonetheless very trusting; as the NIV says, love "always trusts" (1 Corinthians 13:7).
Eliphaz the Temanite accused God of not being trusting, but this was a lie. On two occasions Eliphaz made this claim:
If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay. (Job 4:18-19)
If God puts no trust in His saints, and the heavens are not pure in His sight, how much less man, who is abominable and filthy, who drinks iniquity like water! (Job 15:15-16)
Eliphaz did not correctly characterize the Lord (Job 42:7). For God does put trust in His angels. He entrusts them with very important tasks (e.g. Daniel 9:21-23; Matthew 28:2-7; Luke 1:26; 2:9-14; 22:43; Acts 10:3-6; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 7:1-3; 8:2; 12:7-9; 14:6-9; 16:1; 20:1-3). Moreover, He even puts trust in man, even though men fail Him time and again.
For example, David was entrusted with the great task of ruling God's people, but even David failed the Lord in this, in part, in the matter of Uriah the Hititite. Because of David's unfaithfulness, he had "given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme" (2 Samuel 12:14). Solomon was likewise entrusted by God with the kingdom, but even Solomon, "who was beloved of his God" (Nehemiah 13:26), "did evil in the sight of the Lord" (1 Kings 11:6).
The Lord does a great deal of trusting men and women with responsibilities and lives, from the care of the earth and the life upon it (Psalm 8:5-8; Revelation 11:18), to governing over people (Romans 13:1-2), to caring for children (Ephesians 6:4; Titus 2:4-5). Men are entrusted by God with great and important tasks, and they will all give an account for their deeds (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Hebrews 4:12-13). Despite the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of men, the Lord remains steadfast in love and is faithful in all things (Psalm 36:5; 89:8). As it is written,
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
XIV. The Lord Hopes All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
This is an amazing phenomena (Romans 11:33). Although God has already predestined the eternal destiny of all mankind (e.g. Psalm 92:5-7; 139:16; Proverbs 16:4; Romans 9:11-23; Ephesians 1:4-5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 1:2; Revelation 17:8) with the majority being destined to hell (Matthew 7:13-14; 22:14), being love and hoping all things He hopes that all might repent, seek Him, and be saved nonetheless. As it is written,
God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:24-27)
The Lord is indeed love (1 John 4:8) and therefore extremely loving and,
desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)
He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18:23, 32; 33:11). He has wept profusely over the lost (Jeremiah 8:18-9:3) and has even been found to strip Himself naked in wailing and howling for His people (Micah 1:8). Time and again He is seen in love hoping for their obedience, but they refuse (e.g. Deuteronomy 5:29; 32:29; Psalm 81:13; Isaiah 48:18; Luke 19:41-44). And why do they refuse? Because He makes them refuse (Deuteronomy 29:2-4; Proverbs 16:9; 20:24; Isaiah 63:17; Jeremiah 10:23; Hebrews 2:10). Truly His ways are past finding out (Romans 11:33)!
XV. God Endures All Things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
God wants to show His wrath and to make His power known, but He endures "with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22). He does this because He is love. He endures all things, even the wicked who were made to be destroyed (Proverbs 16:4; 2 Peter 2:12). This love, this endurance, is practiced because He also wants to "make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy" (Romans 9:23). Therefore, love (endurance) is shown toward the wicked, so that love may be shown toward the elect.
Yet, the most graphic example of this can be found in Christ. Jesus, the King of Glory (Psalm 24:7-10), in a radical show of love for God and man, endured the cross, despising the shame (Hebrews 12:2). He endured blasphemous hostility from sinners (Matthew 27:39; Luke 23:39; Hebrews 12:3). He endured being forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46) and stricken (Isaiah 53:4, 8). He endured being spat upon and beaten (Matthew 26:67), mocked, insulted and bruised (Isaiah 53:10; Matthew 27:29-31; Luke 18:32) scourged, nailed (Psalm 22:16; Colossians 2:14) and finally killed (Luke 18:33). He endured all these things because He is love. Love endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7).
XVI. God Never Fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails. (Zephaniah 3:5)
God never fails and this is especially manifest toward His elect. As it is written,
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. (Psalm 37:23-25)
God's love never fails toward those whom He has chosen. Nothing can separate them from the love of Christ (Romans 8:29-39).
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. (Lamentations 3:25)
Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. (Lamentations 3:22)
He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), because He is love and love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
For more on God, see He Is Holy Gods, Jerusalem is God, The Lord Is A Man, The Lord Kills, The Seven Spirits of God Are God, The Throne, Heaven, and the Kingdom Are God, and The True Fear of God, points X & XI.
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