Friday, January 09, 2009

John Gill on God's Love

John Gill, sometimes falsely accused (particularly by Amyraldians, and quasi-Amyraldians) of being a hyper-Calvinist, had this to say about God's love:
2. As to the objects of God’s love, it is special and discriminating. He loves some, and not others. It is true, he has a general love and regard to all his creatures. He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. They all share in the bounties of his providence. He makes his sun to shine on the evil and on the good. He sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. But then, he has chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. Hence he bestows peculiar blessings on those to whom he bears a peculiar love. David says, Psalm 106:4, Remember me with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: very plainly intimating, that it was special and discriminating; of a different nature from that which he bore to others. A full instance of this distinguishing love, we have in Mal. 1:2, 3, I have loved you, saith the Lord; yet ye say, wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and hated Esau. And, as I said before, no other reason can be given of this distinction, which God makes among the lost sons of Adam, but his own sovereign will; who will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and will be gracious to whom he will be gracious, let a wrangling world say what they please.


Read this and more of Gill's powerful insight into the love of God at the following link (link).

-TurretinFan

5 comments:

natamllc said...

Just a comment before I go to the link.

I guess I am like God in that I have two sons and I give them special discriminating Love without hesitation.

Sometimes it hurts because of the "decisions" my sons make. They are not my decisions. However, they are my sons and as their earthly father, they know and are convinced that my love for them is unconditional.

How do they know this and are convinced of it? By wild imaginations on their part? No, it is far more simple than that. I uphold their decisions when they are not clearly sinful or hurtful to others. I love them with special and discriminate Love! I am their father!

I do not know much of John Gill. Did he have sons? Were those inspired words from an experience or experiences birthed by love for his children? It surely seems to me they were as they are quickly acceptable to me as my own experience relates to what he wrote.

Turretinfan said...

I don't know much about Gill's family ... what impresses me the most about him was his devotion to the study of the Word of God. I am sure I could not contribute in five lifetimes what he provided in one.

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

TF, back, wow, wow, wow.

Let the blogger go link to the whole chapter ten!

To the back forward then:

Gill: "....5. It is very useful to enable us to bear the cross of Christ cheerfully; and perhaps that may be the reason why this other clause is added, And unto the patient waiting for Christ. This may intend, either a patient waiting for Christ’s second Advent, and is what our version seems to regard; or a patient bearing the cross for the sake of Christ. The words in the original, will admit of either sense....."

Ok, I concede to "The words in the original, will admit of either sense."

However I would lend my heart to the latter seeing Gill and the writers of the Books of the Bible are all ahead of us, having gone on before us and now make up a great cloud of witnesses that should put us to death to self and allow the Holy Ghost to indeed "lead" us into the Love of God.

I would submit one portion of the book of Hebrews in defense of the latter, not waiting for the "soon" return of the Lord, the former:

Heb 12:15 See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled;
Heb 12:16 that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal.
Heb 12:17 For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.


I believe when once the Love of God has reached us so as to understand that the Love of God is unconditional to us, prior to conversion and being led into His Love, we know the "Esaus" of the world and that they are not of the Elect.

Now to my next point. That portion from Romans that Gill makes about loving even the "wicked":

There is in those words a very beautiful gradation. The apostle seems to allude to the distribution of the Jewish people; among whom were three sorts of persons. One sort they called Righteous persons, very strict observers of the letter of the law; but did no more than just what they were obliged to do by the law. There was another sort called, Good men. These were very generous and liberal to the poor, and towards defraying all the expenses of the temple service, in which they exceeded the strict demands of the law. But then there was a third sort, called Wicked men; the profligate and abandoned part of the people, given up to their own lusts, and the very refuse of mankind.

Sometime ago a friend recommended that I pick up a Peshitta Bible, an Aramaic translation from "supposedly" original manuscripts prior to the Latin Vulgate or the Septuagent. I cannot attest to this and am no scholar on the subject.

I do wish to paste the Peshitta of that verse as it underscores exactly what Gill's point is and is the same point the editor of this Peshitta Translation makes in his commentary of the very verse:

Romans 5:7

7 Hardly would any man die for the sake of the wicked; but for the sake of the good, one might be willing to die.

The editor noted that Aramaic and Hebrew are written in similar form and by the addition of a "jot" to the Hebrew word: "righteous" in Aramaic, it translates and means "wicked". Having studied a little Hebrew, learning to write it as well as speak it but never having learned to write or speak Aramaic, except when reading and seeing the symbols for both the Hebrew word "righteous" and the Aramaic word "righteous" it seems to make some sense to me.

And finally to my last point,

Gill: "By the love of God here, to understand God’s love to us; concerning the nature and glory of which, take the following hints.

1. As to the original of it, it is free and sovereign, Nothing out of God moved him to it. He did not set his love upon us, because of any loveliness in us; or because of any love in us to him. Not because of any loveliness in ourselves. For we were in no wise better than others, being by nature the children of wrath. Nor because of any love in us to him; for his love is prior to ours, as the cause is to the effect. And, indeed, he loved us, before we had done either good or evil, that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand. No other reason can he given of God’s loving his people, but his own Ευδοχια; his Sovereign good will and pleasure."

This seems to be the main element of contention between Arminians and True Reformed thinkers.

I do not believe it will ever go away hence the more pressing need to pray:::>

"And the Lord God direct your hearts into the Love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ."

And my emphasis is on "patient waiting for Christ" with these, hopefully, our brothers? :)

zog said...

TF,

Would it be accurate to say that the definition of fore"know" is fore"love"? In the sense that the word "know" is a word the bible uses for "love"...sorry I don't know Greek or Hebrew. And if so, it would mean that God foreloved us before the world began, before we did right or wrong? And thus this love is an unconditional love, as natamllc points out.

I think that Arminian's also believe in unconditional love. But I don't see how they make the leap from a conditional love (we must first produce faith) and then afterward say His love is unconditional after we meet the first condition.

Knowing that he loves/loved me before I was is an awesome thing. The world tells us that love is really in the end conditional (and too often I am that way with my children and wife)and I believe that is what Gill was saying when he said "let a wrangling world say what they please"

Zog

Turretinfan said...

Hi Zog:

You asked: "Would it be accurate to say that the definition of fore"know" is fore"love"?"

Yes.

You also asked: "And if so, it would mean that God foreloved us before the world began, before we did right or wrong?"

Yes.

You continued: "And thus this love is an unconditional love, as natamllc points out."

Right.

You added: "I think that Arminian's also believe in unconditional love. But I don't see how they make the leap from a conditional love (we must first produce faith) and then afterward say His love is unconditional after we meet the first condition."

I think they verbally affirm "unconditional love" but they make the highest parts of God's love conditional on man's exercise of his will.

You concluded: "Knowing that he loves/loved me before I was is an awesome thing. The world tells us that love is really in the end conditional (and too often I am that way with my children and wife)and I believe that is what Gill was saying when he said "let a wrangling world say what they please""

Amen.

-TurretinFan