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God Loved Jacob
Romans 9:13 and 1 John 4:8-16
The Lord God declares, ŇJacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.Ó God the Holy Spirit tells us twice in one chapter, ŇGod is loveÓ How we rejoice in that great, glorious attribute of our God! — ŇGod is love.Ó (1 John 4:8, 16). John does not tell us that the God of heaven and earth is a loving God, or a God of love. He says, ŇGod is love!Ó Love is an attribute of GodŐs being. Because God is love, God must and will love. But we fall into grave and serious error if we attempt to measure and understand GodŐs love by our own. Our love is a passion to be loved. GodŐs love is a determination to bless and save. Our love is caused by something worthy of love in the ones we love. GodŐs love is caused by his love.
GodŐs Love for Himself
GodŐs love is independent, holy, and pure. Whatever GodŐs love is, it is not like us. It is like him. I have no idea what all that involves; but I know this: — The Lord God loves himself. GodŐs holy, blameless, pure love finds satisfaction in himself. The three Persons of the Godhead have eternally loved one another in mutual happiness and satisfaction. The Father loves the Son. The Son loves the Father. The Father and Son love the Spirit. And the Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son. The Holy Trinity dwells together in perfect love, loving one another purely, perfectly, blamelessly, with complete devotion, for Ňthe righteous Lord loveth righteousness;Ó and God alone is independently righteous.
God, whose love is holy, cannot love anything, or anyone that is not perfectly holy. Perfect love cannot fall upon anything but perfection. Holy love cannot fall upon anything but holiness. Pure love cannot fall upon anything that is not pure.
A man may pity a suffering dog, but he cannot love it. He cannot be devoted to it. He cannot give himself to it. Love requires compatibility. And there is no compatibility between the man and the dog. Even so, God cannot love sinful man, for there is nothing in fallen man for God to love, nothing in us that is like God, holy and pure.
Yet, God the Lord declares, ŇJacob have I loved!Ó Jacob, like us, was a fallen, sinful man. How could the holy Lord God love Jacob? How can God love us? There can be but one answer. — God loves fallen, depraved sinners in Christ and for ChristŐs sake. Nowhere in the Bible is God said to love a man, outside of Christ. Nowhere in the Bible is a man assured of GodŐs love, apart from Christ. God loves his JacobŐs mediatorially. He loved Jacob before he became a sinner, in Christ. He loved Jacob though he was born in sin, in Christ and for ChristŐs sake. He loved Jacob, though he often sinned after he was saved, in Christ and for ChristŐs sake. God never loved a man, did anything for a man, revealed himself to a man, or accepted a man apart from his Son, the one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. GodŐs love for Jacob never changes, because God never changes (Malachi 3:6).