"How Calvinism Distorts the True Love of God "
by Dr. Ralph Yankee Arnold
God is love and he not only needed an object to love but God desires to be loved. Since love must be by choice, the Lord created man with the ability to make decisions that may be in opposition to his own will. We are created with an intense desire to love and to be loved.
Although Eve was deceived when she ate the fruit in rebellion to God, we know that Adam did make a deliberate decision to die rather than live without Eve. Yes, man was driven from the garden. Yes, he died physically, but he also was to be eternally separated from God in a literal fire burning Hell. The punishment reveals how bad this one sin was. God took sin seriously.
God had already planned, before the foundations of the world, to send his Son Jesus Christ, to provide a way for man to have Eternal Life with him forever. Yes, God loves man, but he does not nor cannot force a man to love him. Only after the fall was God free to demonstrate to all of mankind just how much he really loves them.
Man is totally incapable of changing his sinful nature, solving this world’s problems, or escaping the enemy of death. Without sin in this world, mankind would never have known about God’s justice, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, righteousness, grace, and yes, his LOVE. The Plan of Salvation is God’s way of showing his great love by doing something for them that they could not do for themselves. What can’t they do? They cannot save themselves.
God’s way of proving that he really loved us was to send his son, Jesus Christ into the world to pay for all sins for all people. God chose to save strictly by grace alone. No one has ever lived good enough to earn eternal life. For all have sinned, all come short, all the world is guilty, and since God is not a respecter of persons, God must either love all the same or hate all the same for there is no difference.
If God loves some, but not all, how do we know we are the ones that he loves? If Christ only died for the sins of some but not all, how would you know you were included? If God chooses to save certain individuals and not others, how do you prove you were the one chosen?
I lack the wisdom to put into words my feeble attempt at expressing God’s great love for me. The first glimmer of God’s love toward me was when I heard the gospel. As I began to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, I had never considered myself to be someone of great value. Was I simply part of a group that God loved or was there a real true personal love for me as an individual? Why did God pay so much for so little?
The marvel of it all was that God loved me at all. The second marvel was that God loved no one more than me. The third marvel was that God loved no one less than me. I am loved. Only the true love of God can reach to a man so low and lift him to the height of heaven. Only the love of God can reach so wide to include everybody.
You might not believe this, but I have actually heard preachers say that God really doesn’t love the whole world and that Christ really didn't pay the sin debt for all people. Would it not be the epitome of dishonesty to tell a person that God loves them and made a payment for their sins, but if God didn't choose to save them, this offer of eternal life is null and void?
Woe to the man that shrinks the sacrifice of Christ’s death for all people to be limited to only a few. That is the height of blasphemy. God forbid that a man would turn the love of God into a religion of hate. Christ was and is the manifestation of God's love. To limit the number of people God loves to only a few is hateful and no man has the right to limit the love of God. To state that God chose to save only those whom he loved would also mean there are many that he does not love.
If there was no greater love than the death of God’s son, then there is no greater evidence of God’s love. If he did not love everyone how would I know that he loves me? If Christ did not pay for all sin for everyone how do I know he has included mine?
One of my greatest joys in serving the Lord is being able to look straight into the eyes of a man, woman, boy or girl and say without hesitation, that the true and living God, the Lord Jesus Christ, loves you and wants you to spend eternity with him. When you say it, do you say it like you really believe it without any doubts or reservations? One cannot honestly demonstrate this type of love, unless they believe that all can be saved.
Friend, rest assured, you were included. Why did he pay for your sins? It’s because he didn’t want you to pay for them. When he came back from the dead, the only thing Christ wanted you to do was believe he did it for you. You can handle that, can’t you? Yes, Christ loved you so much that he would rather die than live without you. If you trust Jesus Christ right now as your savior, you can know that you have eternal life. You are greatly loved. (I John 5:13)
How do I know that the Lord really loves me?
It's because I know that he really loves you.
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