"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Christian Giving | Main | Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated »

    God's Discriminating Love (Q&A)


    Hi John, Thanks for all the great resources you have on I've ordered resources in the past and have found them very helpful. I have especially been enjoying Art Azurdia's series on The Revelation. In fact, I'm rethinking Revelation now.

    I was researching a subject today that I haven't been able to find much on. That is God's personal love for his individual people. It's been a struggle for a while with me. Verses that come to mind are "I will make with THEM an everlasting covenant..." "For God so Loved the WORLD..." " Christ loved the CHURCH..." There's plenty out
    there from the "God has a wonderful plan for you" perspective. I'm a little gun shy of that view, but thought you'd be able to point out some reformed resources that would help. Or, just shoot back a couple scriptures. I don't want to take up too much of your time and I appreciate what you do through Monergism.



    Hi Mark

    Thanks for your great question. A very good place to start looking at this subject is to read John chapter 17 which is the high priestly prayer of Jesus to the Father for His people. It is modeled on the high priest of Israel in the OT praying for atonment for the people of God prior to atonement. The Priest would pray for Israel, not the surrounding nations. Jesus did the same here: He prays, "I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours." This is just prior to his death and so it reveals that He is dying for the same ones he prays for and he does not pray for all.

    As for God loving the world, indeed He loves the world in spite of its evil and rebellion against Him, but words like this does not mean he loves all people in the same way without exception, rather He loves all persons without distinction as in Revelation 5:9 which says "...for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation" In other words, Jesus was telling the Jews that his love was not confined to physicial decendents of Abraham alone but on all people everywhere without distinction. He purchased people for God OUT OF every tribe, nation, language, people. He did not purchase all of them - only those he set his affection on in eternity. "In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will" (eph 1:4, 5). He did not do this for all people. But one thing is certain, he did not select us because we were better or because he saw something more worthy in us, but according to his good pleasure. For what higher reason in the universe is there than God wills it???

    It regarding John 3:16. Most people get so fixated on the one verse that they fail to look at its context. Just after it says that whoever believes in him has everlasting life it says but men loved darkness and will not come into the light but those who come into the light show the work of God wrought in them. The whole passage is about the new birth - that we can neither see nor enter the kindgom without it. The Spirit like the wind goes where it pleases, says the passage, and so is eveyone who is born of God.

    Since you like Art Azurdia, here are three sermons in MP3 where he deals with some of the issues you are speaking about.

    Did Jesus Pray for You? John 17:20 by Art Azurdia

    The Discriminating Love of Jesus Christ John 13:1 by Art Azurdia

    "The Gift God Gave" John 3:16 by Art Azurdia

    Hope this helps

    Posted by John on January 20, 2009 02:08 PM


    I also like Art Azurdia's work. I've read a few sermons of his and am very interested in his huge work on Revelation. Mostly interested in finding it in print! MP3 media is nice for all you of the hearing population... but what about us that are hearing impaired? We need printed works! I am fully aware that this work would most likely consist of a 4-5 book set in print form (since it is 80+ of Azurdia's sermons) but I'd be willing to buy a book set!

    To the question, my answer is, look to Psalm 87 too:::>

    Psa 87:1 A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. On the holy mount stands the city he founded;
    Psa 87:2 the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
    Psa 87:3 Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God. Selah
    Psa 87:4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush-- "This one was born there," they say.
    Psa 87:5 And of Zion it shall be said, "This one and that one were born in her"; for the Most High himself will establish her.
    Psa 87:6 The LORD records as he registers the peoples, "This one was born there." Selah
    Psa 87:7 Singers and dancers alike say, "All my springs are in you."

    It seems to me that it doesn't get more intimate and personal than that!

    Excellent article. I think one of the main reasons people reject the reformed (biblical) understanding of Divine election is because of traditions associated with the love of God. The strong reaction of some against the doctrine of God's Sovereignty in election is often times due to a desire to defend a concept that they have regarding the love of God. They feel they need to defend the love of God and that His attribute of love is in question. Great care is needed to point people to the biblical texts which can clarify the issue, is they are open to examine these traditions. Traditions are strong though, and those most ensalved to them are those who do not believe they have any.

    Just as husbands are told to have a different depth or degree of love for their wives compared to every other person's wife... so God has different dimensions of love for people. "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her..." Eph. 5:25

    However we understand the phrase "Jacob I have loved, Esau have I hated" in Romans 9, I think we would all have to agree that God's love for Jacob was certainly different or of a different kind than His love for Esau, or else the text is meaningless.

    I would also recommend Dr. R. C. Sproul's helpful book on the subject called "Loved by God." (also available by the same title in an audio teaching series on CD and DVD from Ligonier Ministries)

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