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God Loves You – Rebellious Christian…

11/11/2019

God Loves You

Text. Malachi 1v1-5

Malachi’s message is an unusual one.  He tests them with a series of challenges.  Look at the scepticism, the sheer incredulity with which they responded to what God was saying through the prophet…

Malachi 1:2, Malachi 1:7 Malachi 2:13-14.  Malachi 2:17.  Malachi 3:8  Malachi 3:13   

And Malachi isn’t addressing pagans, he’s addressing God’s people! But Christians are often blissfully unaware of the simplest, most basic elements of God’s word, his will and his person.  God’s message to mankind is always a burden – both to the messenger and to the recipients of the message.  Let’s look at the early part of Malachi’s message:-

 

1 God Loves Wayward and Rebellious Christians!  I have loved you,” says the Lord.

What has this got to do with Christians?  Isn’t this about Jews?  It’s about GOD’S PEOPLE!  

  • The people whom Malachi is addressing are orthodox believers!   These are NOT unbelievers! They are the remnant of people who have returned from exile, for Malachi is speaking in the same historical period as Zechariah and Haggai. They are believers, though believers who have become slack and shallow and drifted away from their simple trust in God.  We might call them backslidden.
  • Despite their religious appearance, and their orthodox profession of faith, their actual trust in God is very shallow indeed.   I know this because of their reply to God’s declaration of His love for them.   Yet you say, ‘In what way have You loved us?’  ‘Eh – you love us?  How do YOU love us? I mean, are you really serious?  You love us?  These people are not so different than us!

Yet surprisingly God still loves them!   God wants his faithless people back, even though they have deliberately and wilfully turned their back on him!  He loves them. 

 

2 God’s Love for His People is demonstrated. 

So, how does God love His people? 

  • In Unconditional Election. God’s love of Israel is demonstrated in the fact that he chose her to be his, without any conditions or merit on her part. 
    • No  preferences. Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?  No matter what your past may be, Jacob, Paul, me us all,…   Gods love does not have any familial or class preference. Acts 10:33-35  
    • No references!  Yet Jacob I have loved;  Look at Jacob’s character!   There’s no reason why God would love Jacob.  He didn’t deserve God’s love, he deserved God’s wrath – yet God loved him.   Romans 7:23-25  

God’s sovereign election of his own people is without any preconditions, it truly is unconditional love and election.   

  • In Historical Preservation. Esau’s descendants were crushed and destroyed.  But Esau I have hated, And laid waste his mountains and his heritage For the jackals of the wilderness.” 4 Even though Edom has said, “We have been impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places,

Now there are lots of people who have problems with this declaration of God’s love. How could a good God hate someone?  God just loves everyone, unconditionally, and he just blesses everyone, and never judges anyone at all…  Right?  So how could God hate someone?  We need to look a bit close, for there are several aspects to this:-

  1. The word HATE is sometimes used as a comparative verb.  For example, when Jesus was teaching his disciples about the love that a believer has about God he reminds us that our natural love should seem like hatred in comparison!  In fact even the love that we have for ourselves should be like hatred compared to our allegiance to God – and you know how mach we love ourselves!  Luke 14:26.  
  2. Esau DESERVES to be hated by God.  We really baulk at this, because we are so often told that God is a God of Love, and that God loves everyone unconditionally.  After all that’s the message preached from most pulpits.  
    1. Because of God’s Holiness. We shut out the fact that God is holy, righteous, dwelling in light that sinners cannot even approach.  We invent unbiblical platitudes, like, “God hates the sin but he loves the sinner” when in reality we know that God hates the sin and he damns the unrepentant sinner to hell for ever and ever.  We re-create Him in the image we want, we even stoop down to heresy, to the false belief that the loving, forgiving God of the NT has a different attitude to the vengeful Gd of the OT. As if to shatter that notion in advance Paul repeats this very statement in the NT.  Romans 9:13   
    2. Because we are rebellious sinners. For Esau is an unrepentant sinner.  God hates sin, and he will punish the sinner, for the wages of sin is death.  If  God hates Esau, then that is no more than Esau deserves! Or me!  Or you!  If God looked at me and said, “There’s nothing likeable, nothing loveable, nothing in you that would make me want to have eternal fellowship with you… I would be forced to agree.’  
    3. Because we put His Son to death.  Peter in Acts 3:13  God has every right to find me hateful, odious and  disgusting, not only am Ia sinner, but I am one of those who made His Son suffer on the cross.   We all deserve to be hated by the Holy, sinless God. But there’s anther side to that coin…  
  3. Jacob DOESN’T DESERVE to be loved by God!  Jacob is a sinner too.  He deserves God opprobrium, he deserves to be hated because of his sin, yet God loves him, not because he is any better than Esau, but just because of GRACE.  Read Paul, in Romans 9:13  

 

So the statement that God hates Esau and loves Jacob certainly shouldn’t surprise us at all.  We all deserve to be hated by God.  The real miracle, the thing that causes us to be most surprised, is that God would love any of us, at all! 

© BobMcEvoy November 2019 

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