Love Won

Posted: April 15, 2011 in QT's
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A book has recently come out by Pastor Rob Bell called Love Wins. I must confess that I haven’t actually read the book, I’ve only read what others have to say about it and I watched an interview with the author discussing the views expressed in the book. It seems that Pastor Rob believes that eventually everyone will be in heaven regardless of beliefs, faith, or the lack of. The problem is, that’s not what the Bible teaches and not only that, but when one understands the depth of God’s love and grace, it doesn’t even makes sense. This is what I thought of as I read through Ezekiel  9 this morning.

 “Kill old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one on whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.” (Ez. 9:6)

Pretty shocking statement, huh? This is one of those passages that I really struggled with the first time I ever read through the Bible. I came to the Bible looking for answers about God and as I read through the Old Testament I found myself wondering about the God of love and grace that I had been told about. How could a God of love and grace command his angels to kill old men, women, and children? I didn’t doubt that the God of the Old Testament was the same as the God of the New Testament. I just didn’t understand. Well, I’ve had a lot of time to consider these things over the past 18 years since I’ve become a Christian and to be honest, it’s still shocking to read these words. However, I have a better understanding of God’s holiness, wrath, justice, and yes, His love and grace also.

When we first read a passage like this our natural reaction is to be repulsed. How could a loving God do such a thing? What about forgiveness? The problem is, we think God should be like us. You see, we would rather overlook things because we want to be polite. We don’t want to offend people. The truth is, we want to be liked and thought well of. We worry more what people think about us than about what’s right or wrong. We think that God should politely overlook our sin and forgive us. That’s the kind of God we think well of. Here’s what God said to Ezekiel when he asked if God could just overlook sin. “As for me, ‘my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads.’” (Ez. 9:10) As hard as it is to hear, the reality is, they got what their deeds deserved. But wait. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love or that he doesn’t want to forgive. In fact, when we read through the New Testament we learn that God sent His own Son to live a sinless life and offer Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins so that we may be forgiven, Remember the well known verse, “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) If God could simply be polite and overlook sin why did Jesus die such a horrible death on the cross? No, God doesn’t politely overlook anything but because He loves us He made a way; the only way possible. It should be even more shocking to read about what happened to the Son of God than to read Ezekiel 9:6. All of God’s judgment and wrath towards sin was carried out on His own Son. Nothing was withheld. God didn’t politely let anything slide. How could He do that to His own Son? Because He loves us and it’s the only way our sins could be forgiven.

If you read all of Ezekiel 9:6 you will see God’s grace in the midst of His judgment. Those who had the “mark” were spared. What was that mark? It was the mark of one who had genuine faith in God (Ez. 9:4). Love has indeed won, and that love has been made real through Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us. There is a way to be forgiven. Jesus is the way; the only way possible.

By The way, it’s also interesting to note that God’s judgment began in His own sanctuary, but that’s a post for another time…

  1. Terry Powell says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. God never used the dialectical method to establish truth – He declares the truth. We are to proclaim the Gospel and not offer up our “narratives”.

  2. Jim Taylor says:

    I haven’t read Love Wins either, yet. I did read Bell’s Velvet Elvis and while I didn’t agree with everything he had to say I did enjoy the way he caused me to rethink some things, to view things more openly. I think reading that book really prepared me for some things I have read since, by other authors. And helped me come to terms with some scriptural stories that had been less than clear at times.

    In his book He Chose The Nails, Max Lucado has an amazing description of the principle you are writing about, as seen in the Cross –

    “Why is the cross the symbol of our faith? To find the answer look no farther than the cross itself. Its design couldn’t be simpler. One beam horizontal – the other vertical. One reaches out – like God’s love. The other reaches up – as does God’s holiness. One represents the width of his love; the other reflects the height of his holiness. The cross is the intersection. The cross is where God forgave his children without lowering his standards.”

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