Jehovah’s Love And Hatred Considered
Alfred Dye | Added: Nov 05, 2016 | Category: Theology
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To spiritual and exercised souls it is often a question as to what the reprobation and hatred of God really is, and some years since the writer heard a Calvinistic Strict Baptist minister please human nature and its Arminians exceedingly, calling the hatred of God a negative and lesser degree of love. And the moment he expressed himself thus, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, as in the spirit of prophecy declared, struck my mind: Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? And am not I grieved with those that rise up against Thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies (Psalm 139:21, 22). I shall therefore as briefly and as best I can now treat of these solemn matters.
First, let us observe that whatever may be conveyed through one’s mind in the word hate, God does not forsooth really hate or dislike any creature of His power, wisdom and goodness as His creature. No, let not my reader one thought of the kind ever find lodging. God is in fact so holy and so good in Himself – He loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment (Deuteronomy 10:18), and is good to all the creatures He hath made (Psalm 145:9). Yea, He hears the cry of the meanest, even the young lions and the croaking raven (Psalm 147:9), and is in fact very long-suffering with non-elect wicked, or the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction (Romans 9:22). Nor is there, nor will there ever be, a soul in hell who shall justly say that God was not good to them while here. And this goodness of God’s nature is resolved in what may be termed His natural love, or the love of His nature to all the creatures He made.
Seeing, however, that Esau is in our text, as also in the prophet Malachi, spoken of as being hated, and his posterity (Edom) as being a nation against whom Jehovah hath indignation for ever (Malachi 1:4), and seeing also that Christ in the spirit of prophecy speaks of hating those that hate His Father, and with a perfect hatred, it becomes us, who are ministers of the word, to show what the hatred of a holy and good God arises from.
And observe, the apostle in this 9th of Romans treats of eternal, sovereign election, as also of the purpose of God in harmony therewith. And in order to show that God’s purpose according to election might (in scripture) stand upon a sovereign free grace bottom, he cites what the Holy Ghost told Rebekah, and that before the children were born to have done either good or evil, viz. That this manner of people should be separated from her bowels, that the one should be greater or stronger than the other people, and that the elder (Esau) should serve the younger (Jacob). And then he quotes from the prophet: As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. And the only conclusion one can arrive at is that there is evidently an especial, peculiar, eternal, sovereign, love to Jacob, as also an aversion or hatred to Esau, and independently too of any works whatever.
Observe however, reader, one thing here – yea, take particular notice that although Esau was not born before hated, he was conceived and alive in his mother’s womb, and was of course a sinner in the nature conceived. Yes, like David, and all Adam’s posterity, Esau was shapen in the iniquity of his father’s nature, and in the sin of his mother’s nature was conceived (Psalm 51:5). Consequently he was a sinner in God’s estimation before brought into this world. And often in my poor preaching I remind my hearers that it is not altogether what we have done – it is what we are. Herein then, is this point established, viz. that it is not a pure or holy creature that is hated of God. And having drawn my readers’ attention to this peculiar fact, viz. that God hates not a pure or simple creature of His power, let us from this draw into what reprobation means.
First then, it is plain that God loved Jacob, as in His own eternal Son, eternally, and before the world began. Consequently, although Jacob falls in Adam, and partakes with Esau in the womb of the mother the fallen or corrupt nature of both parents, it alters not that eternal, sovereign and peculiar love of God in Christ Jesus towards him as God’s child, nor do the subsequent sinful actions alter or turn away that immutable love. Hence Paul’s persuasion is that neither death (in sin) nor life (in sin) or all its dangers, nor angels, nor principalities (of them), nor powers (of darkness), nor things present (however trying), nor things to come (which may be worse), nor height (of rebellion), nor depth (of despair), nor any other creature (beside oneself) shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38, 39).
Secondly observe, Esau not being loved of God in Christ as was Jacob, although not born to merit by sinful works – Jehovah’s displeasure – is hated or thoroughly disliked because of the vileness of his nature, and to my mind this is God’s reprobation. Nor do I find any other reprobation of God in the whole of the sacred scriptures – and mind that which the glaringly and daringly presumptuous and profane are given up to. In other words, those that are, as Paul saith, unto every good work reprobate (Titus 1:16) have themselves to thank, and strictly speaking it is their own reprobation and not God’s. And so the sum is this: God’s reprobation (or leaving a soul in sin) arises from His dislike or hatred of a vile nature.
And again, let the reader search the scriptures through, and if the Lord the Spirit shines into his heart, and upon the sacred pages, he or she will find a people so loved of God, and chosen and blessed in and through His son, that despite all the evil works God loves them still. Such a reader shall also find in the same search, and under the same illumination, a people however morally good before men hated because of a sinful nature, as saith our text: Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. And in this light indeed we see Cain and Abel. Abel’s person is accepted, and then his offering; Cain’s person is rejected, with all the fruits of his toil. Abel’s lamb offered in faith of the atonement emits a sweet savour; Cain’s fruits offered in pride and self-righteousness emit a stench. And thus it follows that all non-elect persons are with their offerings disliked, Yea, the very prayers and sacrifices of the wicked (non-elect) are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 15:8).
And lastly, as Christ loved poor sinners and so came to live and die here for the ungodly, yea, for the millions of us poor, wicked wretches, who are by nature His very enemies (Romans 5:7-10), yea, as He prayed upon the cross at Calvary for those who crucified Him: Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34), and as He commanded His own disciples to love their enemies (Matthew 5:44), yea, as this was, and still is a faithful saying in the whole of the church that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and the very chief of them (1 Timothy 1:15), I say, as things are thus, the fact is clear, that those He in Psalm 139 by David is said to hate with a perfect hatred, and to count them His Father’s enemies, must be the Cains and Esaus, the non-elect, or the reprobate race, viz. that world He never prayed for either upon the cross or anywhere else (John 17:9).
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