Gods Love for God 4

Acts 4:27 “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.

In this prayer to the Father, we know that Peter and John were present along with others. It is most likely that this prayer was from either Peter or John or both. However, when we look at this text the driving question has to do with why God’s hand (His doing) and His purpose (intent and motive) predestined (decreed) this to occur. We are told that Jesus was the Beloved Son before the cross and the resurrection in whom the Father was well pleased (Mat 3:17; 17:5;) as well as the Beloved Son after the resurrection and ascension (Col 1:13). Since the triune God is immutable and is the same yesterday, today, and forever, it is quite safe to assert that the Father has always loved the Son and the Son has always loved the Father and so it was out of the love of the triune God that the trial and crucifixion of Jesus happened.

John 17:24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

John 14:31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

In His prayer to the Father just before He went to the cross, Jesus said that the Father loved Him. Before Jesus headed off to the cross He said that He was going there so that the world may know that He loved the Father. In other words, Scripture speaks of the Father’s love for the Son and the Son’s love for the Father in direct connection to the cross. To put it plainly, the cross of Jesus Christ was decreed from all eternity for the pleasure of God and to demonstrate the love of God for Himself. Indeed the salvation of sinners was planned and carried out in this as well, but sinners could not be saved by grace alone apart from the glorious fact and that God primarily did this out of love for Himself. If the primary love the Father had in sending the Christ to the cross was for sinners, then the Father would be guilty of idolatry. If the primary love the Christ had in going to the cross was for sinners, then He would have sinned in violating the Greatest Commandment and so could not have saved anyone. It was not His love for sinners that held Him to the cross, but instead it was love for the Father.

One might argue this, however: “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But that is not a denial of the love that the triune God has for Himself as His primary motive. It can be true that God loved the world, but it can also be true that He had a higher love and motive in loving the world. Had God planned to love the world (Jew and Gentile) before the foundations of the world? Did God plan to love Jew and Gentile before He created the world? Again, He created the world and decreed all things that were to happen out of love for Himself and His own glory. He did not create Jew and Gentile so He could have objects of His love, but because of His perfect object of love (the Father for the Son and the Son for the Father) within the Trinity God could create in order to display His love for Himself in many ways. The triune God must have a perfectly holy reason, purpose, intent, and motive in order to love. That can only be found within Himself.

Clearly all things regarding the cross were predestined before the world began. Human beings were created in order to grant or allow some to behold the glory of Christ which was given to Him by the Father. Why did this happen? Because the Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world (see John 17:24 above). It is that love which the Father loved the Son with that the Son prays would be in His people. What we have, then, is a glimpse into the love of the triune God which is the real motivation, intent and cause of all things that were created and then all that has ever happened or will ever happen. Not only did God have to decree and predestine something for it to happen, He did so for the best of purposes. It was out of love for Himself. Since there couldn’t be a greater love, there couldn’t be a greater motivation or purpose. If we love God, we wouldn’t want it to be different.

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