What does the Bible say about God’s heart for the world? (Part 2)


<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>
The World God's heart missions John 3:16

From a distance. “The Blue Marble” is a famous photograph of the Earth taken on December 7, 1972 by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft en route to the Moon at a distance of about 29,000 kilometers (18,000 statute miles). It shows Africa, Antarctica, and the Arabian Peninsula. Click image to enlarge.

If ‘the world’ has diverse meanings in Scripture then we’d expect God’s heart for the world to be multifaceted too wouldn’t we? And it is.

Firstly, towards the heavens and earth God’s heart is ultimately hostile. Yes, he loves the little birds and the beautiful fields (Mt 6:26) and has stayed His hand out of goodness and forbearance and longsuffering (Rom 2:1 – 11) but at its core this world is irreconcilably doomed (1 Jn 2:16). Think upon the final end of this earth depicted in the book of Revelation, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” (Rev 21:1)

Secondly, to that world which stands in opposition to God’s kingdom, He stands in righteous judgement. Jesus, describing the work of the Holy Spirit says, “…when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (Jn 16:8 – 11)

Thirdly, we ought to consider the world made up of human beings. You might one day overhear me saying, “I love vegetables.” Do I love all vegetables? Certainly not, baked beans are awful! I love vegetables in the collective sense but when we get down to the particulars there will definitely be exceptions.

Jesus qualifies the collective in John 3:16 by pointing to the particulars, “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16) God’s heart towards ‘the world’ is further expanded in John 3:36, “…he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn 3:36)

To be sure, God certainly does love but the apple of His eye, that which holds His affection and delight most dearly, are those whom He calls (Rom 8:30) and draws to Himself (Jn 6:44) and it is to these, those called the elect (Eph 1:4 – 6), that we will now turn our attention to.

<— Click here for Part 1 Click here for Part 3 —>

So what is God currently doing and what (if anything) is our part in His activities?

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