God's Love

John Frame's Systematic Theology, chapter 12

We move now from knowing God by His acts, to knowing Him by His attributes.  Scripture explicitly tells us what God is like.

We can classify attributes of God in several ways.
Defining attributes are those that would describe God if He never made the world.  Infinity, for example.
Relative attributes relate Him to the world.  Lord, for instance.

Communicable attributes are those that His creatures can share.  Holiness, e.g.
In communicable attributes we cannot share.  His simplicity (no parts or wavering passions as we have)

This is a broad category, but we usually mean moral good, like righteous.  God is good and merciful to all, Ps 145:9, even unbelievers (Matt 5:45).  No one can accuse God of unfairness.

Language - it's better to study the Bible than the Greek lexicon to understand God's love.  Turret in speaks of God's benevolence willing good to us, His beneficence doing good to us, and His complacency enjoying us.

Extent of love - John 3:16 shows that God loved the whole world, though not all are saved by Christ's coming.  We can and should appeal to all people to believe on the Lord Jesus, because God has shown us all His love.

Saving love - saving sinners by the cross of Christ.  The atonement epitomizes God's love for us.  Rom 5:8; John 15:13-14.

Love as lordship - God's love create a new heart in us, changing our desires to be for Him.  He does more than persuade, but less than coerce, us.

Means favor, a positive attitude toward a person.  When God shows favor to men, it is never based on our goodness meriting it, only on His sovereign choice.  Grace is personal and covenantal: He chooses a people to bear His name.  This results in their faith (Acts 11:23; 18:27).  The Jerusalem council clarifies that this comes apart from keeping the law or relying on our own goodness (Acts 15:10-11).  Greetings and benedictions in Paul's letters stress grace upon us.

Common grace
God restrains sin in people, restrains His own wrath, gives rain on just and unjust.  Unsaved people do good, know truth, and experience blessing by the Holy Spirit (Num 22-24; 1 Sam 10:9-11; Heb 6:4-6).  It may be better to call this goodness, rather than grace, since the Bible doesn't use the word grace in this category.  But scripture often speaks of grace without using the word (prodigal son, e.g.).

This is the Hebrew word for God's covenant keeping love.  Ps 136; 1 Chron 16:34; Deut 7:9, 12.  He made promises to Adam, Abraham, Israel, etc., and He will keep them.  David and Jonathan's loyalty to each other, and the institution of marriage are examples.  This differs from love (ahava in Hebrew) that creates covenant or initiates grace.  Hesed keeps and fulfills it, sometimes in response to our repentance or faithfulness.

An attitude, even emotion, of love and concern expressed.  Ex 34:6: Matt 9:6: 1 Pet 3:8.

Other forms of Gods goodness
Gentleness in power that serves, beauty, joy, peace, blessed, satisfied - these all describe God.

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